Prostitution: Soliciting, Engaging In or Agreeing to Under PC § 647(b)

California Penal Code § 647(b) Explained

penal code 647(b)Charged with Soliciting Money for SexEngaging in Prostitution or Agreeing to Commit an Act of Prostitution? California Penal Code § 647(b) Charges apply equally to all parties involved, regardless of their sex.

Prostitution is a California Sex Offense and a conviction can result in embarrassment and a permanent record.  Our California Defense Attorneys Dismiss Prostitution ChargesNegotiate to Lesser Offenses and advocate for Acquittal of Prostitution Charges in San Diego County Courts.

If you have been Charged with California Penal Code 647(b) contact our Prostitution Defense Attorneys by calling 619-708-2073 or emailing us at

Prostitution Defined Under California Law

Prostitution under California Law is charged under Penal Code § 647(b). A conviction of PC § 647(b) is a Straight Misdemeanor Offense and is punishable by jail.

This code section prohibits asking (or offering) to engage in prostitution, actually engaging in sexual acts or intercourse for money and agreeing to engage in prostitution.

Prostitution, under California Law, is defined as “any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.”

A “lewd act” means “physical contact of the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or customer with some part of the other person’s body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.”

California’s Penal Code § 647(b) prohibits the following acts:

  1. engaging in a sexual act in exchange for something of value or
  2. offering to exchange sex for money or
  3. agreeing to give money for sex.

Facts Government Must Prove

The facts the government must prove will depend under which theory they claim you violated PC § 647(b).

Engaging or committing an act of prostitution

In order to convict you under this section, prosecutor must show that you engaged in a “lewd” act or sexual intercourse in exchange for other consideration or money. The lewd act may involve touching the buttocks, genitals, or female breast with a specific intention to gratify or arouse sexually.

  • You engaged or committed an act of prostitution, and
  • You committed the act purposefully or willfully.

Soliciting Prostitution

The prosecutor can charge the customer or prostitute depending on the person who initiated the interaction and the nature of exchange. To convict you under this charge, the prosecutor must prove that:

  • You solicited another person to commit an act of prostitution, and
  • You did so with the clear intention of committing an act of prostitution.

Agree to commit an act of prostitution

This situation happens most often when an undercover agent, dressed like a prostitute, is positioned around bars or places men frequent.

This type requires two-steps in order to convict you of agreeing to commit or engage in an act of prostitution. First, the government must prove that you agreed to engage in prostitution. This requires:

  • You agreed to commit an act of prostitution with another person,
  • You did so with clear intention to commit an act of prostitution.

Second, the government must prove you “committed an act in furtherance” of the agreement. The “act in furtherance” could be:

  • Handing over the payment which is already agreed, or
  • Driving to a location as per the agreement where the illegal activity will take place,
  • A command of verbal nature to the prostitute, such as an instruction to undress,
  • You withdrew money from your bank/ATM to pay the other person.

The prosecutor can point out additional evidences such as:

  • You possessed large amounts of money,
  • Possessed condoms, lubricant, sex toys,
  • Your manner, attire and location, and/or
  • Possession of a “client list” or “address book”

Penalties for Prostitution Conviction

Under Penal Code Section 647(b), solicitation, prostitution and agreeing to engage in such an act are misdemeanor offenses.  Depending on if you have prior offenses will determine potential penalties.  Prior convictions increase the punishment.

  • First time offender – If you are a first-time offender, you may have to face a jail time of up to six months and/or pay fines up to $1,000. Sometimes, you may have to attend counseling, perform community service and may be given probation for three years.
  • Second time offender – You will be given a minimum of 45 days in county jail. Repeated offenders will be given serious punishments and third-time offenders will have to face 90 days imprisonment in county jail.
  • AIDS testing – First-time offenders are required to test for AIDS. If the result is positive and the offender is charged for the same crime again, it can be a felony.
  • Driving restrictions – If you commit the act in a vehicle that was within 1,000 feet of a residence, the court may suspend your driver’s license for up to 30 days, or restrict your driving privilege for up to 6 months.