Many people tend to lump together escorts and prostitution. Some may use the two words interchangeably. But these two are very distinct under California’s state law, one being legal and the other illegal.
It, however, may be challenging to know where you stand in a legal sense if you offer these services, especially if you have a business spanning several jurisdictions. Knowing what the law says will help you identify whether you committed a sex crime or not. Our Orange County criminal defense lawyer can explain these differences further in a free case evaluation.
What is an Escort?
An escort offers companionship and is paid to spend time with their clients. An escort may accompany their client to business affairs, dinner, entertainment venues, or just have a conversation.
Is Escorting Legal in California?
The laws in California allow escorts to offer their services at a fee. But the state requires escorts to apply for a license to be allowed to work legally in California. Therefore, providing escort services without a valid license is a crime.
It is important to understand regulations about escort services to avoid legal problems in the future. Escort services become a crime if an escort offers sexual services in return for compensation.
Sexual Conduct with an Escort
Someone may ask whether it is illegal to engage in sexual acts with an escort during their personal time. Many may argue that it isn’t illegal if the deed is done during the personal time of the escort once they are not working.
But if law enforcement establishes that there is probable cause to believe that the escort was hired to engage in the sexual act at a different time, it becomes illegal. The police may pursue the escort and the client if this is discovered. But such cases may be explained better on a case-by-case basis with a skilled Orange County sex crime attorney.
What Does California Law Say About Prostitution Vs. Escorting?
Prostitution in California is illegal and is considered a sex crime. A prostitute is someone who offers sexual services in exchange for some form of compensation. The person engaging in sexual acts for money and the one soliciting the other person for sex can be charged with a sex crime. Similarly, the person who arranges these sexual encounters can also be charged with prostitution.
What Is Required to Prove Prostitution?
The state needs to prove two things for a prostitution conviction:
- Sexual acts
Sexual acts could include anal sex, sexual touching, sexual intercourse, and oral sex. Someone may also be charged with prostitution if they engage in lewd sexual acts like touching either person’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts.
Compensation could be in the form of money or any valuable thing like property, drugs, valuable information, promises not to arrest the person, or anything valuable to any of the persons.
What Are the Penalties for Prostitution in California?
Prostitution and solicitation are misdemeanors in California. A first and second-time conviction carries up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in prison. A third conviction carries between 90 days to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If the prostitute was under 18, the fines are up to $10,000 and between 2 days and one year in Orange County jail.
A conviction also leaves you with a criminal record which could affect your social life, family, and career. You may also be required to register as a sex offender. If you’re facing such charges, you need an experienced Orange County sex crime attorney to guide and defend you.
How Can Escorts Avoid Prostitution Charges in California?
The best way is to never agree to sexual acts for compensation. Also, if you hire escorts, never agree to engage in sexual acts with them while they are working. Similarly, never agree to exchange sex for a valuable thing. If nothing of value was exchanged, then no crime occurred.
If the police arrest you for prostitution in Laguna Hills, remain silent until your legal counsel arrives. Because you have a right to defend yourself, your Orange County prostitution defense attorney will look at the facts and determine your potential defense strategies.
What Defense Strategies Can I Use Against Prostitution Charges?
If you are accused of prostitution in California, you may have these defenses:
- Entrapment by law enforcement who tricks you into committing a crime
- There was no compensation exchanged
- Mistaken identity
- There was no agreement to engage in sexual acts
- Insufficient evidence to prove the case against you
Having a skilled and experienced sex crime lawyer in Orange County who knows how to attack the weaknesses of the case can help you avoid the penalties of a prostitution conviction.
Why Should I Hire an Escort and Prostitution Lawyer?
- Your attorney can assess any potential legal defenses
- An attorney understands the complexities of escort and prostitution laws in California
- Help you avoid the harsh penalties
- The prosecution is likely to listen more from a professional sex crimes defense lawyer than you
- An attorney represents you in court, and you can go to work and save your time
- An attorney can negotiate for alternative sentencing
Legal Professionals Offering Strategic Defense in California
Crackdowns ad stings on prostitution are common in California. This has led to an increased number of prostitution convictions. Unfortunately, some escorts have been victims and have been wrongly charged. As long as there weren’t sexual acts involved in exchange for compensation, you shouldn’t be charged for prostitution.
Having our law firm on your side can make the difference between a guilty and a not guilty verdict. Before you take any further steps, ensure you have legal counsel from one of our aggressive criminal defense lawyers. Contact our law firm today for a no-obligation meeting.