California Solicitation of Prostitution Law, Penal Code 647(b)

In California it is illegal to engage in the act of prostitution or to solicit (i.e., offer), or agree to engage in the act of prostitution. In cities such as Pasadena, Alhambra and Los Angeles, there are police task forces assigned to operate “stings” in order to reduce the number of prostitution crimes in certain neighborhoods.

Section 647(b) of the California Penal Code criminalizes both the act of engaging in prostitution (offering or accepting money or other consideration for sex) as well as offering to engage in prostitution (soliciting). (See tab on Prostitution for more information.)

Officers not only arrest the prostitute, but even the person requesting the services of the prostitute (the “John”), are targeted for arrest.  Money does not have to be exchanged for sex to be guilty of solicitation or prostitution.  For example, if a man offers to give a prostituted alcohol or drugs in exchange for a sex act, that would suffice as a form of “money OR consideration”.

The California criminal code says that anyone “Who solicits or who agrees to engage in or who engages in any act of prostitution” is guilty of violating section Penal Code section 647(b).  The law further states that:

”A person agrees to engage in an act of prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, he or she manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in prostitution.  No agreement to engage in an act of prostitution shall constitute a violation of this subdivision unless some act, in addition to the agreement, is done within this state in furtherance of the commission of an act of prostitution by the person agreeing to engage in that act.  As used in this subdivision, “prostitution” includes any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration…” Cal PC Section 647(b). (Emphasis added.)


Defenses to the charge of prostitution or solicitation include:

  • Mistake,
  • Insufficient evidence (one or more of the elements of the crime are not proven beyond a reasonable doubt), and
  • Entrapment by the police.

If you are facing criminal charges for solicitation, prostitution, loitering, or some other sex related offense, it is important to contact an experienced and caring lawyer that knows how defend against sex crime charges. 

Call attorney Ann Gottesman at (626)710-4021 for a free consultation. She is nonjudgmental, compassionate and ready to help you. Don’t face a criminal case alone. Having an experienced and dedicated attorney can make all the difference.