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Prostitution & Solicitation Charges in California

Despite the fact that prostitution involves “consent” between the prostitute and the customer, it is still a criminal act that is aggressively prosecuted in California. While engaging in sexual intercourse for free is not illegal, having sex for money is.

Under Penal Code 647(b) PC, it’s unlawful to engage in the criminal act of prostitution, and going even further, it’s illegal to offer or ask someone to engage in prostitution – this offense is known as solicitation.

For example, let’s say that Steve approaches a beautiful woman at a bar. After buying her a few drinks, he offers her $300 to have sex at a motel down the street. Little does he know, but the woman is an undercover cop who’s on the vice squad. He is arrested on suspicion of solicitation and taken downtown for booking.

Under California’s prostitution laws, the prostitute or the customer, also known as the “John” can be arrested for the offense. The difference is that the prostitute is arrested for prostitution and the customer is arrested for solicitation.

What are the penalties for engaging in prostitution?

In California, prostitution and solicitation are both misdemeanor offenses. A first offense is punishable by:

  • Up to 6 months in jail,
  • A fine not to exceed $1,000, or
  • Both

If you used your vehicle while committing the offense and you were within 1,000 feet of a residence, your driver’s license may be suspended for 30 days, or, you may be issued a restricted license for up to half a year, which means you'd be limited to driving for work and school purposes.

Moreover, if you committed the offense while in your vehicle, it’s subject to being seized under California’s asset forfeiture laws.

Please note that prostitution and solicitation are priorable offenses; this means that the penalties increase with each subsequent offense.

Arrested for prostitution or solicitation? Contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a confidential, free case evaluation!


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