Sex work can be a bit of a gray area in terms of legality. The big difference between, say, being an escort and engaging in prostitution, is payment for sex. What may start out as a legal arrangement could become illegal should money be exchanged for sex. Conviction for a prostitution crime can come with punishments including up to $1,000 in fines and jail time.
If you were charged with a solicitation or prostitution violation, there are legal defenses available to you. The prosecutor on your case must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the intent to participate in a sex act, entered an agreement to the terms of how the sex act would be compensated, and then engaged in the sex act. For solicitation charges, though, a sexual act does not even have to happen.
To protect your best interests after an arrest, consider connecting with an experienced San Diego prostitution defense attorney at the Law Offices of Davide M. Boertje to have your situation professionally evaluated.
The Legality of California’s Sex Industry
Prostitution charges or solicitation charges can be devastating to your reputation and could result in issues within your career and/or your home and personal life. The stigma of such charges alone can cause irreparable harm in one’s life. Fighting such charges with convincing and persuasive arguments may help you avoid criminal penalties and go a long way toward clearing your name.
Prostitution occurs when there is intent to engage in a sexual act and there is a financial transaction to pay for it. Prostitution is illegal in California. Soliciting another person for a sex act and offering to pay for it is also illegal in California.
An escort is a person who provides non-sexual companionship and is paid for those services. Hiring an escort is legal in the state of California, but there are guidelines. The police department must issue a California escort worker with a valid permit to operate. Without one, a person calling themselves an escort would be doing so unlawfully.
One can legally engage in a sexual act with a licensed escort. This is true as long as there was no exchange of compensation and both parties consented to the act. It becomes unlawful when any lewd or sexual act takes place and a fee is paid for the act.
Think about this scenario: You want to hit the town and try a new restaurant, but your friends are all busy. Perhaps you hire an escort to accompany you so you do not have to go alone. If you are hiring a licensed escort from a reputable agency, this is a legal practice in the state of California. Though should some type of sexual activity occur between you and the escort you hired, and payment is made, then this would be considered a crime.
Speak to a San Diego Sex Crime Defense Attorney Today
It is a common misconception that prostitutes are the same as licensed escorts. The reality is that they are not the same. And, law enforcement may make mistakes with how they perceive certain situations. What could be a legitimate escort relationship may be falsely identified as prostitution by the police.
To learn more about what you can do to protect yourself when you have been charged with a sex crime in San Diego, please call the California criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje today to schedule a free initial consultation at (619) 229-1870 for the San Diego office or (760) 476-0901 for the Carlsbad location.