After a person is arrested for prostitution or solicitation, they will likely have questions. What penalties will they face? Is it possible to protect their reputation? Will this impact their future? In some cases, diversion offers an opportunity for these charges to be dismissed and for people to protect their future.
Solicitation and prostitution as defined by California law
California Penal Code 647 (b) criminalizes engaging in prostitution, agreeing to engage in prostitution and soliciting prostitution. Prostitution is defined as the performance of “any lewd act” for compensation like money or other valuables, and can include a variety of actions other than sexual intercourse.
The penalties for solicitation and prostitution often depend on the circumstances of the case. For first offenses, people convicted of prostitution or solicitation face up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. They may also face additional penalties like 30-day driver’s license suspension or required registration as a sex offender.
Diversion may offer a chance to keep your record clear.
In California, solicitation and prostitution are both misdemeanors rather than felonies. This means that some people charged with these crimes are eligible for diversion, allowing them to potentially have their case dismissed or their record sealed.
Diversion programs allow people facing first-time misdemeanor charges to avoid a conviction and instead undergo probation, educational or vocational classes, counseling and other activities. Diversion programs for prostitution-based offenses can include:
- Education about health and wellness
- Counseling and therapy
- HIV testing
- Mentoring programs
These programs allow first-time offenders to keep a solicitation or prostitution charge off their criminal record, keeping that charge from impacting housing, career and other opportunities.