Los Angeles Prostitution Lawyer

Do Not Plead Guilty to a California Prostitution Charge

We defend Los Angeles prostitution, solicitation of prostitution, pimping and pandering cases. We are especially skilled and experienced in defending Backpage, HX (Humaniplex), CityVibe, Craigslist, and Myredbook cases. We know how to defend against massage parlor sting operations. You may be eligible for a diversion program which can prevent a conviction and in some cases, you may be eligible for an “informal hearing” with the prosecutor and avoid criminal charges even if you were already arrested.

These are the most common prostitution related offenses charged in Los Angeles:

Soliciting An Act of Prostitution: The prosecution must prove that the defendant requested another person to engage in an act of prostitution, that the defendant intended to engage in an act of prostitution, and that the other person received the request.  The request needs to be be clear and unequivocal with the specific intent to solicit an act of prostitution.  The police will often try to say that the defendant used a “code word” or even made suggestive gestures or eye contact.

Loitering for Purposes of Prostitution: The prosecution must prove that the defendant “delayed or lingered” in a public place, that the defendant did not have a lawful purpose for being in that public place, when in the public place the defendant intended to commit an act of prostitution.  As with all prostitution related charges, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had the specific intent to “delay or linger’ in a public place for the purpose of soliciting or engaging in an act of prostitution.

Agreeing to Engage in an Act of Prostitution: Agreeing to a sexual act in exchange for money or something of value.  The prosecution must  prove that there was an agreement to a sexual act, that the defendant agreed to engage in that act, and that the defendant “did something to further the act of prostitution.” This means that an agreement to exchange sex for money is not enough to prove the charge, the prosecutor must prove that there was an additional act beyond the agreement that was in furtherance of committing an act of prostitution.

Escorting Without A Permit. If the police try to set you up for a prostitution charge but can’t do it, they may charge you with “escorting with a permit” which is a violation of a Los Angeles Municipal Code.    They may also charge this along with a prostitution charge.   Escorting without a permit is a misdemeanor that can carry up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Pimping. Pimping is a FELONY and can carry a sentence of anywhere from three years in state prison up to six years.  To be found guilty of pimping, the prosecution must prove that the accused knowingly manages, loaned money to, advanced money to, or had a similar business arrangement with another person for the purpose of prostitution.

Pandering. Pandering a felony and is often charged in conjunction with pimping.  To be found guilty of pandering, the prosecution must prove that the accused “induced, persuaded or encouraged” another person to become a prostitute by “promises, threats, violence, or by any device or scheme.”  Pandering can also be charged if someone “procured a place as an inmate in a house or any place” where prostitution is “encouraged or allowed.”   Often innocent owners of massage parlors or escort services find themselves facing pimping or pandering charges due to the conduct of their employees.  If this happened to you, we can help.

Los Angeles prostitution defense attorney, Jerod Gunsberg, suggests there are some key things you need to know about prostitution defense cases:

YOU CAN BEAT A BACKPAGE, CITYVIBE,  MYREDBOOK, HX, or CRAIGSLIST CASE.  The LAPD and Long Beach Police Vice unit’s latest tactic is to troll internet classifieds looking for escorts, and yes, law enforcement have figured out to look in the “Theraputic Services” section of Craigslist now that the “Adult Services” section is gone.  And these days Backpage is the biggest target for law enforcement.  We are also seeing more law enforcement activity on HX as well. Often these escorts, massage therapists, or dancers are from out of town and advertise that they are in town for the weekend.  The police will lure an escort, massage therapist or dancer to a hotel, and then — no matter what happens, even if no illegal activity occurs - the person is arrested and soon finds herself in a room with dozens of others  who fell into the same trap.  If this or something similar happened to you, call us right away for Los Angeles prostitution defense lawyer.  Even if you think you may have violated the law,  we can help you fight this charge. We have experience successfully fighting these cases.

WE KNOW THE TRICKS THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT USES TO TRAP MASSAGE THERAPISTS, DANCERS, AND ESCORTS.  WE KNOW HOW TO FIGHT BACK. We are Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys who can fight the LAPD’s prostitution cases.  We know that their version of events is inaccurate.  The LAPD rarely records any of the encounters that lead to arrests of escorts.  This allows them to write and say anything they want about the version of events.  Why do they get away with this?   Because they don’t think anyone will fight back.

DO NOT CAVE TO THE PRESSURE TO PLEAD GUILTY. All too often, people charged with prostitution related crimes feel they have no choice but to plead to the charge.  DON’T DO IT.

If you are convicted of violating Cal. Penal Code 647(b), the offense is “priorable.”  This means that every time you are ever convicted of another prostitution offense, the punishments will get more severe every time.

Here is how prostitution sentencing works in California:

Informal hearings and diversion. Many Los Angeles County courthouses have “informal hearings” where the case is resolved without the filing of criminal charges.  There are also informal diversion classes for first time offenders  (especially if you are charged with solicitation), that may help you avoid a conviction.   Contact Los Angeles prostitution lawyer, Jerod Gunsberg, at (310) 210-0744 to discuss your case and find out whether or not this may be an option for you.

First Offense: Possible jail time (5 to 15 days).  Community service, fines, and requirements to submit to HIV test and attend HIV education classes.   In some cases, first time offenders may be eligible for a diversion program which includes classes and counseling.  If this program is successfully completed, no charges are filed.

Second Offense: Same as first offense but with mandatory minimum of 45 days in jail.

Third Offense: Same as first offense but with mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail.


(a)     Escort Defined.  As used in this article, “Escort” means any person who, for a fee, commission, hire, reward or profit, accompanies other persons to or about social affairs, entertainments or places of amusement or consorts with others about any place of public resort or within any private quarters.

(b)     Permit Required.   No person shall be engaged as an Escort without a written permit from the Board.  Such permit shall be issued to the address of the employer.

(c)     Employment Prerequisite.  Before an application for an Escort will be acted upon by the Board, the applicant shall present satisfactory evidence that such person is at least 18 years of age and that employment has been offered by an Escort Bureau under permit by the Board, including name and address of prospective employer, and such employment is contingent upon the issuance of said permit. (Amended by Ord. No. 144,116, Eff. 12/31/72.)

(d)     Identification Card.  Each permittee shall be issued an identification card by the Board and shall carry such card when acting as an escort.  Each permittee shall immediately surrender to the Board any identification card issued by the Board upon suspension, revocation or cancelation of the permit, and upon leaving employment.

(e)     Change of Location.  A change of location may be endorsed on a permit by the Board or its designated representative upon written application by the permittee, accompanied by the change of location fee as prescribed.

(f)     Persons Under 18.  No permittee shall escort or perform any activity covered by this section or offer to escort or perform any other activity covered by this section to any person under 18 years of age, except at the special instance and request of the parent, guardian or other person in lawful custody of the person upon whose behalf the escort service is engaged