Prostitution and Solicitation

Jerod Gunsberg, an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, defends all allegations of prostitution in Southern California and is highly skilled in defending both street prostitution charges and charges in outcall cases from MyRedbook, Backpage, HX (Humaniplex), CityVibe, and Craigslist. Mr. Gunsberg handles all prostitution charges including:

  • Solicitation of prostitution
  • Agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution
  • Loitering for the purposes of prostitution
  • Escorting without a permit

Mr. Gunsberg also defends pimping and pandering cases.

Prostitution Arrests in Los Angeles

Enforcement of prostitution has become a major priority for local law enforcement agencies in Southern California. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been cracking down on prostitution offenses in Van Nuys, Hollywood, on Western Avenue, and at the hotels on Century Boulevard near the airport. Massage parlor sting operations are also on the rise.

Even if you think you may have violated the law, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you fight a prostitution or solicitation charge. An experienced attorney should be familiar with the geography of the area where the alleged offense took place and should know the tricks the local police department uses to trap escorts, massage therapists and dancers.

Jerod Gunsberg is an experienced prostitution defense lawyer who can help you fight back against the LAPD’s prostitution cases. Mr. Gunsberg is often able to leverage his many years of experience in defending such cases to show that law enforcement’s version of events is inaccurate. The LAPD never record any of the encounters that lead to arrests of escorts. This allows them to write and say anything they want about their version of events. Why do they get away with this? Because they don’t think anyone will fight back.

Do not plead guilty to a California prostitution charge. Do not cave in to the pressure to plead guilty and take a conviction. All too often, people charged with prostitution and related offenses feel they have no choice but to plead guilty to the charge. Don’t make this mistake. If you are convicted of violating California Penal Code Section 647(b), there could be serious collateral consequences for your employment prospects, immigration status, and your family stability.

FAQs About Prostitution Charges in Los Angeles

You can beat a MyRedbook, Backpage, CityVibe, Humaniplex, or Craigslist case. Below are a few answers to commonly asked questions from Los Angeles prostitution defense attorney Jerod Gunsberg:

Q: Will the police present video or audio evidence in court?

A: There is no recording. I handle a lot of prostitution cases, and for routine prostitution cases carried out by the LAPD, I have never encountered a case in which the police produce an audio or video recording of the alleged transaction. The police do this so they can say and write whatever they want in their reports regardless of the facts of the matter. They do this because they think a jury will believe them over the person accused of the offense. I know how to effectively deal with this issue.

Q: What are the consequences and jail time for a prostitution conviction in Los Angeles?

A: You may be sentenced to up to one year in jail for this offense. The judge may also suspend your driver’s license for up to 30 days under some circumstances. Prostitution is no longer a “priorable” offense in California, meaning the punishment is no longer automatically more severe based solely on the fact you were previously convicted of a prostitution related offense. However, the prosecution and the court will still take prior convictions into account when making a settlement offer or determining a sentence.

Q: Is there a diversion program for prostitution charges?

A: Yes, there is a diversion program, but it may not be right for you. If you are a first time offender in the city of Los Angeles and you have no priors for prostitution, you may be eligible for the city attorney’s “prostitution diversion program.” To qualify for this program, you must plead guilty to the charge. However, you won’t be sentenced. Instead, you will be required to complete a one day class which deals with the issues surrounding prostitution offenses. You will also submit to an HIV test (which also happens at the class). After the class and HIV test is completed, if you are not arrested on any new offenses for one year, your guilty plea is withdrawn and your case is dismissed. Once your case is dismissed you can truthfully answer that you have never been convicted of a crime. However, even if your case is dismissed, if you are arrested for prostitution again your new offense will still count as a second offense. This means that a second prostitution offense could lead to a mandatory 45 days in jail. Most importantly, if you are not a United States citizen or if you hold a professional license (nurse, doctor, lawyer, contractor, etc.), or if you hold a security clearance, the diversion program may not be right for you. Here’s why: A guilty plea could lead to immigration or employment problems. Why? Because both the federal immigration authorities and professional licensing boards look beyond whether or not you are actually convicted. If you plead guilty, even if the guilty plea is withdrawn after successful completion of the diversion program, it may be viewed the same as a conviction.

Q: Should I hire an attorney to fight back?

A: Are these cases worth fighting? Yes! Even if you don’t qualify for the diversion program or can’t accept the diversion program, you can and should fight this case. Remember: there’s a lot that can be done in these cases. Don’t just show up to court and plead guilty. You owe it to yourself to at least speak with an experienced prostitution defense lawyer to discuss your case.

Solicitation of Prostitution

Solicitation of prostitution is a common offense in Los Angeles. All too often, people plead guilty to a solicitation of prostitution charge without contacting a qualified criminal defense attorney. If you have been charged with solicitation of prostitution, contact Los Angeles prostitution defense attorney Jerod Gunsberg for a confidential consultation to evaluate your options. We will give you an honest assessment of your case with no obligation to retain our services.

You can be convicted for solicitation of prostitution if the prosecution proves that:

  • You requested or asked someone else to engage in prostitution. Prostitution is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse or a lewd act in exchange for money or some other form of payment. Touching the genitals or another part of the body for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal qualifies as a lewd act for the purposes of this section.
  • You intended to engage in the act of prostitution with the other person. The government must prove that you meant to follow through with a request to engage in prostitution. For instance, if you were joking around and did not mean what you said, the government would have a difficult time proving that you intended to engage in prostitution.

If there is some question as to whether the other person received your request, the government will also have to prove that the other person in fact received your request. This does not come up frequently.

Tactics of LAPD in Prostitution Cases

Most charges for solicitation of prostitution arise from undercover police operations. It is important to know that you can be found guilty of this charge even if the other person (i.e. an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute) does not intend to engage in prostitution. In these types of cases, we can obtain records regarding the undercover investigation that can help in your defense.

Jurors are often bothered by the large amount of resources police agencies pour into these types of sting operations, and by the fact that police agencies generally do a poor job of preserving evidence in these operations. For example, the conversations between undercover officers and suspects are usually transmitted through a wire. However, police agencies do not generally record this information for use in court. Many jurors feel uncomfortable convicting someone without this type of evidence.

LAPD Vice Units regularly use “decoys” to pose as prostitutes to lure unsuspecting customers into arrest. Another common trap occurs in massage parlors. A customer goes into a massage parlor and is ensnared by a “masseuse” who is actually an undercover cop. Often people are arrested even if they had no intent to engage in an act of prostitution. The truth of the matter is this: whether you are guilty or innocent, the police will arrest anyone who comes into contact with their undercover operation. This is why it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to fight your solicitation of prostitution charge in court. Whatever the circumstances, Jerod Gunsberg is experienced in these cases and will help you either by fighting your case all the way to trial or resolving the case with minimal consequences.

Prostitution and Minors

Under California law, minors cannot be charged with any prostitution offense. Minors who are arrested for prostitution may be turned over to a county social worker for further proceedings but no criminal charges will be brought. Child prostitution arrests in California do not result in charges for the child.

However, this means that if you are an adult and arrested for soliciting or agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution with a minor, you should expect to face charges. Even if the minor solicited you first, even if you were not aware that you were dealing with someone under 18 years old, you can face increased penalties and additional charges.

If this is your first offense and even on repeat offenses, the Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg may be able to help you avoid jail time through a diversion program. In a diversion program, our clients agree to attend a “prostitution education class” and possibly additional counseling. After the completion of the program, the charges are dismissed. In the cases of first offenses, this may be a matter of attending one class which lasts a few hours. For repeat offenses, a more intensive program may be required to avoid jail time.

If you or a loved one is accused of prostitution, solicitation of prostitution or a related criminal offense in LA, Los Angeles County or anywhere in the state of California, do not hesitate to contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Jerod Gunsberg at (323) 633-3423 for a confidential consultation or get in touch via the secure contact form on this page. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Let's talk