In legal terms, solicitation means asking someone to participate in an illegal act. It commonly refers to prostitution. Offering or agreeing to engage in consensual sex for money or other goods or services is illegal in California.
Although considered a lesser crime than many other sex crimes, a charge of solictation can still lead to fines and jail time. If you have been charged with solicitation, it can be extremely embarrassing and can affect your family, your friends and your job. It can also permanently affect your reputation.
If you find yourself in this circumstance, you need a defense lawyer who believes in you and who will go the distance to get the charges dismissed or reduced. Sacramento attorney David Knoll, with decades of criminal defense experience, investigates the charges against you and finds the weaknesses in the prosecuting attorney’s case.
Understanding Charges of Solicitation in California
To prove that you are guilty of solicitation, you have to do more than agree to participate in the transaction of sex in exchange for money or other service. There must be an act that shows you have done more than just agree. This act can be a physical acknowledgement confirming the agreement. This could be a handshake, a transfer of money, a nod of the head, or asking the prostitute to take off articles of clothing.
Law enforcement officials target prostitutes, intermediaries (pimps), and their customers (johns) through a variety of vice squad operations. These include sting operations, where an undercover police officer poses as a prostitute and creates the conditions for the unsuspecting client to consent and agree to engage in prostitution. If the customer, for example, shows up at the designated hotel or motel room, that will constitute consent and agreement. The john is then charged and arrested.
Penalties for Solicitation in California
Solicitation and prostitution are misdemeanor crimes in California. Penalties are based on whether you are a first time offender or a repeat offender.
- For a first time offender, the penalty can consist of a fine of up to $1000, and/or six months in a county jail. You may also face probation and have to participate in community service.
- Testing for AIDS is mandatory. If the results are positive, and if you are ever caught soliciting again, the prosecutor can charge you with a felony.
- If you are a repeat offender, you are facing mandatory jail time of 45-90 days or more.
- The judge can suspend your driver’s license for up to 30 days or restrict your driving privileges for up to six months.
Solicitation and Your Legal Defense
To confront your charge of solicitation, Attorney David Knoll presents your case with an aggressive, intelligent defense.
- One of the most successful defenses for solicitation involves “entrapment.” Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer does something to cause or influence an otherwise innocent person to commit a crime.
- A lack of trustworthy evidence is an important defense. The prosecutor has to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. If the undercover decoy cannot present evidence that you physically accepted a sexual offer, then it is just his or her word against yours.
- Insufficient evidence is another possible defense. This occurs when the prosecuting attorney has some evidence against you, but it is murky, confusing, or unsubstantiated.
- The legal defense of a “mistake of fact” means that you did not intend to engage in an illegal act of solicitation or prostitution. Just because you may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time (like a massage parlor that was the focus of a sting operation), doesn’t mean you are guilty of any crime.
- When you retain criminal defense attorney David Knoll, he and his diligent staff give you the personal attention you need to fight the charge of solicitation with the appropriate discretion.