Escorting and Prostitution in California: What’s the Difference?

While escorting and prostitution are often lumped together, they have distinct differences under California state law. Understanding these differences is crucial to determine the legal implications of offering such services across different jurisdictions.

If you have been arrested for prostitution in California, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may evaluate the facts and develop a suitable defense strategy. At Aron Law Firm, we work diligently to exploit weaknesses in the cases against our clients to mitigate penalties associated with prostitution. In some cases, we are able to have the charges against our client dropped entirely.

How Escorting Differs From Prostitution in California

The key distinction between escorting and prostitution lies in the nature of the services provided. Escorting primarily focuses on companionship and social interaction, whereas prostitution centers around engaging in sexual activities for compensation.

What Is Escorting in California?

Escorting refers to a service where an individual, typically referred to as an escort, accompanies another person to various events or social engagements. The escort’s role is generally to provide companionship, conversation, and sometimes entertainment.

Escorting services are legal in California as long as they do not involve engaging in sexual activities or solicitation for sexual services. However, escorts must obtain a license to operate legally in the state.

Regarding engaging in sexual acts with an escort during their personal time, it may not be illegal if it occurs outside of their work hours. Although if there is evidence suggesting that the sexual act was arranged and compensated for separately, it becomes illegal. In such cases, both the escort and the client may face legal consequences.

What Is Prostitution in California?

Prostitution, on the other hand, is considered a sex crime and is illegal in California under Penal Code 647(b). Prostitution involves the exchange of sexual services for money or goods. It typically includes activities such as sexual intercourse, oral sex, or other sexual acts in exchange for payment. Engaging in sexual acts, soliciting others for sex, or arranging sexual encounters may lead to charges of prostitution.

To secure a prostitution conviction, the state must prove both the occurrence of sexual acts and the exchange of compensation.

Possible defense strategies against prostitution charges include claiming entrapment by law enforcement, asserting no exchange of compensation, presenting mistaken identity, challenging the existence of an agreement for sexual acts, or demonstrating insufficient evidence. An adept sex crime lawyer may pinpoint any flaws in the case against you to help avoid the penalties associated with a prostitution conviction.

Possible Penalties for a Prostitution Conviction in California

Prostitution and solicitation are classified as misdemeanors in California. A conviction carries fines of up to $1,000 and a prison term of up to six months. If the crime involved a minor under 18, fines may reach up to $10,000, and jail time may range from a minimum of 2 days to one year in jail.

Prostitution convictions also result in a criminal record, potentially impacting various aspects of life, including social, familial, and professional spheres. Additionally, registration as a sex offender may be required.

Unfortunately, some escorts may be wrongly charged for prostitution when no sexual acts were involved in exchange for compensation. When this occurs, having the support of a reputable law firm may be invaluable and could significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Contact a Skilled Prostitution Defense Lawyer in California

At Aron Law Firm, we understand the nuances of California state law and have a proven track record of successfully defending clients in various types of criminal cases. Whether you are facing accusations of escorting without a license or have been charged with prostitution, Aron Law Firm is prepared to defend your rights.

Schedule a consultation by calling our office at (805) 618-1768 or filling out our convenient contact form.