Information on the crime of loiter with intent to commit prostitution is found at California penal code section 653.22(a).
To loiter with intent to commit prostitution means to delay or linger on property without lawful purpose and for the purpose of committing the crime of prostitution.
Prostitution is defined as engaging in, agreeing to, or soliciting sexual services for compensation (PC 647(b))
To be found guilty of PC 653.22(a) the district attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant specifically loitered in an area with the specific intent to engage in the crime of prostitution.
Both the prostitute, and/or the person seeking prostitution services, may be charged with the crime of loitering with intent to commit prostitution under PC 647.22(a). If an agreement, or solicitation, for sexual services in exchange for compensation is made, the defendant will be charged with the crime of prostitution and not just loitering to commit prostitution, which is a lesser crime than the crime of prostitution (PC 653.22(a) & 647(b)).
PC 653.22(a) provides a list of conduct circumstances that may be considered loitering with intent to commit prostitution. The conduct circumstances include:
- Repeatedly beckons to, stops, engages in conversations with, or attempts to stop or engage in conversations with passersby, indicative of soliciting for prostitution (PC 653.22(b)(1))
- Repeatedly stops or attempts to stop motor vehicles by hailing the drivers, waving arms, or making any other bodily gestures, or engages, or attempts to engage the drivers or passengers of the motor vehicles in conversation, indicative of soliciting for prostitution (PC 653.22(b)(2))
- Has been convicted of violating PC 653.22(a), subdivision (a) or (b) or section 647 (prostitution), or any other offense relating to or involving prostitution, within five years of the arrest under this section (PC 653.22(b)(3))
- Circles an area in a motor vehicle and repeatedly beckons to, contacts, or attempts to contact or stop pedestrians or other motorists, indicative of soliciting for prostitution (PC 653.22(b)(4))
- Has engaged, within six months prior to the arrest under this section, in any behavior described in this subdivision, with the exception of paragraph (3), or in any other behavior indicative of prostitution activity (PC 653.22(b)(5))
This list of circumstantial evidence is not intended to serve as the exclusive list of the type evidence that might prove the intent of the defendant to commit the crime of prostitution. Other evidence could include the defendant's confession, the presence of condoms on either the prostitute or the John, the location of the crime (as known to be frequented by prostitutes), and more.
Note: Even if there are no prostitutes present, the defendant may still be charged with the crime of loiter with intent to commit prostitution if the defendant believed that prostitutes were present and the defendant loitered in an area with the specific intent to commit prostitution (PC 653.22(a))
Punishment & Sentence for PC 653.22(a)
Jail: The crime of loiter with intent to commit prostitution is classified as a misdemeanor. if found guilty, the defendant could face up to 180 days in the county jail (PC 653.22). Probation without jail, or probation with house arrest or work release, is a common sentence for a first time conviction of loiter with intent to commit prostitution.
Probation: Probation for misdemeanor convictions is summary probation or informal probation, which means that the defendant does not have a probation officer but must not violate any law that amounts to a misdemeanor or felony. The defendant may also be ordered to stay away from certain areas where prostitution is prevalent, pay fines and penalties, and other probation terms and conditions. If the defendant violates his or her probation the court may further punish the defendant. This additional punishment is separate to any punishment associated with any new crime committed while on probation.
Mandatory HIV Testing: The court, upon conviction for any prostitution crime, including PC 653.22(a), loiter with intent to commit prostitution, may order that the defendant submit to a test for AIDS or HIV.
Sex Education Classes: In addition to all other penalties, if convicted of PC 653.22(a), the defendant may be ordered to attend and complete a "sex education" class. The class is designed to educate the defendant as to the prevalence of STDs and to provide therapy for any sexual deviant behaviors.
Restraining Orders: The judge may order, as part of summary or informal probation, that the defendant keep away from certain parts of a city that are known to be frequented by prostitutes, or keep away from certain websites that are known to advertise prostitution services.
Monetary Fines: Penalty fines, court security fines, and restitution costs may be ordered by the court upon any conviction of a prostitution crime, including the crime of loiter with intent to commit prostitution (PC 653.22(a)).
Professional License Consequences: Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, Therapist, Psychologist, Boxers, Teachers, Cosmetologists, and other professionals may have their license revoked, suspended, or denied based on criminal convictions for loiter with intent to commit prostitution.
Immigration Consequences: Defendants that are not citizens of the United States at the time of any conviction for PC 653.22(a) may be deported from the United States.
John Publication: In some counties, a person convicted of prostitution (PC 647(b)), or loiter with intent to commit prostitution (PC 653.22(a)), may have his or her picture published on the county website under a "Convicted John" section or some equivalent;
Sex Offender Registration: A judge may order sex offender registration in any criminal case, including PC 653.22(a) cases, if the the judge finds that the defendant committed the crime for sexual compulsion or for sexual gratification. (See Penal Code 290.006). Note: This is a very unusual punishment.
Driver's license suspension: The defendant may lose his or her driving privilege if a vehicle was used to commit the crime of loiter with intent to commit prostitution.
Common Defenses to PC 653.22(a)
Insufficient Evidence: In loiter to with intent to commit prostitution crimes, the prosecuting attorney must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Those three elements are 1 intent to commit prostitution, 2) loitering, and 3) the defendant was in a public area. For example, saying hello to a prostitute does not prove intent to commit prostitution, and waiving at a prostitute on the street does not prove loitering.
Entrapment Defense: Entrapment occurs when the police encourage or promote a crime by way of their overbearing conduct. Most entrapment cases are associated with undercover sting operations by law enforcement. For example, undercover officers sometimes encourage men to stop and talk them about sex; thereafter, the undercover officer arrests a man for PC 647(b) prostitution or loitering with intent to commit prostitution (PC 653.22(a)), even though the man never would have otherwise stopped.
Other defenses to PC 653.22(a) charges include: Statute of limitations, police officer misconduct such as illegal search and seizure of evidence, coerced confessions, mistake of fact, jury nullification, and more.
If you are charged with loiter with intent to commit prostitution, or PC 653.22(a), contact our prostitution defense lawyers today for a free consultation. Our attorneys have successfully defended many prostitution cases and there is no fee for a consultation. Call today!