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Pimping Law & Defense

PC 266h Crimes

Information on the crime of pimping is found at penal code section 266h(a).

Pimping Laws

The crime of pimping is committed when the defendant earns money or other compensation from a person who the defendant knows to be a prostitute, and the defendant encouraged, promoted, enticed, requested, or direct the prostitute to commit the crime of prostitution for the benefit of the defendant. 

A prostitute is a person who engages in sexual conduct with another person in exchange for money or other compensation. Sexual conduct does not necessarily mean sexual intercourse. Sexual conduct can also be a lewd act. A lewd act means physical contact of the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or customer with some part of the other person's body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

Penal code 266h(a) does not require that Money or other consideration be made directly to the defendant for the crime to be committed.

For example: If the defendant encourages and directs a woman to prostitute herself so that the woman can help th defendant with his rent or drug habit then the defendant is pimping the woman (prostitute). However, if the defendant encourages and directs a woman to prostitute herself for her own benefit the the defendant is a panderer but not a pimp. Pandering crimes are covered in a different chapter.

Example 2: If the defendant operates a massage parlor where he encourages his workers to perform prostitution while working then the defendant will likely be charged with pimping because he encourage another person to prostitute herself and he also derives a benefit for the prostitution (the continued income for the massage parlor business from the prostitutes who lease out the massage rooms). In the situation where the defendant is operating a massage parlor business that operates as a cover for prostitution the defendant may also be charged with keeping a house of prostitution (PC 315), or human trafficking if the sex workers are made to perform prostitution services by threat or force (PC 236.1).

Punishment for Pimping (PC 266h(a))

Pimping, charged as PC 266h(a), is classified as a felony. If found guilty of pimping charged as PC 266h(a) the defendant could face up to six (6) years in prison. Other pimping charges carry different prison punishments, including:

PC 266h(b)(1) pimping a prostitute minor sixteen (16) years or older [Felony charge with a maximum punishment of six (6) years in prison]

PC 266h(b)(2) pimping a prostitute minor under the age of sixteen (16) [Felony charge with a maximum punishment of eight (8) years in prison].

PC 266g prostituting wife [Felony charge with a maximum punishment of four (4) years in prison].

Probation sentence: In some pimping cases it may be possible to have the charges dismissed or reduced. In other pimping cases it may be possible to receive a probation sentence (without prison) even if the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty of the charges. Whether or not a pimping charge is dismissed, reduced, or subject to a probation sentence without prison depends largely on the defendant's criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the criminal charge.

Sex offender registration: PC 266h(a) is not a sex offender registrable offense. However, if found guilty of the crime of pimping under PC 266h(b)(1) or 266h(b)(2), the defendant will be ordered to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his or her life. 

Strike offense: PC 266h(a) is not considered a strike offense under California Three Strikes Sentencing Law; however, pimping of a minor charged under PC 266h(b)(1) or 266h(b)(2) can trigger a third strike for the defendant.

Collateral punishment: A conviction of any pimping crime can subject the defendant to other punishments besides prison, including: harsh probation or parole terms, criminal protective orders (restraining orders), fines, restitution, loss of employment or immigration status, civil lawsuits, and more.

Note: PC 266h(a) is considered a crime of moral turpitude, which means that pimping is considered a morally wrong act and carries special punishments for non-U.S. citizens and defendant who possess professional licenses (i.e. doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.).

Defense of PC 266h(a) Crimes

Common defenses to pandering charges include: insufficient evidence (to prove that the defendant intended another person to engage in prostitution or that the defendant derived any support from the prostitution), mistake of fact, coerced confession, statute of limitations, double jeopardy, and more.

If you have been charged with pimping, or penal code 266h(a), contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys to learn your rights and options without delay. Our attorneys are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to answer all of your questions. Call today!


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PC 266h(a): Pimping Defense

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Pimping Defense PC 266h(a)

  • Annoying a Child
  • Arson
  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Child Pornography
  • Conspiracy
  • Continuous Abuse
  • Criminal Threats
  • Domestic Battery
  • Drunk in Public
  • DUI
  • Elder Theft
  • Evading Police
  • False Personation
  • Forgery
  • Human Trafficking
  • Incest
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Lewd Acts
  • Oral Copulation
  • Pandering
  • Pimping
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Battery
  • Sexual Penetration
  • Sodomy
  • Spousal Rape
  • Statutory Rape

Sex Crimes Attorneys, Serving

San Bernardino County

Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Highland, Redlands, Yucaipa, Rialto, Colton, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, Ontario, Upland, Montclair, Mentone

Riverside County

Banning, Perris, Beaumont, Hemet, Moreno Valley, Jurupa Valley, Palm Springs, Eastvale, Norco, Corona, Riverside

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles (LA), Pomona, West Covina, San Dimas, Glendora, Claremont, LaVerne

Crimes related to pimping (PC 266h(a))

  • Pandering PC 266i(a)
  • Human Trafficking PC 236.1
  • Prostitution PC 647(b)
  • Keeping a house of prostitution PC 315
  • Loiter w/intent to commit prostitution PC 653.22(a)
  • Prostituting wife PC 266g
  • Pimping a minor over 16 PC 266h((b)(1)
  • Pimping a minor under 16 PC 266h(b)(2)
  • Selling a person for illicit purpose PC 266f
  • Pimping PC 266h(a)
  • Seduction of minor for prostitution PC 266

California Pimping Law & Defense PC 266h(a)


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