Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson: Prostitution Lawyer in San Francisco


When you need a prostitution lawyer in San Francisco, the Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson can assist you. We offer advice and representation. Get help now!



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Prostitution Attorney in San Francisco


Many people refer to prostitution as “the oldest profession in the world.” However, it is still a criminal act in many countries and states in the US.

According to California law, prostitution is an offense, and any individual found soliciting, engaging in, or agreeing to engage in prostitution (sexual act in exchange for money/benefits) would be guilty of a misdemeanor (disorderly conduct). The offense includes any “lewd conduct” between individuals for money or other benefits.

Anyone who is convicted of prostitution would not only face criminal penalties under the California Penal Code but would likely have to deal with the societal stigma and negative connotations associated with the offense.

So, if you’re dealing with a prostitution charge, it is important that you defend yourself robustly and try to avoid a conviction as much as possible. In such cases, you might need a skilled and determined criminal defense lawyer whose areas of help include prostitution defense to help you fight the charge and help you establish a suitable defense on your behalf where possible.

Elements of Prostitution Under the California Penal Code


The California Penal Code prohibits soliciting and engaging in prostitution for money or other benefits.

The law also prohibits agreements to engage in prostitution. In such cases, the act of prostitution may not have been executed. But you could still be arrested if it is shown that there was a specific intent to engage in the offense.

Under the law, both the prostitute and the ‘client’ are criminally liable for the offense. This means that you don’t need to be identified as a prostitute before you can be arrested for prostitution. You can be arrested and charged for patronizing one.

However, to protect minors under 18 years of age who may be victims of trafficking or pimping, the law protects them from being charged with prostitution. Thus, a person who solicits, engages, or agrees to engage in prostitution with a minor is liable under the law. The minor is exempt from liability regardless of whether they made the first move.

Penalties for Prostitution in San Francisco, California 


Prostitution is categorized as a misdemeanor under the California Penal Code. So like other misdemeanors, the penalties include jail time for up to six months at the San Francisco County Jail or a fine of up to $1000. A subsequent offense may attract more severe penalties.

However, if the crime involved a minor, the penalty is imprisonment for up to a year, a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.

Possible Defenses for a Prostitution Charge


If you get arrested for prostitution by an (undercover) police officer, you may be charged to court and prosecuted quickly. In that case, you might want to reach out to an attorney at the earliest time for legal guidance, so you don’t make any mistakes or say anything that could jeopardize your chances of an acquittal in court.

The law allows you to defend prostitution charges and establish suitable defenses that could save you from a conviction.

Your lawyer can evaluate your case and help you set up relevant defenses, which could include the following:

  • That you are a minor
  • There is none or insufficient evidence against you
  • That you’re a victim of police entrapment
  • That the statements you made to the police were made under duress or when you were deprived of the ability to make informed decisions.

If these or any relevant defense is established successfully, you may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed entirely.


Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Prostitution Charge?


If you’ve been arrested and charged with prostitution having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can help, especially if you’re trying to avoid a conviction.

Your attorney can ensure that your rights are protected right from your arrest and throughout the criminal trial.

Also, during misdemeanor trials in California, the prosecution and defense exchange information in a process known as ‘discovery.’ The information shared during discovery can help either side prepare for the trial and can help you set up a suitable defense. However, the information you receive may be limited if an attorney does not represent you. You, as a defendant, may not be privy to witness testimonies from the prosecution so that the identity of the witnesses is protected and their wellbeing is not jeopardized.

However, this limitation would not apply if an attorney represents you since lawyers are required by law to protect the identity of such witnesses. Having a lawyer represent you gives you access to information that is relevant to your defense and helps get your charges dismissed.

Your attorney can also help you explore legal options for the resolution of the case if going to trial would not benefit you.

Having a lawyer in your corner to fight for you can significantly increase your chances of avoiding a conviction and the penalties for prostitution under the law.

If you need a criminal lawyer in Oakland or anywhere else in the San Francisco bay area to assist with your prostitution charge, you can contact us at the Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson. We understand the fears that come with prostitution arrests and charges, and we can help you assess your case and develop a suitable defense strategy for you where possible. Contact us today for quality and compassionate legal assistance and support.

Common Questions on Prostitution in California


Is Prostitution a Crime in San Francisco?

Prostitution is a crime all over the State of California in terms of section 647(b) of the California Penal Code. So, yes, it is a crime in San Francisco. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) takes prostitution offenses seriously and would likely arrest anyone suspected of being involved in such an act.


Is Possession of Condoms Evidence of Prostitution?

No. Possession of condoms in any quantity is not evidence of prostitution under the California Penal Code. So, it cannot be used as a basis for a prostitution arrest.