Pimping and pandering are severe offenses under the law. They involve trafficking people for commercial sex purposes. The main reason people commit these crimes is to make money from acts of prostitution. However, the two are separate offenses covered under separate laws. They attract a prison sentence of up to six years for those convicted. You could face pimping charges if you make money from a prostitute and pandering charges if you persuade another person to remain or become a prostitute. It helps to understand the actual meaning of your charges, the likely penalties if convicted, and your options.
That is why you need legal help after your arrest for pimping or pandering in California. Our team of skilled attorneys at Sex Crimes Attorney is willing and ready to guide you through the complex legal process. We are prepared to fight your charges in court using some of the best legal defense strategies. Our skills and experience could compel the court to dismiss or reduce your charges.
The Legal Definitions
Prostitution acts are prohibited in California. They entail offering sexual favors in exchange for something valuable, like money, jewelry, or favors. Pimping and pandering laws prohibit specific acts of prostitution. Understanding what each legal definition entails is important to understanding your charges better. That will help you prepare for the defense during the trial.
The law against pimping is under PC 266(h). According to this law, pimping occurs when you derive revenue or support from another person’s acts of prostitution. You could violate this statute in many ways, including by managing a brothel or providing services like protection to prostitutes. You must do that in exchange for money, favors, or services. Pimping is a serious felony, punishable by a maximum of six years in prison. A conviction also has severe consequences that could impact your life several years after serving your sentence. For example, a damaging criminal record could make finding suitable employment challenging.
Here are examples of circumstances that could result in a pimping charge:
- Asking a call girl to pay you some amount after she has serviced a few clients so that you will not call the police on her.
- Using the money a prostitute has earned in a brothel to pay your bills.
- Asking a prostitute to pay you some amount so that you can connect them to a few clients.
On the other hand, pandering is covered under PC 266(i). The law makes it an offense to influence or attempt to influence another person to work as or remain a prostitute. You can do that in so many ways, including the following:
- Through threats of violence.
- Through promises or persuasion.
- Making arrangements with a brothel.
- Using tricks or fraud.
- Offering money for prostitution services.
Pandering is also a serious felony, punishable by a maximum of six months in jail. Here are some of the acts that could result in pandering charges:
- Offering a $500 award to anyone willing to work as a prostitute in your brothel.
- Convincing a jobless friend to work in a brothel so that they can help you pay your bills.
- Threatening to expose someone if they stop working as a prostitute.
Elements of the Crime
Each of these offenses has its elements or facts that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt for the court to find a defendant guilty.
If you face pimping charges, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:
- That you knew that a particular person was working as a prostitute.
- You used a part or the entire amount the person earned to support your needs, or
- You borrowed a part of, or the entire amount, the prostitute was loaned by the person running a house of prostitution, or
- You received or asked for payment from the prostitute for soliciting customers for them.
Under PC 647b, a prostitute is a person who engages in lewd acts or sexual intercourse with another person in exchange for monetary or material compensation.
Lewd acts refer to physical contact involving the genitals, buttocks, or female breasts of a prostitute or their customer and any other body part of the other participant. The contact is mainly for sexual arousal.
Soliciting a person means tempting, luring, or attempting to obtain something from that person.
If you face pandering charges, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
That you influenced or attempted to influence a person to work as or become a prostitute by doing any of the following:
- Persuading the person to work as a prostitute.
- By using promises, violence, or threats to encourage the person to work as a prostitute.
- Arranging for a person to work in a brothel.
- Using promises, violence, or threats to compel a person to continue working as a prostitute.
- Using tricks or fraud to persuade a person to become a prostitute, enter a brothel, or leave the state to work as a prostitute in another state or country.
- Receiving or offering money to anyone willing to work as a prostitute.
The legal definition of a prostitute remains the same in both statutes.
The prosecutor will file charges even if you only attempted and did not convince the person to start working as or remain working as a prostitute. What matters is that you encouraged a person to become a prostitute, which should be enough to obtain a guilty verdict.
Pandering charges require a specific intent for the jury to deliver a guilty verdict. Without this specific intent, it will be impossible for the prosecutor to prove all elements of your crime beyond a reasonable doubt. That means you are only guilty under this statute if you purposely encouraged or persuaded another person to work or continue working as a prostitute.
Example: While walking home from school every evening, Jeremy and his friends always have a lot to talk about. Just the other day, Jeremy randomly started discussing prostitution and how millions of people are making money through the trade globally. Before bidding his friends goodbye, he mentioned that prostitution could be an excellent idea if they finished college and could not find a good job. They all laughed as each went their way.
In this case, Jeremy is not guilty of pandering. He only provided the general benefits of prostitution and did not persuade any of his friends to become prostitutes. However, he could be guilty if he used threats, violence, fraud, or trickery to recruit any of his friends into prostitution.
Likely Penalties after a Conviction for Pimping and Pandering
Pimping is a straight felony. If the court finds you guilty of pimping, you will likely receive the following penalties:
- Formal or felony probation.
- A prison sentence of six years or less.
- A court fine of $10,000.
If you are guilty of pimping a minor (individual below 18), your sentence will be stiffer and could include the following:
- A maximum of eight years in prison.
- A requirement to register as a convicted sex offender in the sex offender registry.
Pandering is also a felony offense, punishable by the following penalties:
- Six years or less in state prison.
- Felony probation.
- Court fines of up to $10,000.
Also, if you are guilty of pandering to a minor, you will receive a stiffer sentence that could include the following:
- A maximum of eight years in prison.
- A requirement to register in the sex offender registry.
Incarceration is a likely penalty if the court finds you guilty of a sex-related felony. It includes serving a part or your entire sentence behind bars. A prison sentence of up to six years is very long. It will separate you from your family, friends, and job. A lot can change during that period of incarceration. Many people lose their jobs, families, and friends. You could also lose your home and everything you have earned. You could need to start life anew after serving a prison or jail sentence. Thus, you should partner with a skilled sex crimes attorney right after your arrest. You could avoid a prison/jail sentence or a conviction altogether if your attorney can put up a solid defense against your charges.
If the judge sentences you to felony probation, you could serve part or the entire sentence without incarceration. Felony probation lasts between three and five years. The judge will determine your probation length according to the specifics of your case and your criminal history.
While on felony probation, you will be under the supervision of the probation department. An officer will be assigned to your case. Their work will be to supervise you and ensure that you are abiding by all your probation conditions. These are the conditions the judge will give you during sentencing. They could include the following:
- Participating in community service.
- Refraining from a criminal arrest or prosecution while on probation.
- Undergoing individual or group counseling.
- Undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction.
- Staying away from children and areas frequented by children.
- Providing periodic reports to your officer regarding your performance while on probation.
You must not violate your probation, which could result in additional charges and serious repercussions. If the judge learns you have violated your probation, they could schedule a probation violation hearing. The hearing would be to discuss the circumstances of your violation and its consequences. During the hearing, the judge can make one of the following decisions:
- To reinstate your probation under the same conditions but strictly warn you against further violations.
- To reinstate your probation but under new and stricter probation conditions.
- To revoke your probation and send you to jail or prison for the recommended term.
The Sex Offender Registry
The sex offender registry is a database for convicted sex offenders. The database contains names, dates of birth, addresses, and physical descriptions of convicted sex offenders. Most sex crimes carry a requirement to register on the registry after conviction. If you are convicted of pimping or pandering to a minor, your conviction will include a requirement to register on the sex offender registry.
The registry has three main tiers that dictate how long you must remain there. Tier one requires you to register every year for ten years with your local police. You must do so at least five days before or after your birthday. You must also update your details in the registry every time your address changes. That helps the police track your activities after you serve your time.
Tier two comes with a mandatory registration requirement of twenty years. Tier three registrants must remain in the registry for life. The judge will sentence you to a particular tier based on your actions' seriousness and criminal history. Tier one is for minor sex offenses, while Tier three is for severe sex offenses. Failing to honor your registration requirements has serious repercussions, including additional criminal charges on your record.
The sex offender registry is publicly available. Therefore, anyone conducting a background check will know of your conviction. That could affect your relationship and your ability to obtain services, like employment. Employers conduct background checks on employees and can make a hiring decision based on what they find in your criminal background.
Other Consequences of a Conviction for Pimping and Pandering
A conviction for pimping and pandering has more consequences than the penalties you receive during sentencing. Some consequences continue to affect your life years after you have served your sentence.
For example, you will lose your gun rights after a felony conviction. Without your gun rights, you cannot purchase or possess a firearm. If you already have a gun, you must dispose of it at a gun dealer or surrender it to the police. How long you will lose your gun rights will depend on the details of your case. That could be for a few years or life.
A conviction under these statutes could also have severe immigration consequences for an immigrant. Some sex crimes are crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies. Depending on the details of your case, your conviction could include deportation and being marked as inadmissible to the United States.
Expungement of a Criminal Record
If you are guilty of pimping and pandering and have served your time, you could continue experiencing the severe consequences of a conviction. It is because a conviction record remains in your criminal history, even years after the conviction. Since criminal records are publicly available, your record could determine how people treat you. That is why you are legally allowed to file for the expungement of your criminal conviction. That should eliminate all the negative consequences and disabilities of a conviction.
Expungement removes your criminal conviction from your record, rendering it inaccessible to anyone conducting a background check on you. Nobody needs to know about the conviction since you are not mandated to disclose it unless you apply for public office.
But you must complete your prison sentence and probation and pay all court fines to qualify for expungement. Once you meet all the requirements, you can ask your attorney to help you file for expungement. The judge will remove the conviction from your record if the court grants your request. It will be as if you were never arrested or convicted for that particular offense.
Defending Yourself Against Your Charges
It helps to know that you can defend yourself, with the help of an aggressive sex crimes attorney, against your charges under PC 266h and PC 266i. The law provides several legal defense strategies for your attorney to obtain a fair outcome for your case. Some strategies can compel the judge to reduce your charges, while others can cause the judge to dismiss your charges altogether. Here are some of the best strategies that could apply to your situation:
You Did Not Act Knowingly
Pimping and pandering are crimes you commit willingly, knowing the nature and consequences of your actions. For example, you must knowingly obtain money from a prostitute to be guilty of pimping. You must also knowingly convince another person to start working or continue working as a prostitute. If you did not do those things willingly, you would not be guilty under this statute. For example, convincing a young person to take any available job without knowing that the job on offer is prostitution.
It could be difficult for the prosecutor to convince the jury that you knowingly committed the crime you are accused of. A skilled attorney can exploit that to cast doubt on the prosecutor’s case. If they succeed, the judge can reduce or dismiss your charges.
You Are Falsely Accused
False accusations can cause an innocent person to serve a sentence for a crime they did not commit. It is not unusual for a person to falsely accuse another of a serious crime with severe consequences, including prison time. Your accuser could be jealous of you, seeking revenge, or trying to obtain an advantage over you. You must aggressively convince the jury that you did not commit the offense to avoid a conviction. An experienced attorney who has previously handled similar cases can convince the jury that you are falsely accused. They could table evidence to prove that there is no way you could have committed the offense. If that works, the judge will dismiss your charges.
You Are a Victim of Police Entrapment
People who commit serious sex crimes do so in hiding to avoid the stigma associated with sex offenses. That makes it difficult for the police to arrest an offender for committing a crime. Even people who report cases like these lack solid evidence to support their allegations. Therefore, the police must find a way to lure suspended offenders into committing the crime and arrest them.
Sometimes police entrapment works. But if the police use force, violence, or fraud to cause an innocent person to commit a crime, it is unlawful. You can cite entrapment if you believe you only committed the crime because the police tricked or forced you into it. If that is the case, your attorney will convince the judge to dismiss any evidence the police gathered through entrapment. That will leave the prosecutor with little or no evidence to obtain a guilty verdict.
Your Arrest Was Illegal
An illegal arrest can happen in several ways. For example, if the police searched for your person or property without a valid search warrant or failed to read your Miranda rights after an arrest. The law guides law enforcement in conducting searches and arrests of suspected offenders. You must discuss the details of your arrest and investigation with your attorney. A skilled attorney will quickly spot areas in which the police failed and use that to compel the judge to dismiss the evidence gathered against you.
If the police questioned you before reading your Miranda rights, the judge will throw out any information you could have provided after your arrest. That could include all the evidence the prosecutor has against you. Any evidence gathered after an illegal search and seizure is also inadmissible in court.
You Did Not Intend to Pursuade The Other Person
Remember that a pandering charge requires you to have acted with the intent to persuade a person to start or continue working as a prostitute. Without this intent, the prosecutor cannot prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt. Sadly, a person’s intent is very difficult to prove for prosecutors. Sometimes they rely on implied intent to prove the case. But a skilled attorney can aggressively fight any evidence the prosecutor could have to convince the judge to dismiss your charges.
Find a Competent Sex Crimes Attorney Near Me
Do you or someone you know face pimping and pandering charges in California?
Your first step should be to hire a skilled attorney for legal help and support. Your attorney will, among other things, help you understand the nature of your charges, the likely consequences, and your options. They will also help you navigate the complex legal process with minimal or no issues. We understand how stressful it can be to be arrested for a sex offense at Sex Crimes Attorney. That is why we offer to smooth the process and aggressively fight your charges for a fair outcome. Call us at 888-666-8480 to discuss more about our services and your charges.