Under California law, it is illegal to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money, goods, services, or other consideration. People who do so – or even offer to engage in the buying or selling of such services - risk prosecution under the prostitution and solicitation laws found in California Penal Code § 647(b). If you are facing a solicitation charge, San Bernardino and Riverside County sex crime lawyer Gregory H. Comings can help defend you to the fullest extent of the law. We handle a wide variety of sex crime cases, including not only prostitution and solicitation but also sexual assault and related offenses.
In California, sex crimes are usually classified as either misdemeanors (punishable by less than one year of incarceration) or felonies (offenses for which a year or more of imprisonment is possible). Generally, solicitation is considered a misdemeanor offense, although people found guilty of subsequent offenses may be more harshly punished than first offenders. In contrast, there are certain other sex crimes (such as statutory rape) that are considered “wobblers,” with it being possible for the accused to be prosecuted for either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending upon the circumstances.
Being accused of a sex crime does not always equate to a conviction. Just as with an accusation of possession of child pornography, sometimes the defendant may initially have seemed to engage in wrongdoing but is later able to prevent a conviction through an effective legal defense, such as entrapment, lack of sufficient evidence, or a mistake.
A defendant may also rely upon various constitutional defenses in some cases. Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for example, citizens are granted freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that warrants are required for most searches, and evidence obtained without a warrant must fall into certain, limited situations in order to be admissible in court. If evidence was obtained in violation of the Constitution or the law, the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine requires the trial court judge to exclude the illegal evidence from the jury’s consideration. Without competent and credible evidence, the State’s case may quickly fall apart. Since the burden of proving guilt in a criminal case falls on the State of California, acting through the prosecuting attorney and relying on evidence seized by police, a failure to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt means that the defendant must be acquitted.
Solicitation and prostitution charges should be defended as vigorously as possible, since a conviction can result in not only jail time and fines but also difficulty in the workplace and a criminal record that will need to be explained many times in the years to come. Although seeking legal counsel may seem unnecessary if you are sure of your innocence, it is best to enlist an attorney who understands the nuances of the criminal justice system rather than communicating directly with law enforcement on your own.
Some attorneys who advertise as handling criminal cases only handle a few of these cases each year, while spending the bulk of their time handling civil cases like car accidents and divorces. Others handle certain drug offenses or DUI but not sex crime cases. In contrast, Attorney Gregory H. Comings focuses 100% of his legal practice on criminal defense. Moreover, he regularly defends people accused of sex crimes like solicitation, rape, and child sexual assault. If you have been charged with a sex crime in Riverside or San Bernardino County, you can rest assured that he knows what needs to be done and will do it as efficiently and discreetly as possible. To get an honest evaluation of the charges that you are facing and the likely range of outcomes, call us now at (951) 686-3457 or contact us online. Someone is available to take your call 24 hours a day. Se habla Español.