In California, loitering to commit prostitution involves someone delaying or lingering in public places to commit prostitution. Law enforcement officers have jurisdiction to arrest anyone suspected of attempting to commit sex crimes. The loitering elements to commit prostitution include loitering in public areas and the intent to commit the offense. When faced with loitering to commit prostitution charges, you need to take necessary measures to protect your rights and future.

Sometimes innocent people face accusations for the offense. However, you may increase the chances of achieving a favorable outcome by hiring a criminal lawyer. At Orange County Criminal Lawyer, we provide aggressive and effective criminal defenses to our clients. Additionally, we are committed to pursuing justice and offer legal presentations to our clients.

Definition of Loitering To Commit Prostitution

Under California PC 653.22, loitering to commit prostitution is any behavior which includes delaying or staying for an extended period in a public place without a legal reason to engage in prostitution. The law enforcement officers may arrest you after noticing your plans and intentions of committing prostitution.

Walking up and down a particular street at a specific time or wearing provocative clothes in public areas might be a firm ground for the police officers to arrest you for the offense. Loitering to commit prostitution conviction might result in fines, jail time, and criminal records. Therefore, you should seek help from a competent criminal lawyer to fight your charge when you face the charges.

Elements of The Crime

For the prosecution to prove the defendant guilty of loitering to commit a prostitution offense, they should prove the following elements of the crime:

  • The defendant was loitering
  • you intended to commit prostitution
  • The defendant was lounging in a public place


Loitering is delaying or lingering in one place without legal purpose and intends to commit an offense when an opportunity arises. You aren't loitering when you are passing an area. However, the defendant should have spent some time in the area for them to face conviction. The defendant cannot be arrested for PC 653.22 when they have a valid reason for being in the place. For instance, when the defendant was drinking with his colleagues in a restaurant.

Public Place

The defendant will violate California PC 653.22 when in a public area. Public space is a place open and accessible by the public. Examples of public places include driveway, parking lot, plaza, a park, or an alley. Additionally, moving and parking motor vehicles are also public places. However, the defendant cannot face loitering to commit prostitution charges for conducting a party held at a private person's house. When you participate in the behavior in a private place, or an area not open to the general public, you would be innocent for loitering to commit prostitution.

Intent to Commit Prostitution

The law enforcers may arrest you and face charges in court when you were loitering to commit prostitution. The defendant must show your intent to commit prostitution when they behave in a way that openly proves they have the purpose of obtaining another person to commit prostitution.

The defendant should have an intent to commit prostitution for them to face the charges. Notably, prostitution involves an act for cash or other forms of payments. However, prostitution doesn't apply to stage performance, play, or entertainment, access to the entire public like strip club performance.

Examples of loitering to Commit Prostitution

  • John was walking along with a gas station for around thirty minutes near a side street; several prostitutes were standing waving at drivers and passengers passing by. The gas owner called the police to arrest him in an attempt to commit prostitution.
  • James, a car driver, was slowly driving up and down a street where prostitutes were standing. The police observed him as he was speaking with the prostitute from their car. After twenty minutes, the police stopped for violating California PC 653.22 to commit prostitution.

Actions Interpreted To Show the Defendant Intended to Engage in Prostitution

Under California Penal Code 653.22, specific actions may demonstrate someone intended to engage in prostitution. The intent will be evident once a person acts in a manner that openly reflects the purpose of enticing, inducing, or procuring another person to commit prostitution. The actions include:

  • The defendant repeatedly attempts to stop cars by waving arms, hailing drivers, making certain body gestures, trying, or engaging with passengers and conversation drivers. The law enforcement officers may interpret the conduct as soliciting to commit prostitution.
  • Repeatedly stopping, beckoning, or attempting to engage in conversations with passersby, you begin conversing with them a couple of times. The law enforcement officers will interpret the action as trying to commit prostitution.
  • Driving in circles when you are in a public place and persistently beckoning to, attempting, or trying to contact or stop pedestrians, drivers, and other road users. The law enforcement officers would interpret the action as soliciting for prostitution under California PC 653.22

Additionally, other actions may incite suspicion from the law enforcement officers that you had the purpose of committing prostitution. For example, giving a fake date of birth or fake name once questioned by the police may be evidence you intended to commit the offense. Moreover, being in the company of persons with prostitution offenses or carrying condoms may demonstrate the defendant intended to commit prostitution.

What Prosecutor Must Prove for Loitering To Commit Prostitution Crimes

Under California law, criminal crimes must fulfill specific elements before the defendant faces penalties and punishments. The law enforcement officers have the jurisdiction to arrest the defendant when they suspect them of loitering to commit prostitution. Notably, the prosecution must prove the intent for the jury to impose the punishments to the defendant. The various ways in which the prosecutor should prove the defendant violated PC 653.22 are:

You Were Arrested In a Public Area

Once you are arrested for loitering, they should also present evidence the defendant's arrest was public. Notably, public places may include alleys, parking lots, bars, and public parks.

The Law Enforcement Officers Arrested You for Loitering

The law enforcers should have arrested you for lingering without a justifiable reason.

Your Prior History For PC 653.22 Conviction

Suppose the defendant was arrested in public areas, and their previous records show they had previously engaged in prostitution for the last six months. In this case, the prosecutors will use their records as evidence for the defendant's charge.

If Your Intent was Committing Prostitution

Prostitution involves engaging in sexual activities for gifts, money, or any other favors. The California law defines sexual activity as having sexual intercourse for gratification or touching the genitals of the opposite sex. Genitals may include buttocks or backs. Therefore, the prosecution must prove whether the defendant had any intent of committing prostitution.

Penalties for Loitering to Commit Prostitution

Facing loitering to commit prostitution charges in Orange County could be confusing and stressful. However, it is crucial to hire an experienced criminal lawyer to help fight your charges.

Loitering to commit prostitution in California is a severe offense chargeable as a misdemeanor offense. The penalties for misdemeanor include:

  • A jail term of not more than six months
  • A fine not exceeding 1000 USD
  • Probation includes limitations from using public transport for a while. The transit authority gives you notice and an opportunity to dispute the order before it's affected.
  • Sex Education to The Offender. The court may order offenders to undertake classes for sex education. Sex education classes train offenders on sexually transmitted diseases and offer therapy for an evident sexual deviant character.
  • Suspension or Withdrawal of Your Professionals License. The professionals likely to have their license withdrawn include lawyers, dentists, boxers, therapists, psychologists, cosmetologists, and dentists. When convicted of loitering to commit prostitution, you need a criminal defense lawyer's assistance since your professional life is at risk.
  • Driver's License Suspension. The defendant's driver's license may be suspended when they used a car to entice, solicit, or lure a prostitute.

Other Penalties Include:

  • The court orders offenders convicted of loitering to commit prostitution to undergo mandatory HIVAIDs testing.
  • The prosecution may order the offenders to keep off specific sections in their city or town famous for prostitution activities. Additionally, they may order the offenders to avoid the notorious websites offering prostitution service.

Common Legal Defenses for Penal Code 653.22 Case

Defenses for loitering to commit prostitution could be challenging and difficult. When charged with the offense, you should seek the help of an Orange County Criminal Lawyer familiar with defending the crimes. Not everyone loitering in public areas will have the intent of engaging in prostitution. A conviction for loitering to commit prostitution may lead to terrible repercussions on your personal life and your orange county career. Luckily, you can fight back for a reduction or dismissal of your charges. Possible defenses that may apply to fight against loitering with a purpose to commit prostitution include:

Police Entrapment

Entrapment is applicable when a law enforcer induces a law-abiding individual in engaging in a crime they could otherwise not have committed. Mostly, law enforcers operating undercover make PC 653.22 violation arrests.

Entrapment may occur when a police officer acts in an overbearing way, such as using harassments, applying pressure, threats, flattery, and fraud. Therefore, once the defendant acted out of police harassment, they won’t face a conviction for loitering to commit prostitution.

Lack of Sufficient Evidence

Not everyone loitering in the public areas will be intending to engage in prostitution. However, when the law enforcement officers are in their patrol, they will look at the possible conduct to consider whether a person intends to commit prostitution.

Once the police suspect you, they have jurisdiction to arrest you as a suspect. For instance, your dressing was provocative as you were attending a party. As you waited for a cab, a passerby or someone decided to approach you. Accidentally, the police on patrol may suspect you for loitering to commit prostitution. However, with a competent lawyer, he/she may argue you were waiting for a cab or Uber when the stranger started talking to you.

No Intent to Commit Prostitution by the defendant

The prosecution must show evidence you had an intent to commit prostitution. Additionally, the prosecutor should prove you remained in the public place without any lawful reason.

It doesn't matter the prosecutor's clause in mentioning an illegal intent in your case; however, the judge needs to prove you were loitering to commit prostitution.

Not A Public Place

Under California Penal Code 653.22, you commit the crime when loitering in a public area. When the police arrest you as you were loitering on your property, the judge won't sentence you to prostitution. Public places include places like parks, bars, alleys, parking lots, or strip clubs.

Police Misconduct and Violation of Miranda

Law enforcement officers should have the authority to arrest you. For instance, when the police officers find you circling a public place with your vehicle for an extended period, the California law requires the officers to receive a search warrant with probable cause supporting it. However, during the arrest process, you have a right to remain silent.

Additionally, any search of evidence without a warrant breaks the defendant's right to privacy. Accordingly, any evidence obtained during the illegal investigation should be prohibited in your case. Other police misconduct action which might result in PC 653.22 defense are:

  • False reporting by the police
  • Officers of racial profiling
  • Using coercive strategies in obtaining confessions
  • Application of excessive force by the police
  • Failure in presenting the exculpatory discovery

Mistake of Fact

A mistake of fact defense applies when the defendant mistakenly thought or believed a fact was actual when the fact was untrue, and as a result, the offense wasn't completed. For example, suppose the defendant was loitering intending to commit what he/she thought was prostitution and lingered with a motive of engaging in what wasn't prostitution. In this case, the defendant can use the mistake of fact as their defense.

Additionally, when the defendant was loitering outside a hotel with the intent of entering the hotel to watch people engaging in prostitution. Notably, the defendant's presence at the time of the crime commission shouldn't be a crime. The defendant loitered, aiming to commit an act which isn't an offense, i.e., watching the prostitution act.

Statute Limitation

Statute limitation is the period allowed for law enforcers and prosecution teams to bring criminal charges against the defendant. In Orange County, California, the statute of limitations is one year from the defendant's arrest time. Otherwise, the prosecution doesn't have the authority to charge you after your crime commission one year.

Other Related Offenses for Loitering To Commit Prostitution

Apart from loitering to commit prostitution, other related charged crimes lead to severe penalties and punishments in California. However, each crime has different punishments and penalties. The common offenses often charged along with PC 653.22 include:

Keeping a House of Prostitution

The California laws prohibit anyone from keeping a prostitution house. Prostitution houses have a motel, massage parlor, hotel, and other businesses that encourage prostitutes to sell sexual services. In California, prostitution is referred to as a house of Ill fame or Ill repute. When found guilty of the crime, the defendant is likely to face imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months in county jail, a fine of up to 1000 USD, and probation up to three years.

Loitering to Solicit The Purchase of Alcohol

California law prohibited anyone from loitering outside alcohol-serving establishments, including bars and restaurants, intending to persuade other patrons to buy you alcohol. Sometimes, prostitutes are likely to find their customers in bars and restaurants if they initiate the transaction by inducing them to buy drinks. The crime is charged as a misdemeanor in California. Furthermore, the offense is punishable by a summary of probations, imprisonment up to six months, and a fine of 1000 USD.

Soliciting For Prostitution

Soliciting to commit prostitution is a serious offense in California. A person above eighteen years commits PC 647(b) when they offer gifts, favors, and money to exchange for sexual activities. Sometimes the prosecution tags loitering to engage in prostitute charges on solicitation of prostitution since a loitering charge is easy to establish. Additionally, you may be charged for loitering to engage in prostitution when you had a prostitution conviction in the past five years.

The defendant can face convictions for prostitution when they prove:

  • The defendant engaged in prostitution acts.
  • The defendant did so willfully and deliberately.

To be guilty of soliciting for prostitution, the prosecution should provide evidence that:

  • The defendant solicited somebody else to enhance in prostitution.
  • The defendant acted intending to engage in prostitution. Proving the intent to engage in prostitution makes it preventing the offender from facing convictions for standing infamous prostitution places. The crime is a misdemeanor which faces fines up to 1000 USD and jail time up to 6 months.

Offenders using automobiles to commit crimes may receive additional penalties, including suspension of driver's license, for a month.

Lewd Conduct in Public

Lewd conduct referred to touching your or someone else's private parts in the public intention for sexual arousal or to offend another individual. Private parts include buttocks, genitals, or female breasts. Lewd conduct is a misdemeanor. When you have a prior conviction for lewd conduct in public, you will likely face convictions for loitering for prostitution. Both violations are a misdemeanor in California. Additionally, the offense is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to 1000 USD.

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a crime involving compelling a person to provide labor services or commercial sexual acts. The coercion may be physical or psychological. Anyone depriving or violating another person's liberty to obtain forced labor or commercial sex services is guilty of human trafficking.

In California, human trafficking is considered a felony. If convicted of trafficking people to commit commercial sex, child pornography, or extortion, you Penalties include imprisonment for 8,14,20 years in California state prison and a fine up to 500000 USD. Additionally, you are required to register as a sexual offender.

Supervising or Aiding to Prostitute

Supervising refers to knowingly helping someone else engage in prostitution. The charges apply to anyone assisting another person in prostitution, including driving someone to a location where they intend to commit prostitution. The following situations act as evidence the defendant is guilty of assisting prostitutes:

  • Communicating with a prostitute repeatedly.
  • Monitoring a prostitute
  • Openly receiving money from other people engaging in prostitution.
  • Conversing with pedestrians and motorists to solicit prostitution act with a prostitute.

A conviction Under California law would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and possible loss of professional licensure when the offense occurred in the workplace.

Is Loitering for Prostitution Eligible for Expungement

Expungement is also referred to as charge dismissal. Loitering for prostitution is eligible for expungement after completing probation. However, expungement doesn't erase the defendant's criminal record through any member of the general public will see they have no criminal record. Members of the general public include landlords, private employers, and anyone else not associated with the government.

The misdemeanor conviction doesn't have the stigma of a felony. Therefore, you qualify for public benefits, including lending apartments and receiving employment. However, if you have a prior misdemeanor conviction or subsequent conviction, you may be charged with a felony.

Find a Criminal Lawyer Near Me

Loitering to commit prostitution attracts severe penalties, including fines, prison, and jail terms, suspension of driver's license, among others. When you or your loved one are arrested for loitering to commit a prostitution offense in Orange County, it would be best to search for a competent lawyer to help fight the charges. At Orange County Criminal Lawyer, we will help build strong defenses leading to a reduction or dismissal of the charges. Call us at 714-262-4833 for a free consultation and case review.