Relief from Conviction of the Now-Repealed Loitering with Intent to Commit Prostitution
The newly approved SB 357 now makes it possible to petition the court to dismiss, seal, or resentence your case if you've been convicted of loitering with intent to commit prostitution.
The bill makes this possible by repealing Penal Code PC 653.22 which read as follows:
653.22. (a) (1) … it is unlawful for any person to loiter in any public place with the intent to commit prostitution. This intent is evidenced by acting in a manner and under circumstances that openly demonstrate the purpose of inducing, enticing, or soliciting prostitution, or procuring another to commit prostitution.
Based on this law, you didn't actually have to engage in an act of prostitution to commit an offense. An arrest was based on the observation of the police officer. If you acted in a manner likely to indicate you are a prostitute, the officer could arrest you.
For example, you only had to commit acts such as the following to get arrested:
- Walk back and forth in a deserted street while beckoning to male drivers to stop
- Loiter an area known for prostitution in the company of a woman with prostitution arrests in her record
Loitering with intent to commit prostitution was charged as a misdemeanor crime whose punishment was a 6-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.
The newly added PC 653.29 makes it possible to seek a dismissal of a PC 653.22 case if you've been charged with such a crime. You can also seek a record seal for past convictions under PC 653.22.More Details about PC 653.29
Below are the details of PC 653.29:
(a)(1): A person currently serving a sentence for a conviction of violating former Section 653.22, whether by trial or by open or negotiated plea, may petition for a recall or dismissal of sentence before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in the case to request resentencing or dismissal, and sealing, as applicable.
(a)(2): Upon receiving a petition under paragraph (1), the court shall presume the petitioner satisfies the criteria in paragraph (1) unless the party opposing the petition proves by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner does not satisfy the criteria. If the petitioner satisfies the criteria in paragraph (1), the court shall grant the petition to recall the sentence or dismiss the sentence because it is legally invalid and shall seal the conviction as legally invalid.
(b)(1): A person who has completed their sentence for a conviction of violating Section 653.22, whether by trial or open or negotiated plea, may file an application before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in their case to have the conviction dismissed and sealed because the prior conviction is now legally invalid.
(b)(2): The court shall presume the petitioner satisfies the criteria in paragraph (1) unless the party opposing the application proves by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner does not satisfy the criteria in paragraph (1). Once the applicant satisfies the criteria in paragraph (1), the court shall seal the conviction as legally invalid.
(c): Unless requested by the applicant, no hearing is necessary to grant or deny an application filed under subdivision (b).
(d): If the court that originally sentenced the petitioner is not available, the presiding judge shall designate another judge to rule on the petition or application.How These New Laws Affect You
As things now stand, loitering with intent to commit prostitution is not a criminal offense. Note however that committing prostitution is a crime.
If you haven't been arraigned (brought before the court), or are currently being prosecuted for loitering with intent to commit prostitution, your attorney should petition the court on your behalf to dismiss your case in the interest of justice.