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Repealed. Loitering with Intent to Commit Prostitution (PC 653.20)

SB357 is a California Senate Bill that repeals PC 653.20 and 653.22.

The bill was approved on July 1st 2022, effectively making the Penal Code's provisions relating to loitering with intent to commit prostitution no longer valid.

Before SB357, loitering with intent to commit prostitution, or aiding an act or prostitution was a misdemeanor offence under PC 653.23. The threshold for proving the commission of this crime was quite low.

This, unfortunately, landed a lot of people in jail because the previous law did not require officers to catch you directly engaging in prostitution.

Merely walking back and forth on a street, approaching cars to converse with its male occupants, or being in an area known for prostitution while wearing revealing clothing were all cause for arrest.

The provisions of PC653.20 and PC 653.22 also applied to minors, meaning that anyone who is underage could get arrested in a "prostitution zone" whether or not they were committing a sexual act.

With the repeal, if you have previously been convicted of this crime, you can petition the court for a dismissal, resentencing or to seal the case, under the new Section 653.29 (also enacted by SB357.

After the repeal: The New PC 653.22

The new provisions under PC653.22 following the repeal are as follows:

  • Loitering in a public place with intent to commit prostitution is unlawful.
  • Intent to commit prostitution refers to any behavior and circumstances that clearly show that a person is enticing, inducing or soliciting prostitution, or procuring clients for another person to commit prostitution.
  • Anyone under the age of 18 who is found loitering with intent to commit prostitution shall not be convicted under PC 653.22, but will instead be taken into juvenile custody as a dependent child. The conditions for such detention must permit detention without a warrant.

Below are examples of behavior that could be considered as intent:

  • Repeatedly beckoning, stopping, or engaging passersby or attempting to stop or engage passerby in conversation to solicit for prostitution
  • Repeatedly hailing motorists by waving arms or using other gestures in an attempt to stop motorists to solicit for prostitution
  • Circling an area in a car while repeatedly beckoning to passersby and motorists or trying to stop or contact them in a manner indicative of soliciting for prostitution

Previous arrest and conviction record is also taken into account when determining intent as follows:

  • If, within the last five years, you have been convicted of prostitution under this penal code, or of any other prostitution-related offence, or of lewd conduct under California Penal Code Section 647(a) or (b) PC
  • If, in the last six months, you have engaged in any of the of the behavior considered indicative of soliciting for prostitution
Other amendments by SB 357

SB 357 also amends the following laws relating to prostitution and sexual offences. The amendments are as follows:

EC 782.1. Possessing a condom will not be considered evidence when prosecuting cases involving loitering with intent to commit prostitution.

PC 647.3. If you report being a victim of, or a witness to a felony, assault, extortion, human trafficking, sexual battery, or stalking, you will not be arrested for a crime of prostitution under section 653.22, if the crime you were a victim or witness to is related to the offence of prostitution.

PC 653.23. Directing, supervising, recruiting, or aiding someone in the commission of lewd acts in violation of section 647 is a crime. It is also a crime to collect proceeds from a person committing such acts.

PC 1203.47. A minor can, upon turning 18 years old, petition the court to seal their record of committing a lewd act or an act of prostitution.

WI 18259. The District Attorney of the County of Alameda, in collaboration with the county child welfare agency, county probation, sheriff, and community-based agencies, should develop protocols for identifying and assessing minors upon arrest or detention, and training programs for all workforce in the multi-disciplinary teams that work with victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

WI 18259.3. A person under the age of 18 will be presumed to be a commercially exploited minor if arrested for allegedly violating Section 647 (a) or (b), or Section 653.22, or if there is a petition for the minor to be adjudged a dependent of the court.

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