Pimping and Pandering

What is Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and Penal Code Penal Code 266(i) Pandering?

In California, Pimping and Pandering are classified as two different crimes.  However, it is not uncommon to be charged with both Pimping and Pandering at the same time.

California’s prohibition against Pimping is codified in the law books in Penal Code 266(h).  In short, California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping prohibits obtaining money or other forms of compensation from the earnings of another person through their engagement in the act of prostitution.  Additionally, California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping also prohibits obtaining compensation for helping a prostitute find customers.  We thoroughly go over the legal definition of California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping below.  This will give you a better understanding of the important issues and nuances of California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping.

California’s prohibitions against Pandering is codified in the law books as Penal Code 266(i) Pandering.  In short, California Penal Code 266(i) prohibits recruiting another person to be a prostitute or moving a prostitute across state lines for the purpose of committing prostitution. We thoroughly go over the legal definition of California Penal Code 266(h) Pandering below.  This will give you a better understanding of the important issues and nuances of California Penal Code 266(h) Pandering.

As we go through the legal definition of both of these laws, keep in mind that you cannot be found guilty through a trial, where the verdict is decided by a judge or jury, if the prosecutor cannot prove that your case meets all of the elements of the particular sex crime you are charged with.  An element is simply a fact associated with a particular crime.  Every element needs to be proven up to a certain level of certainty.  For a California sex crime, the level of certainty required is “beyond a reasonable doubt”.  If even one element cannot be proven, the charges against you must be dropped.  However, the requirement that all of the elements must be proven by the prosecutor in order to be convicted does not apply to outside of trial.  You can still be convicted of either of these sex crimes if you accept a plea offer or formally confess.

What is the legal definition of California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping?

  • The elements for California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping are as follows:
  • You had knowledge that the person you were dealing with was a prostitute.
    The compensation earned by the prostitute supported you either wholly or party OR Money that was advanced to someone who runs a brothel supported you either wholly or partly OR You requested or obtained compensation for finding customers for the prostitute.

Let us now explore the individual aspects of the elements of California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping.  The nuances contained within these elements will likely become central issues throughout the stages of your criminal prosecution.

Knowledge

You cannot be convicted under California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping if you did not have knowledge that the person you were dealing with was a prostitute.  Hence, if you did not know that the person you were dealing with was a prostitute, you are not liable under California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping.  Additionally, if you had a feeling but were unsure that the person you were dealing with was a prostitute, you cannot be convicted under California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping.  It does not matter if a reasonable person would have known or that you should have known.  Actual knowledge is required for this aspect of California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping.

Prostitute

According to California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping, a prostitute is considered a person who participates in sex intercourse or a lewd act with another person for money or other forms of payment.   A lewd act is one that involves physically touching the private parts (either of the prostitute themself, a customer, or another person) with the desire to sexually arouse or gratify.

Supported by a Prostitute’s Compensation

This aspect of California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping is surprising to many people because they think you can only be charged with this crime if you actively participated in arranging a prostitution exchange.  However, you can be charged and convicted with California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping even if you only were financially supported from the compensation earned from an act of prostitution.  However, it is important to remember that you can only be convicted of a California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping violation if you had knowledge that the person who supported you was a prostitute.  Hence, if you did not know they were a prostitute, then you are not liable under California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping.

Requested or Obtained Compensation for Finding Customers

This aspect of California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping is most consistent with what people generally consider to be “pimping”.  You are liable under California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping if you requested or obtained compensation for finding customers for a prostitute.   Now, this aspect of the law applies well beyond “pimps” on the street.  This is the aspect of California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping that prosecutors apply to brothel madams or even massage parlor owners.

Legal Definition of California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering

Remember, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements of a sex crime before you can be convicted in a trial, where a judge or a jury decides the verdict.  The elements of California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering are as follows:

  • You committed one of the following acts:
    • You persuaded or acquired another person to become a prostitute.
    • You promised, threatened, schemed, persuaded, encouraged, or induced another person to be a prostitute.
    • You arranged for another person to become a prostitute in a brothel (or any place for prostitution is urged or permitted).
    • You promised, threatened, schemed, threatened, persuaded, encouraged, or induced another person to continue on being a prostitute.
    • You defrauded, tricked, threatened, or abused an authoritative or trusted position in order to convince or acquire another person to become a prostitute, or to proceed into a place where prostitution is urged or permitted, or to enter into or exit out of California with the intent to commit an act of prostitution.
    • You received, gave, or contracted to obtain or pay some sort of compensation in return for convincing or acquiring (or attempting to do so), another person to become a prostitute or to enter into or exit out of the state of California with the intent to commit an act of prostitution.
  • You intended to convince that person to become a prostitute or to stay a prostitute.

You are not liable under California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering if you tried to convince another person to commit a sexual act with you for some sort of compensation.  California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering applies only to the recruiting or convincing of another person to commit an act of prostitution with another person.  It is not uncommon for strip club owners to be charged with California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering.

What are the potential punishments under California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering?

California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering are both classified as felonies.  The potential punishments include any and possibly all of the following: anywhere between 3-6 years in a California state prison, a fine up to $10,000, and/or formal probation.

In addition, the judge has the discretion to tack on an additional $5,000 fine.  The judge makes this decision based on the specific facts of your particular pimping or pandering violation, what kind of financial gain you earned from the pimping or pandering, and how much the victim suffered from your actions.

California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering a Minor

The punishments for pimping or pandering a minor are more severe.  If the minor is someone under 18 years of age, then you will be required to register as a sex offender for your entire life.  Under California’s sex offender registry laws, you will be required to register with the state’s authorities each year and anytime you change addresses.  This is the case even after you complete all your other punishments, including prison time and probation, because it is a lifetime requirement.  If you do not register as required, then you could be charged with a felony for failing to follow California’s sex offender registry requirements.  Note that you would be required to register as a Tier 3 sex offender.

If your California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping or California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering violation involves a minor who is under 16 years of age, then your potential prison punishment could go up to 8 years in a state prison.


California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and California Penal Code 266(i) differs from other sex crimes in that you are subject to increased punishments even if you honestly believed the involved person was over the age of 18.  Hence, it does not matter if you believed you were pimping or pandering out an adult.  You are subject to the increased punishments regardless of what you thought the involved person’s age was.  This differs from other sex crimes where you could avoid a conviction if you actually believed that the alleged victim was an adult, even in reality they were under the age of 18 years.

California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering a Minor and Trafficking Regulations

 California recently passed Proposition 35, which had the effect of subjecting Penal Code 266(i) violations involving a minor to the state’s trafficking regulations.  Hence, if you caused, induced, or persuaded someone under the age of 18 to participate in a prostitution act, with the intent to do so, then you could also be convicted of human trafficking.  The potential punishments for human trafficking are more severe than under California Penal Code266(i) Pandering.

California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and California Penal Code 266(i) and Immigration

Federal authorities consider California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering to be “crimes of moral turpitude”.  Thus, if you are not a U.S. citizen, a conviction under either of these laws could have severe immigration consequences.  This is the case even if you are in the United States legally.  A conviction under either of these laws could prevent you from entering the United States after leaving, becoming a U.S. a citizen, or getting a green card.  Additionally, a crime of moral turpitude could result in you becoming deported.  However, this usually occurs only if your particular offense had aggravated circumstances or you have multiple crimes of moral turpitude on your criminal record.

California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering and Gang Enhancement

If your California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering violation was committed for the gain of a street gang, at the order of a street gang, or in conjunction with a street gang – then you could be subject to California’s gang sentencing enhancement pursuant to Penal Code 186.22 PC.  This means that in addition to the baseline punishment you receive for violation of either of the laws, you could also receive an additional 2-4 years in state prison.  Note, that in order to be subject you to the gang-sentencing enhancement, the prosecutor must prove that you specifically intended to build up or help a street gang when committing the California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping or California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering violation.

What legal defenses are available for fighting either California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping or California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering?

The potential punishments for California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping and California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering can be quite severe.  However, there are many available defenses to combat charges of both these crimes.  An experienced Sex Crime Attorney can review the specific circumstances of your crime and discuss with you the available defenses that apply to your case.  Below, we discuss some of the more common legal defenses available to fight both of these charges.  But make sure to talk to your Sex Crime Attorney to learn about all the legal defenses that might be available in your particular situation.

Entrapment

It is not unusual for police officers to stage an undercover operation that induces a defendant into committing a criminal act.  If this type of situation applies to you, then you might be eligible for the legal defense of entrapment.

Entrapment occurs when the police convince you to act in such a way that results in “pimping” or “pandering”.  But for the entrapment defense to apply, the police cannot simply just convince you.  They must convince you by either pressuring, harassing, defrauding, threatening, or even overly complimenting you.

Even if your situation does not meet the complete legal requirements of entrapment, your Sex Crime Attorney can leverage the entrapment defense to reduce charges – hopefully to an offense that does not carry any sex offender registration requirements.

Falsely Accusations

It is not uncommon to be falsely accused of pimping or pandering.  False accusations are particularly common in cases where the defendant was involved in a romantic partnership with a prostitute.  It is possible the prostitute is trying to reduce their own criminal charges or they are trying to get revenge.  Or they might be trying to get a leg up in an upcoming divorce or custody hearing.  These type of cases typically turn into a she said, he said situation.  This is good news for you because the only witness may be your accuser.  Without more evidence, it would be difficult for a prosecutor to convict you.  However, the bad news is that typically juries will not give you the benefit of the doubt.  To tilt the evidentiary record in your favor, your Sex Crime Attorney can hire a private investigator to interview witnesses that could speak favorably on your behalf.  Your Sex Crime Attorney can subpoena the victim’s social media accounts, text messages, emails, phone records, and even their professional or academic records.  By doing this, your Sex Crime Attorney can catch the alleged victim in a lie or show that they are not trustworthy.

The key in false accusation cases is that your Sex Crime Attorney use all the substantive and procedural legal tools available to tilt the evidentiary record in your favor so that the alleged victim’s story becomes less reliable and believable.

What should you do if you are charged with either California Penal Code 266(h) Pimping or California Penal Code 266(i) Pandering?

If you are charged with either pimping or pandering, it is crucial that you hire an experienced and diligent Sex Crime Attorney.  The earlier you do so, the better chances you will have fight the charges.  First off, because your Sex Crime Attorney may be able to get the charges dropped before you are formally charged in court.  Secondly, your Sex Crime Attorney can begin the process of introducing favorable evidence that is admissible in the court record.  This is especially important because the police and prosecutors are so focused on convicted and punishing you, they often do not take the time to look into the truth of a situation.  Without a zealous Sex Crime Attorney, the evidentiary record will be heavily tilted against you and it will be very difficult to avoid severe punishments.

Call one of our Sex Crime Attorney today for a free consultation.  They will be happy to discuss with you the important issues that will come up in your case, the potential punishments, and any available legal defenses.

Call 424-835-9799.