One of the biggest arguments used by both those against pornography and those in favor of legalized prostitution is that it is illegal to pay someone for sex, but as long as you film it, it becomes a porno and is then legal. So, is this entirely true? Can you hire a prostitute, film the encounter and then avoid the risk of being charged for solicitation? Or, could a prostitute set up a camera in her room and avoid any legal convictions? Here’s what Vista criminal attorney Peter M. Liss has to say on the matter.
First, the base logic behind this argument is sound. It is legal to film pornographic material in San Diego, though prostitution is illegal. The courts have upheld this opinion since it was first established in the 1987 case of California vs. Freeman, where the state accused pornographic film producer Harold Freeman with pimping. Because putting something on film brings into question the matter of free speech, the judges concluded that as long as the film was not being made for the purpose of pleasuring the director or the actors, and thus, did not involve prostitution.
On the other hand, a Vista criminal lawyer will advise you that merely hiring a prostitute off the street, filming the encounter and then claiming you were making a porno will not clear you from any risk of prostitution charges. The biggest thing preventing anyone and everyone interested in prostitution from merely placing a camera in front of them while they have sex is that pornographic films have a number of laws they must follow in order to comply with the law. You may need a business license, you will need the consent of all people who appear on camera, you need sufficent paperwork to prove that anyone on camera was over 18 and you need to show that all the people performing in the film were tested for STDs within the last 30 days.
If you fail to follow these laws, you could still be charged with prostitution as the prosecution may show you only filmed the act to attempt to skirt the law and had no intent to make an adult film or to express your first ammendment rights. You could also be charged with breaking these laws as well. In fact, if you didn’t tell the other party that you were filming the encounter, you could even be charged with wiretapping, which can be a felony crime. While you don’t want to get charged with prostitution or solicitation, getting charged with wiretapping and prostitution is a whole lot worse. That’s why you should always consult with a Vista criminal lawyer when you want to do something and you aren’t sure if it could be considered illegal.
Remember, it’s a lot easier to discuss something with your Vista defense attorney before you break the law than it is to fight criminal charges after they have been filed. If you have any questions, you can always call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of the top sex crime defense lawyers in Vista.