Shows like The Deuce and movies like American Pimp or even Pretty Women tend to depict prostitutes as either strong independent women who can stand up against the violent pimps or as victims of violent pimps who beat, rape and drug them. But in actuality, while there are violent pimps who manipulate and abuse women, the legal definition of pimping and pandering still includes people who are absolutely nothing like the stereotype. When it comes to understanding the true scope of pimping and pandering under California law, it’s best to talk to an expert, like Oceanside sex crimes attorney Peter M. Liss.
What is Pimping and Pandering?
So if it doesn’t necessarily include violence and abuse, then what is pimping and pandering exactly? Well, to start with, pimping and pandering are two different crimes in California although they are often charged together. Pimping is defined as receiving or attempting to receive compensation in exchange for helping a prostitute find customers or knowingly receiving some kind of financial support or maintenance from a prostitute. In other words, if you helped a prostitute set up a website to attract clients or if you take 10% of a prostitute’s earnings in exchange for letting her rent a room from your home, you have worked as a pimp, even if you never did anything remotely similar to what you’ve seen pimps on TV do.
Pandering is a similar crime, but instead of working with someone who is a prostitute, it involves encouraging or convincing someone to become or remain a prostitute. This could involve forcing someone through threats or violence, drugging someone, lying to someone, or it could involve being honest and straight forward with someone about how you believe prostitution could improve their current situation. For example, a pimp who gets someone addicted to heroin and tells her he will keep giving her drugs if she works as a prostitute for him is guilty of pandering, but so is an “escort” who tells one of her friends who is down on her luck that the house she is working at is looking for another escort and that her friend could make enough money to pay off her bills if she worked there. In fact, anyone who provides employment to prostitutes, whether it’s an escort agency, pimp or house of prostitution, could technically be charged with pandering for telling anyone positive benefits about working as a prostitute.
Consequences of Pimping and Pandering
Both pimping and pandering are felony crimes punishable by up to six years in prison. If the prostitute in question was under 18 though, the maximum sentence jumps to eight years and while these two charges normally do not require registration as a sex offender, Oceanside sex crime attorneys warn that those accused of pimping or pandering someone under 18 must register as a sex offender upon release from prison.
Fighting the Charges
Fortunately, it is possible to fight these charges. Firstly, you must know that what you have been doing involves prostitution. For example, if you’re renting a room to someone who gives you 10% of her earnings, but you think she’s a stripper, you are not guilty of pimping. Similarly, if you’ve been recruiting people to work as escorts, but you thought the position involved legitimate escort services which do not involve the exchange of sexual services for money, then you aren’t guilty of pandering.
Additionally, there must be enough evidence to prove that you are guilty. If someone simply accuses you of drugging her and forcing her to have sex but there is no other evidence to prove your guilt, you might be able to argue that she has been falsely accusing you because she has a personal vendetta against you related to something else. The D.A. will typically seize the computers and electronic items of the defendant to see if there is a text or email connection to the women allegedly being prostituted. Even if there is nothing conclusive in your computer or phone, it is very easy to say something that can destroy a defense of lack of knowledge or false accusations though, which is why it is so important that you do not talk to the police without an Oceanside pimping and pandering lawyer present.
If you have been accused of either of these very serious charges, Oceanside pimping defense attorney Peter M. Liss can help you fight the charges. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.