What Must Be Proven for a Pimping and Pandering Conviction?

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingApr 07, 2022

What do prosecutors have to prove to convict someone of California Penal Code 266h and 266i PC pimping and pandering? First, while these are technically two separate crimes, pimping and pandering go hand in hand. 

What you're talking about is an individual charged with a crime where they are in charge of a victim who is having sex for money or performing some sexual act for money. 

The law is now set up to convict people profiting from prostitutes making money.  So, the person doesn't have to be your stereotypical pimp where they're hitting the women, threatening them, or acting violently towards them.

Pimping and Pandering Laws – Penal Code 266(h) and 266(i) PC

Indeed, those cases are still being prosecuted, but there are also cases where the defendant plays a different role but is still collecting money. For example, the defendant is driving the woman to her prostitution activities and acting as a lookout to make sure the person is okay. 

If they collect a fee for that, that will fall under pimping and pandering.  So, that person would be looking at three years in prison. This whole concept that the person has to be the stereotypical pimp is wrong, and that's where a lot of people get confused and get themselves wrapped up in a pimping and pandering situation.

They can't figure out why they're being charged and are trying to fight their role in the offense and saying, look, all I did was this.  I didn't know this.  I didn't know that.  I didn't do this. 

When, in reality, if you are involved with someone who is having sex for money (whether underage or of age) and you're profiting from that and you're aiding and abetting, or you're helping that person, or you're in charge of that person, you're going to be prosecuted. Our California sex crime defense lawyers will review it in more detail below.

Pimping and Pandering Laws – Penal Code 266(h) and 266(i) PC

Pimping and pandering in California are serious felony crimes. Put simply, it's the illegal trafficking of people for commercial sex acts, which means exchanging money for sex, i.e., prostitution. Pimping is covered under Penal Code 266(h), while pandering is 266(i). They are two separate offenses but are closely related; defendants are usually charged with both statutes.

What's the difference between the two laws? Pimping laws deals with the issue of somebody receiving the earnings of a prostitute. Pandering laws deals with the issues of somebody persuading another person to either become or remain a prostitute.

Pimping in California - Penal Code 266h PC

Receiving money is not usually a factor in a pandering crime. Instead, it involves the crucial issue of convincing or persuasion, similar to being a recruiter for prostitutes. PC 266i pandering essentially focuses on the defendant's role in encouraging someone to become a prostitute. Pimping, on the other hand, is the crime of receiving all or part of the proceeds of a prostitute's work earnings.  

Force, fear, or coercion aren't required under the legal definition of pimping. Further, it's also not required that the “pimp” set's up the dates for the prostitute, who is called a “john.” Receiving the money from their work is sufficient to be arrested, charged, and convicted of PC 266h pimping. An interesting note about a pimping and pandering conviction in California. If the case doesn't involve a minor, the penalties:

  • Don't include a “strike” under the three-strikes law, and
  • Don't include a requirement to register as a sex offender.

However, any state prison sentence will usually be served in prison rather than a county jail, where many people end up doing their sentence after a conviction.   

What Are the Related California Crimes?

There are several related California crimes for pimping and pandering that could be charged in addition to, or instead of, the original offense, including:

  • Penal Code 236.1 PC – human trafficking,
  • Penal Code 272 PC - contributing to the delinquency of a minor,
  • Penal Code 647(a) PC – lewd acts in public,
  • Penal Code 647(b) PC – solicitation of prostitution,
  • Penal Code 653.22PC – loitering for prostitution,
  • Penal Code 653.23 PC - supervising or aiding a prostitute.

What Type of Evidence Are Prosecutors Seeking?

The types of evidence that the prosecutors and police are looking for, they're going to get your phone and go in it to check to see whether you are having the type of communications that are consistent with somebody who is a pimp, such as: 

  • You're helping to set up advertisements so the person can get their johns and charge money;
  • You're helping drive the person around;
  • You are helping to set up the dates;
  • You are present when the person is engaging in prostitution activities, to pick them up, to make sure they're protected, make sure they're safe; and
  • The biggest thing is that you're collecting some of the money.

You don't have to be collecting all of the money.  A percentage of the money will be enough to support the charge of pimping and pandering. So, when we're evaluating what has to be proved, I've given you an idea of what that is, but I think it will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  We have you come in.  We get your side of the story.

Criminal Defense Lawyers California

Then obviously, I need the other side of the story.  What evidence did the police have to support this allegation of pimping and pandering against you?  Often, they will get a statement from the woman that's involved.

Sometimes that woman will want to change their statement later, and, in reality, even if they do change their statement, they're still going to get the original statement in through the police. This is because the police are going to say, when I talked to the person, this is what they told me, and then the prosecutors will argue to a potential jury, well, of course, this person is changing their story because they want to try to help their pimp. 

So, you have to bear that in mind when you're assessing the case on how it will play out in the future as you're thinking about whether or not you're going to fight the case, take it to a jury trial, or do you want your attorney to work out some deal for you.

Often, defendants will initially approach an undercover female police officer thinking that they're a prostitute. They attempt to engage in sexual activity, trying to pay them money in exchange for sex. 

How Can the Hedding Law Firm Help You?

I will give you the straight information about what needs to be proved in your particular case to get you for pimping or pandering, whether or not it's a good idea to go to trial and what type of outcomes you might be facing if you go to trial versus working out some resolution with the prosecutors, such as a plea bargain.

So, suppose you or a loved one is charged with pimping and pandering. In that case, the best thing to do is to sit down with somebody like me, who's been doing this for 30 years, and we can get the facts and details from you about your case so that I can evaluate where you stand, what type of moves you need to make so that you can end up with the best possible resolution. 

So, pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County and represents people throughout Southern California. We offer a free case review by phone, or you can fill out our contact form.

Related: Disadvantages to Pleading Guilty