Penal Code 266h and 266i PC - Pimping and Pandering in California

Pimping and pandering in California are separate felony offenses but are typically charged together as they are closely related. Both cover illegal commercial sex trafficking, which is exchanging money or something of value for sex, a form of prostitution.

Pimping and Pandering in California - Penal Code 266h and 266i PC

Penal Code 266h PC prohibits pimping, described as acquiring any support or revenue from someone's work as a prostitute. This would include managing a brothel or giving protection or services to a prostitute for a share of their earnings.

PC 266h says, “any person who, knowing another person is a prostitute, lives or derives support or maintenance in whole or in part from the earnings or proceeds of the person's prostitution, or from money loaned or advanced to or charged against that person by any keeper or manager or inmate of a house or other place where prostitution is practiced or allowed, or who solicits or receives compensation for soliciting for the person, is guilty of pimping”

Penal Code 266i PC defines pandering as attempting to influence someone to become, or remain, a prostitute.

PC 266i says, “any person who does any of the following is guilty of pandering, (1) Procures another person for the purpose of prostitution. (2) By promises, threats, violence, or by any scheme, causes, induces, persuades, or encourages someone to become a prostitute. (3) Procures for another person a place as an inmate in a house of prostitution…  (4) Encourages an inmate of a house of prostitution... (5) By fraud or artifice, or by duress of person or goods, or by abuse of any position of confidence or authority, procures someone prostitution... (6) Receives or gives, or agrees to receive or give, any money or thing of value for prostitution.”

Simply put, pimping is related to someone receiving the earnings of a prostitute, while pandering is related to someone persuading another person to either become or remain a prostitute. Let's review this law further below.

Why Are So Many People Getting Arrested?

It's one of the more commonly charged sex crimes in America.  Across the country, including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Santa Barbara counties, pimping and pandering is huge as far as arrests and people being sent to prison. 

It's basically the authorities trying to protect women and minors because many of the individuals being prostituted are minors, and the government is coming in and arresting individuals involved in these cases.

Why Are So Many People Getting Arrested for Pimping and Pandering?

One huge issue I see is that many people are being entrapped into getting charged with pimping and pandering. They'll come up to women on the street that they think is a prostitute and start shooting their mouths off.

They say a bunch of things that make them sound like they're big-time pimps, and they're going to make all of this money from the potential victim prostitute, not realizing the person they're talking to is an undercover female police officer.  A lot of times, these conversations are tape-recorded, and thereafter, the person is arrested and they're charged with pimping and pandering. 

They come into my office claiming they're not a pimp. They didn't pander to anybody, and they didn't understand why they were arrested. The problem is, don't go to areas where prostitutes frequent.  Don't talk to prostitutes, and don't make comments that make it sound like you're a pimp. 

That's why people are getting in trouble over and over again and facing a minimum of three years in prison because that's exactly what you get if you are convicted for pimping and pandering. We can try to differentiate you from a true pimp who would take all the prostitute's money, threaten them, use violence against them, and basically force them into a life where they're selling their body for sex. 

They don't get any of the money. These are the types of pimps that typically the judges and prosecutors want to put away for a long time versus someone who might be classified as a Romeo pimp who is nice to the prostitute involved.  Sometimes it's even their girlfriend.  But you have to realize there is a range of people who can be charged with pimping and pandering.  It's not just the dangerous pimp that the prosecutors and police are going after in today's modern society. 

If you're involved with someone who is underage, you're facing many years in prison.  You're facing a lifetime of sex registration.  You better get the best attorney.  Immediately be honest with that attorney. 

Mistakes Made in Pimping and Pandering Cases

There are some common mistakes people make when being arrested for pimping and pandering, which is a severe charge. You are facing a minimum of three years in prison, and it could be more depending on your criminal record and other factors that might be involved with your case.

One common mistake I see people make is going with the public defender, not communicating with that person, hoping that they get some good resolution, and then, when things don't work out, trying to bring on a private defense attorney.  So, the first thing I would say is to hire an attorney right away – someone you feel comfortable with – and don't wait, trying to be cheap and end up with a bad result.

The next problem is that people get caught talking to the police, giving information, and thinking they can talk their way out of a case. All they do is end up helping the prosecutors prove the case by the police, either getting good information from them or lying about what they said.  Just don't talk to the police about your case.  

Of course, some things that you see people do that are not helpful is have conversations on their phone with those individuals who are being claimed to be the prostitutes that they are involved with.  That evidence is like poison in a pimping and pandering case, where somebody is talking and giving the exact information that the prosecutors need.

You don't want to have any communication on your phone with anybody that the police or prosecutors can claim is a prostitute.  Sometimes this is a foregone conclusion.  You've already been arrested.  The police have confiscated your phone and will use that evidence against you. 

The key, though, is to get an attorney right away.  Don't do or say anything that puts you in a worse position.  Reaching out to the alleged prostitutes while the case is pending would be a foolish move and would not be helpful if the prosecutors found out about it and were able to use that information against them. 

What Does the Law Say?

As noted, PC 266h pimping is defined as receiving all or part of the proceeds of someone's work as a prostitute.

Pimping and Pandering Law in California

Notably, force, fear, or coercion is not required under the definition of pimping. This means that someone is guilty of pimping if they have a friend who is a prostitute who voluntarily shares their earnings with them.   

Pimping does not require that the perpetrator set up the prostitute's dates or communicate with the customers. The prostitute can run their operation entirely, but if they share proceeds with the pimp, they violate PC 266h.

As noted, PC 266i pandering focuses on the perpetrator's role in encouraging someone to become or remain a prostitute. Even if the perpetrator receives no compensation, they can still be guilty under PC 266i, provided they encouraged or enticed prostitution activity to occur. 

Notably, the encouragement can be violent, fraudulent, or completely non-violent and only consist of verbal encouragement. Prosecutors must prove certain factors to secure a conviction.

What Are the Penalties?

Both pimping and pandering are a felony under California law and carry the following penalties: 

  • Up to six years in state prison;
  • A fine of up to $10,000;
  • Formal felony probation.

Notably, if you're convicted of pimping, pandering, or both, it is a mandatory minimum 3-year prison sentence.

If the victim is a minor under 18, the penalties include up to eight years in prison and a mandatory requirement to register as a sex offender for life under Penal Code 290 PC.

What Are the Related Crimes?

Several California statutes are related to PC 266h and PC 266i pimping and pandering, including the following:

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

What are the Best Defenses?

If you or a loved one is charged with pimping or pandering, you want to get an experienced California criminal defense attorney immediately. Some of the common defenses include the following:

  • Lack of intent to persuade;
  • False allegation;
  • Police entrapment;

Perhaps we can argue that you did not know the earnings you received were from prostitution activity. Maybe we can say that you are not the person's pimp. We can possibly get a charge other than pimping and pandering and work out a probationary resolution.

Defenses for Pimping and Pandering

Maybe they were operating on their own, or they had another pimp.  Many prostitutes create advertisements on social media platforms, collect money, and do not have a pimp. Since the police often perceive them as victims, they're always trying to get somebody else as their pimp so that they can charge and convict that person.

A lot of other cases I see are people who are going as johns trying to hook up with the prostitute, and then the police officer posing as a prostitute persuades them into becoming a pimp.

They start asking them questions about themselves, asking them whether or not they could help them out and help them collect their money, split the profit, or take all of the profit. They are trying to bait them into becoming a pimp so they can be arrested and charged with a more severe charge than solicitation of prostitution.

This is called police entrapment. Perhaps police used pressure, fraud, harassment, or threats that convinced you to commit a crime. Then, maybe we can argue that you were wrongfully arrested and falsely accused.

So, if you fell prey to one of these scenarios or a loved one is charged with pimping and pandering, I suggest picking up the phone now and asking for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  If the person is in custody, I can visit them.  Once I'm retained on the case, I will get the discovery, go through it, and then meet with the person and go through everything if they're out of custody. 

So, pick up the phone now if you need the best criminal defense attorney for handling pimping and pandering cases.  We offer a free case evaluation by phone or through the contact form. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, California.

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