California Penal Code 266i outlines the crime of pandering. Laypeople lump this crime together with pimping, but the two share some differences. Pandering has several aspects, but it involves a person furnishing a sex worker for another person or convincing someone to remain a sex worker.
Pandering is a severe crime, and you can find yourself facing years of jail time with a successful conviction. When facing harsh criminal prosecution, you need a Los Angeles pandering charges lawyer to help you with your case. An experienced Los Angeles attorney can help you mount an effective criminal defense and may even be able to help you avoid jail time.
James E. Silverstein has over 20 years of experience working in the legal field and has handled thousands of cases. He’s been a 40-year resident of California and knows its laws inside and out. Mr. Silverstein studied for his undergraduate at California State University and then got his law degree at the Glendale University College of Law.
Since starting his practice, Mr. Silverstein has received the award as a top 100 trial lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers. He provides criminal defense for domestic violence, DUI, and sex crimes, among others. The Law Offices of James E. Silverstein can effectively handle any pandering allegations.
Pandering is becoming a common sex crime in Los Angeles, and the public closely links it with pimping. The two crimes are similar but have a slight deviation.
The California Penal Code 266i discusses pandering, while the code discusses pimping in 266h. Pandering comes in two varieties: attempting to procure a sex worker for someone or using threats or other means to convince someone to become or remain a sex worker.
As an example of the first variety, suppose a man is on the street when a person approaches him. The stranger asks the man if he knows where he can find someone for sex. The man excuses himself and brings back a sex worker for the stranger. This scenario is a textbook example of pandering.
There is a small detail that makes this crime different from pimping, as outlined in California Penal Code 266h. Pimping involves an economic exchange where somebody pays the accused to see a sex worker. You do not have to be paid by the job for the state to charge you with pandering. As long as you supply a sex worker by procuring them for another person, you may run afoul of pandering charges. However, prosecutors often charge pimping and pandering together as they are very similar crimes.
As a second example, imagine a sex worker who works closely with his pimp. The sex worker is hoping to move away from sex work, as they want to get away from it all. The pimp sees the sex worker as a money-maker and uses threats to convince them to stay working. The pimp threatens to release sensitive documents and send goons to intimidate the sex worker if they ever decide to quit.
Pandering does not have to be as dramatic as the above example. You could just be talking to someone and lightly push them into the world of sex work. As long as you attempt to conscript someone into sex work or keep them in the business, you may run afoul of pandering charges.
There are two main tools law enforcement uses to attempt to charge someone with pandering: undercover agents and tips. Undercover police officers pose as people interested in receiving the services of a sex worker or becoming one themselves. They see if a person will take the bait and try to commit pandering and then make an arrest.
Tips come from a person who is the alleged victim of pandering or from an anonymous source hoping to stop attempted pandering. These tips allow law enforcement to investigate the crime more thoroughly but can lead to cases of false accusations or mistaken identity.
Like most sex crimes, pandering is a felony offense in California. Since pandering covers similar ground to pimping, both crimes have similar charges. For pandering, sentencing guidelines suggest you face up to six years in a California state prison with a successful conviction. A judge may also sentence you to felony probation or a fine of up to $10,000. If the victim was under 18, you could face eight years in state prison and registration as a California sex offender.
All sentences are up to the judge, and they may heighten or shorten a prison term depending on extenuating circumstances, such as prior convictions, the nature of the crime, contrition shown by the guilty party, community risk, and the impact on the victim. Lawyers may also be able to negotiate with the prosecution before a trial to enter into a plea deal with minimal jail time.
Aside from jail time and fines, a felony conviction in California carries other potential penalties. Those convicted of a felony lose their right to bear arms in the Golden State. Possession of a firearm after a felony conviction may land you in jail again.
Immigrants who have not become U.S. citizens also deal with a harsh reality if convicted of a crime. The state may choose to deport an immigrant who has been convicted of a crime, and a felony charge like pandering makes it even more likely. Los Angeles has a large immigrant population, so these additional penalties are worth keeping in mind if you are not a citizen of the country.
Pandering falls under the same part of the penal code as pimping, 266. California Penal Code 266 covers several related sex crimes to pandering.
Luckily for someone dealing with a pandering charge, defense attorneys like James E. Silverstein have a few legal defenses they can use when advocating for a defendant in court. No attorney can guarantee a verdict, but a smart defensive strategy could help the accused avoid jail time or get a reduced sentence.
Entrapment is a classic defense many defense attorneys have used to demonstrate bad conduct by police officers. Though it’s a popular defense, it isn’t easy to prove, and you’ll need the right circumstances, evidence, and lawyer to sway a jury into believing it. Luckily, skilled criminal defense attorneys like James E. Silverstein have experience using the defense.
Most lawyers find it difficult to explain entrapment to clients because so much misinformation exists about the defense. Entrapment is when a police officer, typically undercover, harasses or threatens a person into committing a crime they wouldn’t normally consider doing. Entrapment does not occur when an officer allows someone to commit a crime, only when they repeatedly push the person to criminal activity.
We’ll use two examples to demonstrate what constitutes entrapment and what won’t hold up in court.
In the first scenario, an undercover police officer approaches you on the street and asks if you know where to find a sex worker. You’re untrusting at first and ignore them. They ask again, and you question if they are a police officer. They assure you they are not, so you procure a sex worker for them. The officer then places you under arrest for pandering.
This scenario would not constitute entrapment. Contrary to popular media, California law does not require a police officer to legally identify themself to you. The police officer gave you the opportunity and did not use threats to force you to commit a crime.
In a different example, an undercover police officer hounds you for weeks about procuring a sex worker for him. You are not involved in any sex work and deny his request. Eventually, he decides to threaten you with violence if you do not acquiesce to his demands. You give in to his threat and work to procure a sex worker for him. The police officer then arrests you for the charge of pandering.
This second scene is textbook entrapment, and the right Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can use this to your advantage in the courtroom. The accused party must believe they had no choice but to commit the crime to constitute entrapment.
Attorneys often warn clients entrapment cases are tricky for the defense to prove, as they often result in the two sides having a different story and account of the events. Any electronic communication between you and the officer will help showcase possible entrapment, as well as any audio recording or witness testimony.
Though people often talk about it, there is very little hard evidence and statistics denoting how many wrongful convictions and false accusations exist in our legal system. A University of Pennsylvania criminologist, Charles Oeffler, surveyed 3,000 prisoners and found approximately eight percent believe a false accusation put them in prison. Some of these individuals may have lied in the survey, but suffice it to say false accusations and mistaken identity do occur sometimes in our justice system.
It’s common for an individual to be in a romantic relationship with a sex worker. They could point to you as a pimp or say that you have involvement with the business to help negate some of their culpability. An accused person may also be the victim of an incorrect identification in a police lineup.
You’ll have to work with your attorney to show that the accuser lied or that you were the victim of mistaken identity. You can use text messages or witness testimony to prove you weren’t doing anything illegal.
For the state to find you guilty of pandering, it needs to prove you intended to enlist someone into sex work or keep them doing the work. This means your objective must be to encourage sex work.
You may have said something off-hand that inspired a person to find work as a prostitute. In this case, you wouldn’t be guilty of pandering, as you had no intention of encouraging the individual one way or another.
Pandering falls under the umbrella of sex crimes in California. If the state charges you with pandering, you’ll likely face charges that also fall under the sex crimes umbrella. These additional charges may add time to your sentence, or the state may use them to leverage you into a bad plea deal.
The most obvious crime related to pandering is pimping, as covered in California Penal Code 266h. Pimping involves an economic transfer of money, while pandering is only about encouragement. Many people facing a pandering charge are also dealing with simultaneous pimping accusations.
Another related crime is from California Penal Code 653.23 – supervising or aiding a prostitute. This offense details anyone who either participates in prostitution or attempts to do sex work. A person pressured into doing sex work by a panderer may run afoul of this part of the penal code.
For cases involving a minor, the state will look toward Penal Code 272. This law deals with the delinquency of a minor, and California could invoke it if the person you allegedly pandered to is underage.
Other applicable crimes similar to pandering are:
The state may tack on any of these additional charges depending on the nature of the case. Additional charges put more pressure on you as a defendant and lower your lawyer’s negotiating power when discussing plea deals. Having a skilled lawyer on your side can help you figure out which charges are the most dangerous to you and formulate a defense strategy to combat them.
Under California law, anyone convicted of a crime can file a motion to have their crime expunged from the record. Expunging a crime from the record does not fully put things back to the way they were before the person committed the crime, but it does loosen a few of the restrictions ex-convicts find themselves under.
The California criminal justice system allows those charged with felonies to seek an expungement, despite popular belief. However, having a judge expunge a felony is a big ask, but you may be able to navigate it. To qualify, you must:
Some pandering charges end in probation, so you may be able to apply for an expungement to remove it from your record. The state keeps a note of your previous crime, but you may be able to indicate to some employers that you do not have a criminal record after an expungement. California law allows a judge to consider your expunged crimes when sentencing for any future convictions.
Pandering charges fall under the umbrella of sex crimes, and California takes all sex crimes seriously. Defendants facing pandering charges may face up to six years in jail and a potential registry on the sex offenders list.
California and American law allow any individual to represent themselves in court for any trial, civil or criminal. While there’s nothing wrong with representing yourself in small claims court over a few bucks, in a high-stakes criminal case for pandering, anyone with legal knowledge will tell you to invest in a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who can handle your case.
The truth is, the quicker you hire an attorney in a pandering case, the better your chances are in open court. Some of the things attorneys need time to do include:
All the aspects of trial preparation take plenty of time, so hiring an attorney early in the process gives them time to get a handle on the situation before a trial.
Many defendants tell attorneys they want to represent themselves to explain their side of the story. While that’s a noble goal, in reality, it’s very difficult to advocate for yourself in court. Judges expect anybody self-representing to have the same understanding of the laws as an attorney. You’d have to formulate your defensive strategy and learn about case law and precedent all before your trial.
Attorneys also provide unbiased advice for their clients. Defendants are close to the case and may be too emotional to see the reality of the situation. An attorney will maintain an objective outlook and can help the client better understand their chances in open court and what the next steps should be.
No attorney can guarantee a certain outcome with your case, but hiring an experienced Los Angeles defense attorney, such as James E. Silverstein, will give you a fighting chance during your trial. Mr. Silverstein can give you the most effective defense possible and work to make sure you have a fair trial. If you need assistance with a pandering charge or other criminal issue, contact us today for a free consultation.