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Is Backpage.Com an Online Prostitution Haven? Federal Authorities Think So

Okabe & Haushalter Apr 13, 2018 Criminal Defense

Backpage.com has long been known as the place to find sex ads, and has more recently come under fire for providing an online space for child trafficking and general prostitution. Although previous attempts to shut down the website had been thwarted by, seemingly incorrect, references to the Communications Decency Act, federal authorities finally succeeded in shutting down Backpage.com on Friday April 6. The move was part of a collaborative effort between the FBI, IRS and US Postal Inspection Service, and comes on the back of long-running claims about enabling sex crimes, tailoring child sex adverts, and similar behavior. According to reports, the Arizona home of Backpage.com co-founder Michael Lacey was also raided at the time, but authorities have not commented on any criminal charges.

Backpage.com’s homepage currently displays a notice stating that “backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, with analytical assistance from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center.”

What Are the Penalties for Prostitution in Los Angeles?

Under California law, prostitution is defined as any sexual act which is offered, accepted, or performed in exchange for money. Criminal charges can apply to both the person offering the sexual acts (the prostitute) and the person paying for and receiving the sexual acts (the john). If you have been arrested and are facing charges relating to either side of the prostitution transaction, you will need to instruct an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to handle your case.

Although prostitution is considered a misdemeanor, rather than a felony, the consequences of a conviction can reach far beyond the penalties you receive. It is likely that such a charge will have an impact on the rest of your life, meaning it is essential to have the best possible criminal defense attorney acting on your behalf.

If convicted of prostitution or solicitation, you can expect to face:

  • A maximum of 12 months in the county jail for a first offense
  • If you have a prior prostitution conviction, a mandatory 45 days in prison may be required
  • Two or more prior convictions may necessitate a mandatory 90 days imprisonment

The specific sentence you receive will depend on your previous criminal record and the details of your prostitution or solicitation charge.

Possible Defenses for a Los Angeles Prostitution Charge

Being charged with prostitution is a serious matter, so it is important to work with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who is familiar with this area of the law, and can build a strong defense on your behalf. Some of the defenses we may be able to apply to your case include:

  • Insufficient evidence
  • Unreliable witnesses
  • Lack of intent
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Entrapment

To find out how an Okabe & Haushalter criminal defense attorney could help you to reduce the sentencing on your Los Angeles prostitution or solicitation charge, call us today on 310-430-7799 for a free case evaluation.