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Many people think escorting and prostitution operate as two different names for the same activity. However, that’s not the case.

Still, you might have several questions about the two activities. Are escorts prostitutes? Are prostitutes escorts?

California law distinguishes the two activities by declaring one of them, prostitution, against the law. But what are the actual differences between the two activities?

Contact one of our sex crimes attorneys at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, to answer any questions you have about these crimes.

What Is an Escort?

People hire an escort to accompany them to a social event or provide entertainment in exchange for money. California requires escorts to have a license, which requires an extensive background check.

Usually, individuals book an escort through an online advertisement or directly from an escort agency.

Individuals cannot hire escorts in California to engage in sexual activity. Otherwise, they can face prostitution charges.

Whether consensual sexual relations can occur between an escort and the person who hired the escort is a gray area that courts consider on a case-by-case basis depending on the facts. 

What Is Prostitution?

California prohibits exchanging sexual services for compensation, otherwise known as prostitution. In fact, the crime can occur before the sexual services are even performed.

Making an agreement to pay for sexual services or receive payment for providing sexual services, combined with an act in furtherance of the agreement, can result in a prostitution charge.

For example, if you contacted a prostitute who offered you sexual services in exchange for cash, going to an ATM to withdraw cash could operate as an act in furtherance of the agreement for prostitution.

Thus, the prosecution could charge you with prostitution even if you never had sex with the other person.

Alternatively, if you offered someone cash in exchange for them to provide sexual services, you could face solicitation charges. 

California charges both prostitution and solicitation as misdemeanors. Misdemeanors in California carry a potential fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in county jail for the first offense. 

Facing Charges for Solicitation or Prostitution? Contact an Attorney Today

If you’re facing charges for prostitution, solicitation, or any other sex crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. Our top-rated sex crimes attorneys will:

  • Conduct a confidential review of your case,
  • Answer any questions you have and explain your options,
  • Investigate the charges you are facing, and
  • Build a fully-personalized legal defense strategy.

Our team of criminal defense lawyers has represented dozens of clients dealing with prostitution and solicitation charges.

In fact, Kerry L. Armstrong, our founding attorney, focuses his efforts on defending individuals accused of sex crimes.

Mr. Armstrong understands the implication a criminal conviction can have on an individual and strives to obtain the desired outcome for his clients.

Additionally, Mr. Armstrong has earned the respect of other attorneys in the area, earning the distinction of 2013 “Trial Attorney of the Year” awarded by the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association. 

He is also a criminal law specialist certified by the California State Bar.

There is no one-size-fits-all defense strategy when it comes to defending against a solicitation or prostitution charge.

That’s why it is crucial to consult with an attorney who takes the time to learn the facts of your case and determine what route is best for you. Contact our office today to get started on your free consultation.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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