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Penal Code 266i | Pandering

Pandering Laws in California – Penal Code 266i

Pandering laws in California make it a felony to persuade, encourage, or procure someone to engage in prostitution. Pandering is covered under California Penal Code 266i, and carries penalties of 3-6 years in state prison.

What is Pandering Under PC 266i?

The legal definition of pandering in California includes several ways of influencing or encouraging someone to engage in prostitution:

  • Persuading, encouraging, or procuring someone to become a prostitute
  • Using promises, threats, violence, or schemes to cause someone to become a prostitute
  • Arranging for someone to work in a house of prostitution
  • Preventing someone from leaving a house of prostitution through promises, threats, violence or schemes
  • Using fraud, abuse of authority, or coercion to procure someone for prostitution
  • Receiving money or compensation for procuring someone for prostitution

Pandering is distinct from pimping under PC 266h., which involves receiving support from the earnings of a prostitute. Pandering focuses more on influencing or encouraging someone to become a prostitute, rather than profiting off an existing prostitute.

Penalties for Pandering Under PC 266i

Pandering under PC 266i is a felony in California, punishable by:

  • 3, 4 or 6 years in California state prison
  • A maximum fine of $10,000

If the pandering involves a minor under age 18, penalties increase to 3-8 years in prison. Pandering a minor also requires lifetime sex offender registration.

Pandering is not considered a strike offense under California’s Three Strikes law. However, it is considered a crime of moral turpitude, which can impact immigration status or professional licensing.

Pandering vs. Pimping

As mentioned above, pandering and pimping are related but distinct crimes:

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  • Pandering (PC 266i) focuses on persuading, encouraging or procuring someone for prostitution.
  • Pimping (PC 266h) involves receiving money or support from the earnings of a prostitute.

In many cases, a pimp may also be guilty of pandering if they have persuaded or coerced someone into prostitution. But pandering does not require receiving money from a prostitute, only influencing someone to become one.

Defenses to Pandering Charges

There are several legal defenses that can be raised to fight pandering charges:

  • No intent to persuade – Pandering requires proof you intended to persuade or procure someone for prostitution. You cannot be convicted for merely providing information.
  • Entrapment – This applies if you were induced by police to commit pandering through harassment, fraud or coercion.
  • False accusations – The alleged victim may have ulterior motives for falsely accusing you of pandering.
  • Mistake of fact – You may have made a reasonable mistake of fact that negates intent, such as not knowing the alleged victim’s true age.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the details of your case and advise you on the best defense strategies.

Pandering Laws and Minors

There are increased penalties for pandering crimes involving minors under 18:

  • PC 266i(b)(1) – Pandering a minor age 16-17 is a felony punishable by 3-6 years in prison.
  • PC 266i(b)(2) – Pandering a minor under age 16 is a felony punishable by 3-8 years in prison.

Both charges require mandatory lifetime sex offender registration. They are also considered strike offenses under California’s Three Strikes law.

Immigration Consequences of Pandering

A pandering conviction can also lead to serious immigration consequences. Under federal law, pandering is considered an “aggravated felony.”

If you are not a U.S. citizen, a pandering conviction can result in:

  • Deportation
  • Inadmissibility to the U.S.
  • Ineligibility for asylum or cancellation of removal

It is critical to consult with an experienced criminal and immigration attorney if you are facing pandering charges and are not a citizen. There may be options to avoid negative immigration consequences.

Expungement of Pandering Convictions

California law allows expungement of certain felony convictions, including pandering, if probation is successfully completed.

Expungement (also known as dismissal) releases you from penalties and disabilities of a conviction. However, it does not erase the conviction completely or seal the record.

To qualify for expungement of a pandering conviction, you must:

  • Have no pending criminal charges
  • Successfully complete probation
  • Not be on probation for any other offense
  • Have obeyed all laws since the conviction

If eligible, you can petition the court for dismissal of your pandering conviction. Dismissal restores many rights lost as a result of conviction.

Pandering Laws – Next Steps

Being charged with pandering in California is extremely serious, with potential penalties of years in prison and sex offender registration. It is critical to consult with an attorney immediately to protect your rights.

A skilled California criminal defense lawyer can advise you of your defense options, work to get charges reduced or dismissed, and help minimize the penalties if convicted. Don’t wait to get legal help.

Common Questions About Pandering Laws

Here are some common questions about pandering laws and charges in California.

Q: Can I go to jail for pandering?

A: Yes, pandering is a felony in California punishable by 3-6 years in state prison. Increased penalties apply if the victim is a minor.

Q: Is pandering a misdemeanor or felony?

A: Pandering is a felony offense, never a misdemeanor. There is no wobbler provision that allows it to be charged as a misdemeanor.

Q: What are the penalties for pandering a child?

A: Pandering a minor under 16 is punishable by 3-8 years in prison. Pandering a minor 16-17 carries 3-6 years. Both require lifetime sex offender registration.

Q: Is pandering a form of human trafficking?

A: No, pandering and human trafficking are separate offenses in California. However, evidence of pandering may also support a human trafficking charge in some cases.

Q: Can pandering charges be expunged?

A: Yes, a pandering conviction can be expunged if probation is successfully completed and other requirements are met. However, expungement does not completely erase the record.

Q: Does a pandering conviction require registration as a sex offender?

A: Pandering an adult does not require registration. But a conviction for pandering a minor under age 18 does require mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

Q: Can a non-citizen be deported for pandering?

A: Yes, pandering is considered an “aggravated felony” under federal law. A conviction can lead to deportation, inadmissibility, and other immigration consequences.

Consult an experienced criminal and immigration defense attorney if you are facing pandering charges and are not a U.S. citizen. Certain options may help avoid negative immigration consequences.

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