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Penal Code 647 PC

Understanding California Penal Code 647 PC

California Penal Code 647 PC covers a range of offenses commonly referred to as “disorderly conduct.” This section of the penal code includes laws against things like lewd conduct, prostitution, loitering, public intoxication, and invasion of privacy. While charges under this code section are misdemeanors, they can still carry jail time, fines, and other penalties if convicted.

Lewd Conduct – Penal Code 647(a)

Penal Code 647(a) makes it a crime to engage in “lewd or dissolute conduct” in any public place or any place open to public view. This covers things like public masturbation, public sex acts, mooning, public urination or defecation, and other obscene displays. Lewd conduct does not require any physical touching – flashing or other indecent exposures can qualify.

To be convicted under 647(a), the prosecution must prove:

  • The defendant willfully engaged in touching themselves or someone else sexually
  • The touching was done with intent to arouse themselves or others sexually, or to annoy or offend someone else
  • The conduct occurred in a public place or somewhere open to public view
  • The defendant knew or reasonably should have known another person was present who could be offended

Potential defenses against a lewd conduct charge include:

  • The conduct did not occur in public or a place open to the public
  • The conduct was not sexually motivated
  • There were no other people present who could be offended
  • The defendant did not act willfully (it was an accident)

Lewd conduct under 647(a) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. It does not require registering as a sex offender in California.

Prostitution – Penal Code 647(b)

Penal Code 647(b) prohibits soliciting, agreeing to, or engaging in prostitution. Under this code section:

  • Soliciting prostitution means requesting or offering a sex act in exchange for money or something else of value
  • Agreeing to prostitution means accepting an offer or solicitation to trade sex for something of value
  • Engaging in prostitution means participating in a sex act for compensation

Potential defenses against a 647(b) charge include:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • There was no agreement to commit prostitution
  • The defendant was falsely accused (set up)
  • The defendant was a victim of human trafficking

Like other disorderly conduct charges, prostitution under 647(b) is a misdemeanor in California. Potential penalties if convicted include up to 6 months in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

Panhandling – Penal Code 647(c)

Penal Code 647(c) prohibits aggressive panhandling in public places. Also known as “begging” or “soliciting alms,” panhandling refers to asking people for money or donations. Under 647(c), it is illegal to accost someone in a public place and ask for donations. Potential defenses include:

  • The defendant was not aggressively panhandling
  • The solicitation did not take place in public
  • The defendant was unlawfully profiled or targeted

Panhandling is a misdemeanor under 647(c) and carries a maximum 6 month jail sentence and $1,000 fine if convicted.

Public Intoxication – Penal Code 647(f)

Penal Code 647(f) prohibits being intoxicated in public to the point where you are unable to care for your own safety or are interfering with or obstructing other people. Potential defenses include:

  • The defendant was not under the influence or intoxicated
  • The defendant was safely in a lawful location
  • The defendant did not obstruct or interfere with others

Public intoxication is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

Loitering – Penal Code 647(h)

Penal Code 647(h) prohibits loitering on someone else’s property for the purpose of committing a crime. This covers things like trespassing or prowling. Potential defenses include:

  • The defendant was not loitering
  • The defendant did not possess criminal intent
  • The defendant had permission to be on the property

Loitering under 647(h) is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum 6 month jail sentence and $1,000 fine.

Invasion of Privacy – Penal Code 647(j)

Penal Code 647(j) prohibits certain invasions of privacy, such as:

  • Using a device to peep into someone’s private room
  • Using a hidden camera to secretly record under someone’s clothes
  • Photographing or recording someone in a private room without permission

Defenses against invasion of privacy charges can include:

  • There was no attempt to invade reasonable privacy expectations
  • The defendant was falsely accused
  • The recording or viewing was accidental or unintentional

Invasion of privacy under Penal Code 647(j) is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum 6 month jail sentence and $1,000 fine.

Penalties for Conviction

Most disorderly conduct charges under Penal Code 647 are misdemeanor offenses. If convicted, potential penalties can include:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Informal probation
  • Community service
  • Counseling or treatment programs
  • Restitution to victims

While these offenses do not require registering as a sex offender, they can still impact things like immigration status, professional licensing, and future employment. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help minimize penalties and protect your rights if facing charges.

Related Offenses

Other laws related to disorderly conduct charges include:

  • Penal Code 415 PC – Disturbing the Peace
  • Penal Code 602 PC – Trespassing
  • Penal Code 314 PC – Indecent Exposure

An attorney may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed through plea bargaining. For example, they may be able to negotiate a disturbing the peace charge instead of a more serious lewd conduct accusation.

Getting Legal Help

Facing misdemeanor charges under California Penal Code 647 PC can have consequences that go beyond potential fines and jail time. Experienced criminal defense lawyers can often negotiate reduced charges or punishments and protect your rights. If you are being investigated or charged under this code section, it is advisable to consult with an attorney as early in the process as possible.

Getting Legal Help

Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can make all the difference in disorderly conduct cases. A lawyer may be able to get charges reduced or even dismissed through plea bargaining or by challenging the evidence. They can also advocate for alternatives to jail time such as probation, community service, or counseling.

An attorney can advise you on the best defense strategies for your unique situation. They can also walk you through the process and protect your rights at every stage, from arrest through trial and sentencing.

Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing Penal Code 647 charges, it is critical to speak with a criminal defense lawyer right away. Try to consult with an attorney experienced in handling disorderly conduct cases before your first court appearance.

When researching attorneys, look for ones with proven track records of favorable case results. Ask about their experience negotiating with prosecutors or taking these types of cases to trial. Be sure they are familiar with the local courts and judges.

Meet with or have phone consultations with a few attorneys before deciding who to hire. Many provide free case evaluations where they can assess the charges and advise you on possible outcomes. Choose a criminal defense lawyer you feel comfortable with and who instills confidence they can deliver the best resolution to your case.

Early Intervention Can Be Key

Involving an attorney early in the process can sometimes lead to charges being dropped before a case ever goes to court. Or they may be able to negotiate a plea deal to lesser charges to avoid a conviction on your record.

Even if a trial is unavoidable, an experienced lawyer can thoroughly prepare a defense strategy and represent you in working for the best possible outcome.

Do not wait to consult with an attorney if you have been arrested or charged with a Penal Code 647 violation. The sooner you have expert legal guidance, the better your chances of minimizing penalties and avoiding long-term consequences.

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