Keeping a house of ill-fame (prostitution)
Information on the crime of keeping a house of prostitution, also known as keeping a house of ill repute, is found at California penal code section 315.
PC 315 Law (Abbr.)
PC 315: Every person who keeps a house of ill-fame in this state, resorted to for the purposes of prostitution or lewdness, or who willfully resides in such house, is guilty of a misdemeanor; and in all prosecutions for keeping or resorting to such a house common repute may be received as competent evidence of the character of the house, the purpose for which it is kept or used, and the character of the women inhabiting or resorting to it.
In California, it is illegal to keep or reside in a house of prostitution. A house of prostitution is also known as a house of ill fame, or ill repute. Information on the crime of keeping a house of prostitution or ill repute may be found at penal code section 315.
Prostitution is a crime in California and is defined as sexual services for compensation or other benefit (PC 647(b)).
A house, for purposes of the crime of keeping a house of prostitution, does not have to be an actual house. A house can be just about any building, such as a massage parlor, a strip club, or a motel (PC 315).
To keep a house of prostitution means to operate or manage a business where prostitutes are working, such as a brothel, strip club, or massage parlor. In some cases, a defendant can keep a house of prostitution while also working as a prostitute in the same house.
PC 315 Sentence & Punishment
Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is a period of supervision as opposed to an actual jail sentence. A probation sentence carries conditions of probation, or terms of probation, that must be followed by the probationer in order to avoid further punishment, including an actual jail sentence. A probation sentence for a PC 315 crime is called informal probation, which means that the defendant is not monitored or supervised by a probation officer during the probationary period. Probation setences are available in keeping a house of prostitution (PC 315) cases, but they are not guaranteed. Whether or not a defendant is granted a probation sentence after a PC 315 conviction depends largely on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.
Note: It is possible to be ordered to serve a jail sentence as a term of probation, as opposed to being ordered to a jail sentence without a grant of probation. However, when a jail sentence is ordered as a term of probation the jail term is usually much shorter than the maximum jail sentence otherwise associated with the crime and the defendant may usually serve his or her jail sentence on work release or house arrest.
Sex Offender Registration: If found guilty of keeping a house of prostitution (PC 315), the defendant will not ordinarily be required to register as a sex offender.
Caution: The judge may order the defendant to register as a sex offender in a prostitution case. This is a very unusual order in a PC 315 case but the law does exist to give the judge the power to make such an order (See PC 290.006).
Red light abatement law: California has a Red Light Abatement Law, which allows for special penalties against defendants upon any conviction of keeping a house of prostitutes. Penalties include: Injunction against conducting business in the establishment where the prostitution occurred and forced sale of the business by the government.
Jail: PC 315 is classified as a misdemeanor. If convicted of keeping a house of prostitution or ill fame the defendant may face up to 180 days in county jail. Probation with work release or electronic monitoring (house arrest) may be allowed in some cases.
Fines: The penalty fine for a first time conviction of PC 315, keeping a house of prostitution or ill fame, may be up to $1,000.00. This amount does not include any penalty associated with Red Light Abatement Law penalties.
Probation: If convicted of PC 315, keeping a house of prostitution or ill fame, the defendant may be placed on probation for up to three years. The probation is court probation, also known as summary or informal probation. Probation terms for PC 315 convictions usually include restraining orders among other penalties.
Massage Therapist License: If convicted of keeping a house of prostitution or ill fame, the defendant may lose his or her massage therapist license or business license (GC 51032 & CCR Title 16);
Immigration Consequences: If convicted of PC 315, keeping a house of prostitution or ill fame, a non-U.S. Citizen defendant could face possible loss of immigration status, including deportation from the United States, denial of re-entry to the U.S., loss of work visa, or loss of permanent residence status.
Professional License: If convicted of PC 315, keeping a house of prostitution or ill fame, the defendant will likely face a loss, suspension, or revocation of his or her professional or occupational license. This includes any professional license issued by a California Bar, Board, or Commission. (i.e. doctors, dentists, nurses, therapist, teachers, cosmetologists, etc.
In sum, if found guilty of keeping a house of prostitution or ill fame (ill repute) under PC 315 the government may take and sell the business that was used to support prostitution and the defendant may be made to pay the expense of any government takeover of the business.
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