The terms ‘pimping’ and ‘pandering’ are often used interchangeably in common parlance. However, under California law, they refer to distinct, though related, criminal offenses.
Both crimes are associated with the illegal sex trade, but they involve different activities and carry different legal consequences. This guide will break down the differences between these two terms as defined under California law.
What is pimping?
Pimping, under California Penal Code 266h PC, is defined as knowingly living partially or wholly off the earnings of a prostitute, or soliciting customers for a prostitute. In simpler terms, a person is guilty of pimping if they are financially benefiting from the earnings of a prostitute whom they are aiding, abetting, or compelling into prostitution.
For instance, if an individual takes a percentage of a sex worker’s earnings in exchange for providing them ‘protection’ or managing their clientele, they could be charged with pimping.
To secure a conviction for pimping, the prosecution must prove the following:
- The accused was aware that the other person was a prostitute.
- The accused was living fully or in part off the earnings of the prostitute or was soliciting customers for the prostitute.
What is pandering?
Pandering, governed by California Penal Code 266i PC, involves the act of procuring or persuading someone to become a prostitute, or arranging, causing, encouraging, or helping someone to continue in or enter into prostitution. Pandering also covers actions that include procuring a person for the purpose of prostitution by promise, threat, violence, or by any device or scheme.
For example, if an individual lures a person into prostitution by promising them financial security or using manipulative tactics, they could be charged with pandering.
To secure a conviction for pandering, the prosecution must establish the following:
- The accused persuaded, induced, or influenced a person to engage in prostitution.
- The accused did so with the specific intent that the other person engage in prostitution.
Important differences between pimping and pandering
While both crimes involve the illegal sex trade, there are a few notable differences:
- Activity – Pimping involves living off the earnings of a prostitute or soliciting customers for them. In contrast, pandering involves procuring or persuading someone to become a prostitute.
- Intent – For pimping, the defendant must know that the person is a prostitute and profit from their income. With pandering, the defendant must specifically intend to influence or persuade a person to engage in prostitution.
Penalties under California law
Both pimping and pandering are felonies under California law and carry severe penalties:
- Pimping – Conviction could result in a state prison term of three, four, or six years, and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- Pandering – Conviction could result in a state prison term of three, four, or six years, and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Further, a conviction for either crime carries serious long-term consequences, including potential loss of professional licenses and difficulty securing future employment.
Get 24/7 legal help
Understanding the differences between pimping and pandering is crucial to comprehend the nature of charges you or a loved one might be facing and to develop an effective legal strategy. Both crimes are serious felonies under California law, and anyone facing such charges should immediately seek experienced legal counsel.
If you or someone you love has been accused of pimping or pandering, call Robert M. Helfend at 800-834-6434 for your free consultation.