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PIMPING, PC 266h(a)

In the media, a pimp is oftentimes seen as someone who wears flashy clothes, but the California legislature has defined pimping to include the simple act of knowing that a person is a prostitute and receiving support from that person’s prostitution activities.

The code states this in great detail:

Penal Code 266h(a):

“Except as provided in subdivision (b), any person who, knowing another person is a prostitute, lives or derives support or maintenance in whole or in part from the earnings or proceeds of the person’s prostitution, or from money loaned or advanced to or charged against that person by any keeper or manager or inmate of a house or other place where prostitution is practiced or allowed, or who solicits or receives compensation for soliciting for the person, is guilty of pimping, a felony, and shall be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, four, or six years.” (from https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=266h)

In plain English, if person A receives any kind of support from person B’s prostitution activities, even if person B does not actually own the money that is providing the support, person A is guilty of pimping.

NOTE: The defendant would have to know that the other person is working as a prostitute.

Examples of Pimping, PC 266h(a):

  1. John gives Tina protection when Tina engages in sexual activities with men. For this Tina gives John a share of what she is paid for those activities.
  2. Tim is Linda’s boyfriend. Tim knows that Linda is working as a prostitute. Tim works part-time and Tina helps Tim with his bills by giving him money.
  3. Chris is Melinda’s boyfriend. Chris knows that Melinda has been working as a prostitute, but he loves her so he doesn’t judge her. This month, he is short on money so Melinda borrows money from the brothel to pay his share of the rent.

Jail Time

A person convicted of Pimping, PC 266h(a), faces a maximum of 6 years in state prison.


Pimping, PC 266h(a) is not a strike, but it is always charged as a felony.

Defenses Against Pimping, PC 266h(a)

  1. You did not know that the other person was working as a prostitute.

If you’ve been deriving support from another person but thought they were working as a store clerk, you are not guilty of Pimping, PC 266h(a). A requirement of Pimping, PC 266h(a), is that the defendant KNEW that the other person was working as a prostitute.

2. You did not derive any support whatsoever from the person.

If you knew that the other person was a prostitute, but you never received money from them, then you are not guilty of Pimping, PC 266h(a). In fact, you were always paying for them and never received or expected to receive anything in return. If this is the case, then you never derived support from their prostitution activities.

Pimping, PC 266h(a), are complicated cases because guilt and innocence oftentimes revolve around whether the defendant derived support from the other person. We have handled numerous Pimping cases and we will fight your case aggressively. It is important to have a top criminal lawyer fight your case to show that you had no idea the other person was a prostitute, or that you never received a dime from the other person. We are located in Orange County but also serve LA County, Riverside County, San Bernardino, and all of southern California. We conduct business with our clients both in person and remotely. Our phone number is 213-235-7969 and we look forward to discussing your case with you.

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