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 Santa Barbara is a beautiful coastal city known for its scenic attractions and popular college campuses. The city is expensive and attracts wealthy residents and visitors, which can also attract those who desire that lifestyle. Adding all of that into the mix, Santa Barbara is the perfect storm for prostitution.

If you have been arrested for “prostitution”, it does not mean that you are guilty. It’s important to vigorously fight a “prostitution” charge because a criminal conviction will stay on your record and can adversely affect job and educational opportunities down the road.

As a former Prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Offices in Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties, Sanford Horowitz and his legal team will offer you a free consultation, investigate the evidence against you, and recommend practical steps to achieve the best possible results in your case.


California continues to crack the whip on prostitution, with high-profile arrests making the headlines regularly. The charge is broadly referred to as the act of having sex with another person in exchange for compensation of some kind. In Santa Barbara, you can face criminal charges for soliciting or engaging in prostitution. You can be charged with a crime of prostitution under California Penal Code 647(b) PC if you:

  • Engage in the act of prostitution;
  • Agree to engage in the act of prostitution; and/or
  • Solicit another to engage in prostitution.

This means that you can face charges for prostitution if you are:

  • The prostitute receiving compensation for sex;
  • The person paying to engage in a sexual encounter; or
  • The “pimp” arranging a sexual encounter between a prostitute and a client.

While each of these offenses are different, they all have the same outcome. The prosecutor handling your case will be required to establish that you participated in an agreement to exchange sexual acts for compensation.

Examples of a California Penal Code 647(B) violation include:

  • You offer drugs to a woman in exchange for a “blow job” (even if she is not a prostitute and she says “no”).
  • A woman allows you to fondle her breasts in exchange for money.
  • A police officer accepts your offer to have sex in exchange for not writing you a traffic ticket.


Under California law, when a prostitute and a customer engage in sexual intercourse or lewd acts, both are engaged in an “act of prostitution.” Lewd sexual acts are defined to include touching the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or client…for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. This means that for prostitution, sex is broadly defined to include:

  • Sexual Intercourse
  • Oral Sex
  • Anal Sex
  • Sexual Touching


Compensation does not necessarily mean that money has to exchange hands. Instead, compensation can include anything of value to you, including:

  • Drugs
  • Stolen Merchandise
  • Forged Money
  • Important Documents
  • Government Welfare Notes


Solicitation and prostitution are misdemeanors, not felonies. The exact punishment a defendant depends on a few factors, such as where the violation occurred and whether this is the defendant’s first offense. A first time violator in Santa Barbara will be sentenced to:

  • Up To 6 Months And Jai
  • Up To A $1,000 Fine

Prostitution is a priorable offense, meaning that the penalties to which you are exposed can become much more severe with each subsequent offense. A second prostitution offense can result in a minimum of 45 days in jail, and a third offense will put you in the county jail for at least 90 days.

A defendant can face additional penalties if arrested while using a car and within 1,000 feet of a residence. In addition to the penalties above, defendants can have their driver’s license suspended for 30 days.

Those convicted of prostitution or solicitation can be required to register as sex offenders, though many are not. It is important for you to speak about this possibility with your attorney.

The law applies to both prostitutes and their clients. However, some prostitutes also have middlemen, known generally as “pimps.” A pimp is more likely to be arrested for these violations:

  • California’s “pimping and pandering” laws, Penal Code 266h and Penal Code 266i, or
  • “Supervising or aiding” a prostitute, Penal Code 653.23 PC6

Can children under 18 be convicted of prostitution?

Children under the age of 18 cannot be found guilty of prostitution in California. This resulted from passage of California Senate Bill SB 1322, which California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on September 26, 2016.

Does 647 b PC require sex offender registration?

Neither prostitution nor solicitation requires mandatory sex offender registration under California Penal Code 290 PC.

However, a judge has the discretion to require registration if a criminal offense was “the result of sexual compulsion or for sexual gratification.”

Don’t wait to contact Sanford Horowitz to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Call now: (805) 749-5670.


There are defenses available in a prostitution case. Here are some of the more common defenses raised in prostitution cases:


In some cases, there may not be sufficient evidence to support a prostitution charge.


This happens when law enforcement convince a person to commit a crime that they would not have committed in the absence of inducement. You can raise the defense of entrapment in the context of police “stings” in which undercover officers pose as prostitutes or clients enticing others into soliciting or agreeing to engage in prostitution.


You did not intend to commit theft or any felony crime before you entered the dwelling or vehicle.

If the police obtained the evidence against you through a search or seizure that violated your 4th Amendment rights, it can result in a judge declaring the evidence they gathered inadmissible in court. This can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case against you and even result in the prosecution dropping the charges entirely.

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