Prostitution/Solicitation Defense Attorney
No other town does luxury or exudes an effortlessly chic vibe like Montecito. The city is home to some of the area’s most stunning stretches of coastline, from Fernald’s Point, past the calm waters of Miramar Beach and renowned surf break at Hammonds Point, to sparkling Butterfly Beach. The beautiful coastal city is not only expensive to live in, but it also attracts tourists with money looking for a good time. With heavy wallets walking around, there is no surprise that prostitution has become an issue in the city of Montecito.
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 Penal Code 647(B)
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 Lompoc, 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:
- Agree to engage in prostitution with someone else
- Intend to actually engage in the act
- Further the commission of the prostitution by taking some other act beyond the agreement
The last element is often in dispute. Simply saying “yes” is not enough. Some other act is required. For example:
- Withdrawing money from an ATM machine
- Telling the other person to undress
- Taking your clothes off
- Driving to a location to meet the person for sex or other lewd behavior
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:
- Stolen Merchandise
- Forged Money
- Important Documents
- Government Welfare Notes
LEGAL PENALTIES FOR PROSTITUTION
California’s “pimping and pandering” laws, Penal Code 266h and Penal Code 266i, or solicitation and prostitution are misdemeanors, not felonies. The exact punishment of a defendant depends on a few factors, such as where the violation occurred and whether this is the defendant’s first offense.
- First offense is punishable with any combination of:
- Maximum of six months in a county jail (not a state prison)
- A maximum fine of $1,000
- A second offense is punishable with:
- A mandatory minimum of 45 days in county jail (not a state prison)
- Third and subsequent offenses are punishable with any combination of:
- A mandatory minimum of 90 days in county jail (not a state prison)
Importantly, these penalties can be increased in certain situations. For instance, if you are found guilty of either prostitution or solicitation and the event in question occurred both in a car and within a residential area (defined as within 1,000 feet of a person’s residence), then the court may issue additional penalties, such as suspending your driver’s license for up to 30 days or issuing a restricted license for up to six months. A restricted license means you are legally able to drive to necessary locations, such as work or school, but you are not allowed to drive otherwise.
Additional local governments, such as cities, counties, or towns, may impose additional penalties depending on your situation. For instance, the City of Lompoc may seize your car if you are guilty of either crime while in the car.
The good news is that even if you are convicted of either prostitution or solicitation, you may not have to register as a sex offender in California. This is important because other types of sex crimes automatically trigger the sex offender registration, but neither prostitution nor solicitation do this. However, a court can order any convicted person to register if they deem it necessary, although this is a rare occurrence.
Fighting a Prostitution / Solicitation Charge
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.
4TH AMENDMENT VIOLATIONS
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.
Keep in mind that many prostitution cases are resolved through the plea bargain process. This involves the defendant pleading guilty in return for a more lenient sentence or reduced charges. Many of these charge reductions allow a defendant to plead guilty to an offense that doesn’t carry the sexual stigma associated with prostitution, helping them avoid the ongoing collateral consequences.
You are our number one priority in and out of the courtroom.
Work with an experienced former prosecutor who knows both sides.
Criminal defense provided by a Spanish-speaking team.
Talk through all of your legal options during a free consultation.
A former prosecutor, Sandy is a skilled litigator who understands both sides of the criminal justice system, which is a tremendous asset. While we hope never to be in a similar situation again, we can recommend Sandy without hesitation.- Ann S.
A great relief and reassurance to anyone potentially facing criminal charges.- S.A.
To say that Horowitz is a great lawyer is an understatement. I would highly recommend him to anyone dealing with a legal issue.- Haley S.
In addition to being highly intelligent and professional, he is incredibly empathetic and kind, which helps when dealing with life’s unpleasant situations.- Eli S.