In Santa Barbara, individuals may be charged with prostitution as well as soliciting prostitution. California’s Penal Code 647(b) criminalizes the solicitation of prostitution, which is when one person (the customer) offers to pay another person for performing sexual acts or when one individual agrees to perform sexual acts for payment.
If you’ve been arrested or charged with prostitution in Santa Barbara, you may face strict penalties that may include steep fines, probation, or incarceration if you’re convicted. It is essential to partner with a dedicated criminal defense attorney who will advocate on your behalf. The criminal defense lawyers at the Aron Law Firm represent clients in Santa Barbara and may examine your case’s details to develop a robust defense and advocate for the most favorable outcome.
Prostitution & Solicitation Defined Under California Law
A prostitute is a person who performs lewd acts or sexual intercourse with another person in exchange for compensation, money, or anything of value. The State of California’s prostitution laws is defined under Penal Code 647(b) and forbids three types of acts:
- Engaging in the act of prostitution
- Agreeing to engage in the act of prostitution
- Soliciting an act of prostitution
Engaging in the Act of Prostitution
Santa Barbara courts may charge a person for engaging in the act of prostitution if they deliberately engage in sexual intercourse or a lewd act in exchange for some form of compensation.
The term “lewd act” refers to any act perpetrated to arouse oneself or another person sexually and may involve touching the buttocks, genitals, or breasts.
Agreeing to Engage in the Act of Prostitution
A person may be charged simply for agreeing to engage in prostitution, even if they did not act. However, the prosecution must demonstrate the accused had the intention to follow through with the exchange.
To garner a conviction, the prosecution must establish that:
- The defendant agreed to engage in prostitution with someone else;
- The defendant intended to engage in prostitution with that person; and
- In addition to accepting, the defendant did something extra to further the act of prostitution.
Soliciting an Act of Prostitution
A person may be charged with soliciting prostitution in Santa Barbara if they ask a person to engage in the act of prostitution with the intention to engage in prostitution with the other person.
Prosecutors may charge either the customer or the prostitute, depending on who initiated the transaction. For the prosecution to garner a conviction, they must prove that the defendant intended to engage in prostitution, which may be demonstrated by an offer to pay money or another reimbursement (such as drugs) in exchange for sexual acts.
What Are Potential Penalties for Solicitation of Prostitution in Santa Barbara?
In Santa Barbara, prostitution, agreeing to engage in prostitution, and solicitation are misdemeanor crimes. If you are convicted of any prostitution offense, potential penalties you may be subject to include:
- Fines up to $1,000
- Up to six months in jail
If you are convicted of a second or subsequent prostitution offense, you may be sentenced to a longer jail sentence. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may face additional penalties as well. For example, if you were caught in the act of prostitution in your vehicle, the courts may require you to surrender the car.
What Defenses Are Potentially Used Against Solicitation of Prostitution?
Beyond the potential jail time and fines, a prostitution conviction may impact your personal and professional life with damage to your reputation. Suppose you are facing charges of solicitation or prostitution in Santa Barbara. In that case, it is in your best interests to retain a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling these types of cases.
At the Aron Law Firm, our sex crimes defense attorneys have experience helping clients fight against these charges and achieve the best possible result. When you partner with the Aron Law Firm, your lawyer may examine your case’s details to determine the appropriate defense to help you get the allegations reduced or dismissed.
Potential defense strategies may include:
- Insufficient evidence to garner a conviction
- A mistake of the facts surrounding the charge
- A lack of pertinent evidence to garner a conviction
Partner with Skilled Santa Barbara Prostitution Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with prostitution or solicitation of prostitution in Santa Barbara, do not delay in securing legal counsel for your case. The Aron Law Firm is a criminal defense firm in Santa Barbara led by former Deputy District Attorney William Aron. We provide our clients with a thorough analysis of their case and work vigorously to attain our client’s most beneficial outcomes. To speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your situation, schedule a confidential case review today by completing a contact form or calling 805-317-7827.