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Tucson Prostitution Defense Lawyer

Prostitution is illegal in all but a few counties across the United States. Though prostitution has been around for centuries, the government has been trying to regulate or put a stop to it. It has typically been tolerated in some regions of the city, known as “redlight districts,” to centralize the act and avoid it being so widespread.

Many argue that prostitution is a victimless crime, but the government criminalized prostitution to keep minors and women from being exploited. Prostitution laws also aim to protect public health and welfare from the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and associated forms of crime.

Prostitution charges can carry severe consequences in Tucson. If you have been charged with prostitution or solicitation, you need experienced legal counsel immediately. The criminal defense attorneys with Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, can help you with your prostitution case.

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Arizona Prostitution and Solicitation Laws

Both prostitution and the solicitation of prostitution are illegal in Tucson and can carry severe criminal penalties if convicted. The following provides an overview of Arizona prostitution and solicitation laws, potential defenses, and what you should do if you are charged with one of these offenses.

Prostitution Under Arizona Law

According to Arizona law, prostitution involves engaging in, agreeing to, or offering to engage in sexual activity with another person in exchange for money, goods, or services. The actual act of prostitution does not need to take place, just the agreement or offer. 

Solicitation of Prostitution in Arizona

It is illegal under ARS § 13-3214 to solicit someone to engage in the act of prostitution. Solicitation involves luring, inducing, or enticing another person to commit prostitution. This means encouraging or asking another person to engage in a sexual act in exchange for money or other compensation. Solicitation also does not require the actual sexual act to take place, just the request or attempt to get another person to commit prostitution.

Tucson Penalties for Prostitution and Solicitation 

Under Tucson law, both solicitation of prostitutes and prostitution are Class 1 misdemeanors. Class 1 misdemeanors are the highest level of a misdemeanor in Arizona. If convicted of prostitution or solicitation, the potential penalties include: 

  • Six months or less in jail
  • Fines of $2,500 or less
  • Up to three years of probation 

Tucson law institutes a required minimum jail sentence for prostitution convictions:

  • 1st offense: 15 days behind bars
  • 2nd offense: 30 days
  • 3rd offense: 60 days
  • 4th offense: 180 days

Approach to Prostitution and Solicitation Enforcement in Tucson

Pima County prosecutors and the Tucson Police Department take prostitution and solicitation offenses very seriously. The police department conducts undercover sting operations frequently to target both customers and sex workers. Tucson has made it a priority to enforce prostitution laws for many reasons:

  • To reduce the exploitation of sex workers and human trafficking 
  • Improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods with high prostitution rates
  • Attempt to limit the public health risks that correspond with prostitution 

The city of Tucson does try to provide support services to aid sex workers in leaving the industry, but they still aggressively prosecute anyone caught selling or buying sexual services. The Tucson Police Department and prosecutors generally do not provide much leniency for someone charged with prostitution or solicitation. 

Even for first-time offenders, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is strictly enforced. Having a criminal defense attorney with experience navigating the Tucson legal system is crucial if you are facing prostitution or solicitation charges. A lawyer may be aware of diversion programs or an alternative resolution that may mitigate the penalties of prostitution.

What Are Defenses in Solicitation and Prostitution Cases

The skilled criminal defense attorneys with Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, can build a strong case and discuss the potential legal defenses for your circumstances with you. These defenses could include:

  • Entrapment: This situation occurs when a member of law enforcement persuades you to commit a crime that, in other circumstances, you would not have committed. Entrapment could be an undercover police officer pestering you to agree to sex in exchange for money.
  • Lack of intent: The prosecution is required to prove you had an intention to engage in prostitution or solicit another person to do so. For instance, jokingly asking someone “how much?” may be misconstrued as true intent.
  • Illegal search: Evidence that was obtained via an unconstitutional search could be excluded.
  • Mistaken identity: If the police were investigating solicitation or prostitution, you could have been mistaken for another person.

A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will comb through the evidence and facts of the case to determine what defense is best.

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What to Do When Charged with Prostitution or Solicitation 

If you have been arrested in Tucson in conjunction with prostitution or solicitation of prostitution, it’s wise to exercise your rights and remain silent. You should contact a defense attorney before speaking to law enforcement. A lawyer can advise you of all your legal rights, work to have charges reduced or dismissed, and defend your case in court if needed. 

Follow the advice of your attorney regarding the option to fight the prostitution charges at trial or attempt to negotiate a deal with the prosecution. Your attorney can also advise you on what additional options may be available to you, such as pre-trial diversion programs.

You should not negotiate with the police or prosecutors on your own. A lawyer can handle the process so your case ends with the best possible outcome.

Speak With a Tucson Prostitution Defense Lawyer for Help Today

If you have been charged with prostitution or solicitation of prostitution in Tucson, our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, are available to talk about the details of your case and work with you to create a solid defense against your charges. Our legal team will comb through all available evidence, carefully review eyewitness testimony and police reports, and work to create doubt in the prosecution’s case.
With the potential jail time faced by first-time offenders, it is critical to your case that you have legal counsel on your side from the very beginning. We will protect your legal rights and fight to have your charges lessened or dismissed. Contact us today using our secure online form to schedule a free consultation.