Solicitation of Prostitution
If you face arrest, charges, or allegations of solicitation of prostitution, you have legal options. Hiring a lawyer can prevent you from paying the fines and serving the jail time that comes with a conviction. Still, it’s important to know how the law views solicitation of prostitution at the state and federal levels. That way, you can make informed decisions about your next steps.
Below, you can learn about what happens if the state charges you with solicitation of prostitution. You can also learn about the benefits of partnering with a criminal defense lawyer and how they can advocate for your future.
What Is Solicitation of Prostitution?
Prostitution occurs when someone knowingly trades money, valuable items, or something else of value for sexual contact. Prostitution laws vary widely from state to state and even between municipalities. For instance, the other person doesn’t always have to be a prostitute. One could solicit sexual activity from a bartender, stripper, or even a friend.
In some cases, someone accused of soliciting a prostitute could ultimately face charges for pandering in some cases. Pandering occurs when someone arranges (or offers to arrange) an exchange of money or valuables for prostitution.
Laws Vary Widely From State to State
Some places handle prostitution much differently than others. For example, Nevada permits prostitution if it occurs in one of its highly regulated brothels and in a municipality that allows it. This is the only U.S. state to allow legal prostitution, though.
Still, many states do not make it illegal to solicit a prostitute. Under Arizona law, for example, it is illegal to engage in prostitution. However, it is not illegal under state law to solicit a prostitute. Yet, local ordinances in many municipalities make it illegal to offer money for sex or agree to pay for a sexual act.
Under Phoenix city codes, solicitation of prostitution is illegal. Anyone who offers, agrees to, or hires a prostitute to commit a sexual act is guilty of this crime.
A conviction of this crime requires proving that the defendant:
- Knowingly offered money or valuables to a prostitute
- Intended to engage in a sexual act or entice the party to perform a sexual act
In other words, you cannot accidentally solicit a prostitute under these laws. This is an important part of the defense in many cases.
A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Explain How Your State’s Laws Apply
If you could face charges for solicitation of prostitution, and you are not sure of local laws, consider connecting with a criminal defense attorney near you. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible can protect your rights and potentially get a better outcome in your case.
Sometimes, attorneys can present strong evidence before prosecutors file charges against their clients, clearing their client’s name before there is a public record of what happened. Depending on your situation, this could serve as a feasible option.
Penalties for Solicitation of Prostitution
Hiring a prostitute may not seem like a serious offense, but there are significant consequences. You could face jail time, fines, probation, and community service from the criminal court system, in addition to societal consequences. Your arrest and conviction could greatly affect your daily life.
Criminal penalties increase with each offense. This is important in these cases because some offenders are habitual. This means they face arrest for the same crime again and again. You could face harsher penalties with each subsequent arrest if this happens to you.
Being convicted for soliciting prostitution may result in:
Being arrested for soliciting a prostitute can come with other criminal charges. For instance, maybe at the time of your arrest, the police discovered you possessed illicit drugs. In that situation, you could face penalties in addition to soliciting prostitution.
A conviction for soliciting a prostitute could result in anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in fines. The fine depends on whether you’ve been convicted of a similar crime in the past. It also depends on the evidence that the prosecution has against you.
Just like with fines, you could face anywhere from a few days to a few years in jail. This depends on the severity of the alleged offense and your criminal history.
Various Complications in Your Day-to-Day Life
Many people write off soliciting a prostitute as a minor offense because it’s considered a non-violent crime. Still, many states and municipalities take this crime seriously.
In addition to facing jail time and fines, you could also:
- Have problems retaining custody of your child. Your child’s other parent may allege that because you solicited a prostitute, you’re not a fit parent. If successful, their allegations could affect your custodial agreement, including how often you see your child.
- Problems getting employment. Getting convicted of a crime can show up on any subsequent background checks. This could make it difficult to get certain positions, such as jobs in education.
- Damage to your reputation. In general, society frowns on those who engage prostitutes. A conviction could damage your reputation in the community, hurt your marriage, and threaten your other relationships.
You Could Benefit From Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Having a knowledgeable criminal defense law firm can safeguard your future. At first glance, many solicitation cases seem insurmountable. The police witnessed what appeared to be an attempt at hiring a prostitute, or the party was caught in the act. However, an experienced attorney can fight these charges and seek a fair outcome.
When a criminal defense lawyer represents you, they can:
Review the Circumstances of Your Arrest
Your attorney can learn as much as possible about what led to your arrest. This could include asking you many questions—some of which may involve sensitive matters. You should be honest with your lawyer and answer all questions accurately. You can trust your attorney and discuss what happened honestly. What you share helps them determine what happened and develop a defense strategy based on the facts.
Many times, small details matter. Try to remember all the details of what happened, and do not be embarrassed to share them with the lawyer. Anything you share with your lawyer is confidential. However, you should not discuss the case with anyone else outside of your private, privileged conversations with your attorney. This is essential to protect your rights.
Uncover Mistakes Made by Law Enforcement
Law enforcement officers are only human. They make mistakes, too. Often, these mistakes could jeopardize the strength of the prosecution’s case. Your attorney may ask questions about the arresting officer’s actions before, during, and following your arrest. The goal is to uncover any mistakes made or violations of your rights.
Sometimes, this could allow your attorney to ask the court to throw out any evidence recovered after the mistake. This could limit the evidence the prosecutor has to build a case. Even if the case continues, it could be much weaker, and you could have a better chance at a positive outcome.
Develop a Strong Defense Strategy
Your attorney aims to develop a strong defense that gets you a better outcome in your case. A positive outcome could include reduced charges, a dismissal of the charges, or another result. Still, these outcomes depend on your case’s strength.
Your lawyer can take everything they know about the applicable laws and apply them to your case. This strategy determines their approach and their next steps. Negotiating for a lesser charge, trying to get evidence thrown out, and many other strategies begin long before the case goes to trial.
Protect Your Constitutional Rights
Throughout the legal process, your attorney stands by your side to ensure no one violates your constitutional rights. You have several rights—including the right to legal representation—that law enforcement, the prosecution, or the courts could violate. Your attorney intends to prevent this from happening.
Your attorney can stand beside you throughout this process. They provide advice, guidance, and support. They know how to navigate the system, what to expect, and how to get a more positive outcome. They could offer tips on how to dress for court, what to say, and what to do. Their job is to make this stressful process easier for you.
Possible Defenses in a Solicitation of Prostitution Case
When law enforcement accuses a person of solicitation, it is often because of an undercover police operation, or an officer observed the interaction. The circumstances of the arrest often determine which defense benefits the accused. Your attorney can consider many options while they learn more about your case.
Some of the most common defenses in solicitation cases include the following:
Solicitation Is Not Illegal
There are some areas where solicitation is not a crime. There are related offenses but offering money or valuables in exchange for sexual activity is not. In these cases, it is sometimes necessary to show the accused party made an offer but did not follow through with sexual activity.
There Is No Proof of Intent
Evidence must show that the accused intended to exchange money or valuables for sexual activity. The case is unlikely to move forward when there is insufficient evidence to establish intent. Some offenders face arrest when police make a mistake and misunderstand their intent.
For example, someone shouting something sexual from a passing car to a woman on the street—however inappropriate the police officer believes it is does not meet the evidentiary requirements for solicitation. There must be evidence that the defendant intended to give the other party money in exchange for sexual contact.
Undercover police officers often run vice stings to catch sex workers and others participating in the prostitution trade. Entrapment is a common defense when a solicitation arrest occurs in one of these stings.
Entrapment occurs when the undercover police officer posing as a prostitute overbearingly attempts to coerce an individual into offering money or agreeing to pay them. In short, they convince them to commit a crime they would be unlikely to commit without the undercover officer’s enticing.
Your attorney knows what it takes to prove entrapment and how to present evidence of it in court. Proving entrapment could get your case dismissed, evidence thrown out, or a not-guilty verdict at trial.
Procedural Errors Invalidate the Evidence
Attorneys often identify procedural errors that jeopardize the prosecutor’s case. For example, if a police officer mishandled evidence or failed to protect your rights, the court could throw out any evidence they collected. This could make it impossible for prosecutors to move your case through the court system.
If the case moves forward, the prosecution might have little evidence against you, and a jury could find you not guilty.
Believe it or not, it is common for police to mistakenly arrest the wrong person. This is especially true in cases when they witness the interaction and then arrest the party later. Many things can cause mistaken identity, such as someone else driving your car or simply identifying the wrong person walking down the street.
Your attorney could identify the correct party or work to show why they believe you were not the person involved. Supporting information in your case could include eyewitness statements, videos, and photographic evidence.
You Did Not Exchange Anything for Sex
There are no laws against having casual sex with someone you just met. It only becomes illegal if law enforcement believes you traded money, goods, or services for sexual contact. Consider this scenario to understand more. You pick up a hitchhiker, and on the drive, develop a connection and have sexual relations. In the eyes of the law, that’s okay. However, if you pick up a hitchhiker and try to exchange a ride for sexual relations, that’s illegal.
Your lawyer can assert that because you didn’t exchange anything for sexual activity, the state shouldn’t press criminal charges against you.
Discuss Your Defense Options With a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near You
You do not want to represent yourself when you face accusations or charges of solicitation of prostitution. You could face significant consequences, including criminal penalties, the loss of your job, serious social consequences, and harm to your reputation. You want someone who can fight for your best interests and is knowledgeable about navigating the criminal justice system.
You could start a no-obligation case evaluation with a criminal defense law firm today. You can learn about a lawyer’s legal services and what you can expect from the legal process.