An agreement between consenting adults to have sex is not a crime unless money is involved. If you are caught offering extra money for sexual contact with someone else, you can be arrested for solicitation for prostitution. Solicitation can lead to jail time, fines, and a criminal record.
An arrest for solicitation can be embarrassing and damaging for your family. Calling an attorney for help can be a difficult phone call to make but it can make a big difference in putting one night behind you. After an arrest for solicitation, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for legal advice.
Solicitation involves asking another person to engage in an act of prostitution. Prostitution involves providing sexual acts or intercourse in exchange for money or other compensation. Even if the individuals never have sex with each other, an attempt to request sex for money may be a crime.
Prostitution is not limited to sex for money. Offering any compensation could be considered prostitution, including drugs, alcohol, jewelry, a place to stay, or services. Intimate acts that may qualify as prostitution can include intercourse, oral sex, or touching of sexual body parts.
Solicitation of a minor is a much more serious criminal offense. The offense may depend on the age of the person involved, with more severe penalties for soliciting minors under a certain age. It may be a defense to solicitation of a minor where the defendant reasonably believed the minor was an adult. However, this is not usually a defense for younger minors.
Online solicitation is becoming more common. Today, a lot of the sex industry in America has moved online through posting on personal ads or websites catering to sexual services. Online solicitation charges often involve a fake ad or police operating a sting. The ads or offers may entice a person to commit solicitation by agreeing to meet up for sexual acts in exchange for money.
The criminal penalties for solicitation of prostitution may depend on the specific situation. In general, solicitation of an adult is a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction may include up to a year in jail and a fine. A second offense may result in increased punishment.
Solicitation of a minor is a much more serious charge. Underage solicitation is generally a felony. As a felony, a conviction could result in 5 years in prison, or more. The degree of felony may increase if there are prior convictions or additional offenses involved.
Being labeled a sex offender is one of the most damaging penalties for a sex crime conviction. Fortunately, solicitation for sex with an adult is not a “registerable offense," in most states. A defendant convicted of a first offense for soliciting a prostitute will generally not require registering as a sex offender.
Soliciting a child is generally a registerable offense. A conviction for solicitation of a minor can restrict where the defendant can live or work after release. Offenders have to register with their local law enforcement office within a few days of release from prison. Offenders will have to re-register every year or anytime they plan to move.
Much of the information on the state sex offender registry is public. Anyone with internet access can search for offenders by name or location. The registry may include such information as:
Many solicitation of prostitution arrests are conducted without committing a sex act. It may be a police sting or finding a person with a “known prostitute" before anything happens. There may be little evidence that solicitation for sex ever happened. The police and prosecutors rely on the embarrassing nature of prostitution to get defendants to plead guilty, even if they have a very weak case.
There are common defense strategies for solicitation charges. Your lawyer can build a strong defense, including:
Getting arrested for solicitation of prostitution can be incredibly embarrassing. A conviction for trying to pay for sex with a prostitute can ruin your reputation and may put your job at risk. Attorneys with experience in sex crime defense understand the sensitive information involved in these situations. The attorney-client relationship will protect your privacy while providing legal advice. If you were charged with solicitation, contact a criminal defense lawyer who understands what is at stake.