Lawyers and Prostitution Cases
While prostitution has often been characterized as a “victimless” crime, it is nonetheless a criminal offense that can subject the offender to jail time and loss of driving privileges in some states if a motor vehicle is involved. If you are charged with engaging in prostitution or solicitation, retain a criminal defense lawyer to ensure that all your rights are protected.
Engaging in Prostitution
Prostitution charges can result from any sexual or lewd act that is performed for consideration or money. It includes the prostitute as well as the customer for whom the act is performed. In many states, the offense of prostitution includes both of these elements:
- Performance of an act of prostitution
- The act was performed intentionally or purposely
A sexual or lewd act is not limited to sexual intercourse. It can include touching an intimate part of the body if the touching is done with the intent to sexually arouse or gratify the other person.
Soliciting prostitution involves a customer who initiates an interaction with another person to specifically engage in an act of prostitution. The solicitation can be done by the customer or by the prostitute. Many arrests occur when a customer or prostitute is in an area known for prostitution and officers observe interactions between scantily clad females and motorists driving slowly in the area.
Proof of Engaging in Prostitution
The state must prove that you not only agreed to engage in or to solicit an act of prostitution with the requisite intent, but that some additional act was performed in furtherance of the offense.
Both parties need not have the mutual intent to engage in prostitution—undercover agents routinely pose as prostitutes. Also, no money needs to actually be exchanged so long as some act is done that demonstrates the intent to commit the crime, such as driving to an area where the act will be performed or by giving an oral instruction to someone to undress or to perform the agreed upon act.
Other evidence of the intent to engage in prostitution includes possession of condoms or style of dress though it usually takes more than these types of evidence alone to prove intent.
What a Lawyer Can Do
A criminal defense attorney can assist in defending you if you're charged with engaging in or soliciting prostitution. Lawyers will undertake a number of defenses on your behalf, including:
- Lack of Credibility
- Lack of Evidence
When attractive decoy officers are used to lure suspects who otherwise would not have been interested in committing criminal acts, arrests may be challenged on grounds of entrapping the defendant into committing the crime.
An undercover officer usually records the conversation between herself and the customer to prove that the customer agreed to the act and performed some act in furtherance of it. An experienced attorney, however, may be able to show in some cases that there was no agreement over money or that the customer was only flirting with the decoy and never intended to actually engage in solicitation.
Mistake is a defense to the element of intent if the person merely happened to be in an area where prostitution occurs or simply pays for an escort online. In these cases, your criminal law lawyer can challenge the credibility of the evidence and force the prosecution to prove each element of the offense.
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