The crime of prostitution generally encompasses any act of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations in return for financial compensation. Obviously there is some subjectivity, particularly from state to state regarding exactly what constitutes “promiscuous sexual relations.” Nonetheless, first-time prostitution offenses can be punishable by as much as three months in jail and fines which reach as high as $1,000. In some situations, if a vehicle was used in the commission of the alleged prostitution crime, that vehicle can be impounded and even sold by the state. In most states prostitution charges are known as enhanceable offenses meaning should the person be convicted of subsequent criminal convictions, those convictions will result in higher sentences and punishments.
Generally, a second prostitution offense within twenty-four months will result in stiffer punishments including as much as a year in jail and a fine as high as $3,000. Should the alleged act of prostitution take place in a school or park zone, the punishments will increase significantly. Prostitution convictions remain a part of your criminal record, generally for life, and you will be required to explain that conviction when applying for employment or even renting an apartment. Those with convictions for prostitution may additionally be barred from any activities which involve children—coaching youth baseball team or working with the youth in 4-H. Aside from the criminal penalties and the inability to gain employment and housing, obtain a government loan for college and obtain a professional license, there is the obvious social stigma attached to being convicted of prostitution.
As you can see, any charges of prostitution are very serious and can have far-reaching consequences. A highly qualified criminal defense attorney can help you through your case, determining the very best defense for your particular circumstances. Your attorney may claim entrapment should a police officer have been involved in enticing you into committing a crime you would not otherwise have committed. Be aware, however, that despite movies and television shows to the contrary, proving entrapment can be very difficult. The due process defense may be employed by your attorney, meaning a public official such as a police officer displayed clearly outrageous conduct during the course of the “sting.” In other words, if the state’s conduct violated your due process rights, your criminal defense attorney may be able to use this to have the charges dismissed.
Finally, your attorney may claim lack of probable cause which generally means you were arrested prior to an actual agreement to engage in prostitution for financial compensation. An explicit offer to engage in some type of sexual conduct must have been reached—and documented in order for the state to prove their case against you. Of course the judge will be the final determinant as to whether the state had a reasonable belief, based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, that you actually committed an act of prostitution.
Your attorney will work hard to ensure the charges of prostitution do not derail the remainder of your life, therefore it is important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on board as soon as charges of prostitution have been made. Don’t wait, hoping the charges will go away—call an attorney immediately and exercise your right to remain silent until you have had the opportunity to speak with your attorney and explore the options for your future
Although there are many levels of charges where the crime of assault is concerned, they are all very serious. Simple assault is less severe than aggravated assault nonetheless charges of simple assault can still cause you considerable problems in your life, both present and future. Simple assault is generally a misdemeanor, meaning it is a less serious crime and will bring no more than one year in jail. Charges of simple assault mean you have caused another person to be apprehensive and fearful that you will cause them harm. No touching actually has to occur for charges of simple assault to be filed although generally speaking assault entails touching without consent or the act of one person applying indirect or direct force to another human being without their consent.
There have been many cases of two people in a verbal argument which escalated to the point where one of them made a threat which the other considered to be serious enough that there might actually be a follow-through. For instance, if you tell another person you are going to punch them in the face and that person reasonably believes you will do so, then simple assault has occurred. In other cases two people could be engaged in a verbal argument and one of them pokes the other on the shoulder in order to make his or her point. This can be considered simple assault if it could reasonably have caused the other person to be fearful. Pointing a weapon of any type can be considered simple assault even if the person pointing the weapon did not actually intend to use the weapon.
Aggravated assault is a much more serious crime, with much more serious penalties and punishments. Aggravated assault can be charged when assault with a deadly weapon takes place. Wearing a disguise in the commission of assault can bump up the charges to aggravated assault (when the alleged perpetrator has taken care to disguise his or her face). Further, certain groups of people are more protected than the general public in that if simple assault is directed toward them it can automatically be enhanced to aggravated assault. These groups include police officers, firefighters, park rangers, state or federal employees and teachers. Aside from this group, aggravated assault generally wounds, disfigures or endangers the life of the alleged victim.
Unfortunately, because charges of assault can be somewhat subjective, there are instances where a person is unfairly charged with the crime of assault. A conviction for assault—simple or aggravated—can have very far-reaching effects. The convicted person will end up with a permanent criminal record which can prohibit them from finding employment or housing, returning to college with a government loan or obtaining a professional license. In addition, there is the stigma surrounding a criminal conviction.
If you’ve been charged with assault it is imperative that you immediately seek legal representation. Perhaps the most common defense to charges of assault are consent and self-defense, and your attorney will explore all the options for your specific case to determine the best course of action for you and your future.
Charges of domestic violence are always very serious, however in some instances such charges can have an extremely negative impact on pending child custody and support proceedings—on both sides of the issue. Domestic violence encompasses physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse and intimidation. Those who perpetrate domestic violence seek to control the victims through instilling fear in them and using threats, backed up by past violent behaviors. In some cases victims of domestic violence may be unwilling to even ask for child support due to fear of retaliation.
The perpetrator of the domestic violence may make false promises to pay the child support, then later renege, knowing the victim will be too afraid of repercussions to go back to court and demand support for the children. He or she may also ask to make direct child support payments rather than suffer through wage garnishments, then later stop making payments altogether. Sometimes the person who has engaged in domestic violence will also threaten the victim during a child custody case, saying he will take the children and disappear or will kill his ex, or any threats which will cause the victim to allow him to have some sort of custody or visitation.
It’s easy to see how a perpetrator of domestic violence can use intimidation to come out ahead in a child custody or child support case. On the flip side, false allegations of domestic violence can be made in order to gain the upper hand in a child custody case as well. It is actually not all that rare that false allegations are made in such situations. Perhaps there are bitter feelings about the divorce and revenge is a motivator. The parent—usually the mother—may make allegations of domestic abuse as a way to “get back” at the other parent knowing custody will almost certainly go her way after such allegations are made. Jealousy is a common motivator when the ex-spouse is with another person, and since there are virtually no repercussions for those who falsely accuse an ex of domestic violence, there is not deterrent to such behavior.
Because of the serious nature of domestic violence charges, courts are likely to err on the side of caution, handing down restraining orders with virtually no supporting evidence. The accused is basically then considered guilty until he is able to be proven innocent in family court. The parent falsely accused of domestic violence should fight hard to prove innocence in court by presenting character witnesses in court as well as working hard to find others willing to swear to the accuser’s potential motivators for making false allegations. False allegations are extremely difficult to combat and require the services of a highly experienced family attorney who can use their extensive knowledge to protect the rights of their client.
Whether you are a victim of domestic violence or the parent falsely accused of the crime, it is imperative that you have solid legal representation during your child custody and support proceedings.
Sex trafficking in most states is a separate crime from prostitution and involves receiving, recruiting, enticing, providing or obtaining an individual then aid in the prostitution of that individual. No person may legally consent to sex trafficking, therefore the typical defenses of consent or mistakes in age will not work in cases of sex trafficking. Your attorney may be able to defend you based on improper police procedure or improperly obtained evidence. The punishments and penalties for sex trafficking crimes are very serious and should the victim have suffered bodily harm or was held in bondage for more than six months, the punishments are even more severe.
Heavy fines, years in prison and a permanent criminal record can be the end result of charges of human trafficking and should the victim of the trafficking be a child, the person convicted could spend decades behind bars and end up with a sex offender registration mandate for the remainder of their life. Human sex trafficking is the third largest criminal industry in the world, following closely behind arms dealing and drug dealing. The United Nations believes sex trafficking generates billions annually and expects human sex trafficking to overtake drug dealing in the near future.
Human trafficking is likened to modern day slavery however the charges and accusations can be blown out of proportion by the prosecutor on the case. Attorneys who defend those charged with sex trafficking must have an extremely sophisticated understanding of the law surrounding sex trafficking cases as well as extensive experience defending those charged with the crime. In some instances a person can find themselves facing sex trafficking charges even if they only peripherally participated in the sale or trade of a human being.
Since much human trafficking involves crossing state lines, it can be charged as a federal sex crime meaning the federal prosecutors have nearly unlimited resources to prosecute such cases. If the prosecution believes you transported, harbored or recruited the victim with full knowledge he or she would be going into sexual servitude then you could be charged with human trafficking. If you gained some level of financial profit from the transaction, your charges may increase. In many cases human trafficking charges are brought along with other charges such as conspiracy and coercion, meaning punishments can be greatly enhanced.
A person charged with human trafficking needs an experienced sex crimes criminal defense attorney on their case as quickly as the find out charges have been filed. It is imperative that you get the knowledgeable help you need before your case has gone too far and your attorney is unable to halt the wheels which have been set into motion. Because the punishments are so severe (as much as thirty years in prison) you need an aggressive defender who will be looking out for your best interests and your rights from start to finish. Take your charges seriously and find an attorney who will take them equally seriously.