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