Being charged with solicitation of or patronizing prostitution can have long lasting effects. In addition to the criminal consequences, prostitution charges carry a stigma that may result in family problems, losing a job, and a damaged reputation in the community. Although you may want to just go into a shell and cut yourself off from the outside world following a prostitution-related arrest, the better course of action is to start aggressively fighting the charges as soon as possible.
How Prostitution Arrests Happen
Soliciting or patronizing prostitution is a relatively simple offense to understand. It requires that a person solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with them in exchange for something of value. Prostitution arrests occur in several ways:
- Police watching an area where prostitution is known to occur and observing a transaction that appears to be related to prostitution.
- Sting operations where police officer pose as prostitutes.
- Raids on locations that house prostitutes.
- Online stings or intelligence gathering that leads to raids.
How Prostitution Cases Are Proven
During a sting operation, the police are generally recording all conversations as well as any texts, phone calls, and internet messages. The undercover officer will also usually testify about what agreement was made. An arrest following a raid is typically backed by similar evidence showing why the police made the raid plus testimony from the police that they found the accused with a prostitute or in a prostitution house.
Arrests that were not parts of stings or raids are generally much more difficult to prove. Usually, police will attempt to get the accused john and prostitute to make incriminating statements when the police make contact. If those attempts fail, the prosecution will later have a very difficult time proving that any sort of specific agreement was made and will be face with the choice of having to dismiss the case or arguing that the police observing what appeared to be prosecution is enough for a conviction.
What Other Crimes Can Be Charged
Prostitution charges do not preclude other charges from being brought. Possible additional charges include drug possession, lewdness if the act occurred in a car or public place, and statutory rape if the prostitute was a minor.
What Defenses Are Available
Prostitution defenses generally rely on a lack of available evidence. Even in a sting operation where everything was recorded, the police may have been so quick to make an arrest that there was no specific agreement to exchange money for sexual conduct. If the recorded conversations are open to interpretation about whether money was for sexual conduct or something else, it will be very difficult for the prosecution to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Many people accused of soliciting prostitution when a police officer was involved call the police actions entrapment. Entrapment, in legal terms, is inducing a person to commit a crime that they were not previously disposed to commit. Courts have repeatedly ruled that sting operations are not entrapment. This does not mean that there may not have been specific circumstances in your case that would allow a defense of entrapment or other defenses. To learn more about the defenses available, contact a criminal defense attorney.