Soliciting a prostitute is widely seen as a victim-less crime. Despite the fact that all parties to prostitution consent and no one is harmed, criminal penalties are still imposed on a person simply for offering someone something of value in exchange for sexual acts. You can be charged with solicitation regardless of whether any sexual acts even occur. A charge of solicitation can damage your reputation and relationships, and a conviction could result in jail time. A Montgomery County solicitation lawyer can help you to explore options to try to resolve your charges as quickly and quietly as possible and hopefully avoid the consequences of a conviction.
Under Pennsylvania Code Section 5902, you could be charged with a criminal offense for:
Solicitation or patronizing prostitutes. If you hire someone to engage in sexual activity, or if you enter a house of prostitution to engage in sexual activity, you can be charged with a third degree misdemeanor. If you are charged with soliciting a prostitution and you already have two prior convictions, your third offense is a second degree misdemeanor. For a fourth or subsequent offense, you will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. If you know you have HIV or AIDS, you can be charged with a third degree felony.
Soliciting a person to patronize a prostitute. If you encourage a friend or someone you know to patronize a prostitute, you can be charged with a second degree misdemeanor.
Leasing a place to be used for prostitution, or securing a prostitute for a patron, are also criminal offenses. A Montgomery County solicitation lawyer can represent you in arraignment when you learn what charges you face and can help you to decide how to plead to those charges.
Penalties for a third degree misdemeanor include up to one year of incarceration. For a second degree misdemeanor, you could go to jail for two years and pay a fine up to $5,000. For a third degree felony, the potential prison sentence could be as long as seven years.
Code Section 5902 also requires that a court imposing a penalty for a second or subsequent solicitation conviction must publish the sentencing order in a newspaper in the judicial district where the trial took place. You must cover the costs of the sentencing order being published, making it imperative that a Montgomery County solicitation lawyer is contacted as soon as you face this type of charge.
In many cases, people are tricked into the solicitation of prostitutes. If this happens to you, you can argue that you should not be found guilty because of entrapment. This is just one potential defense that can be raised in a trial to determine if you are guilty or prostitution. A Montgomery County solicitation lawyer will help you to try to introduce reasonable doubt about your guilt, or raise other defenses about your behavior, so you can avoid being convicted.
If you do not want the case to go to trial, your lawyer can also speak to a prosecutor assigned to your case about the possibility of a reduced charge or reduced penalty if you plead guilty of the solicitation offense.
To learn more about your options and to get help with your charges, contact a Montgomery County solicitation lawyer today.