Solicitation of a prostitute is referred to under Pennsylvania law as “patronizing a prostitute.” The penalties for this offense are similar to those for engaging in prostitution. This offense may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.
Even a conviction for a misdemeanor criminal offense such as solicitation can have damaging long-term consequences, so it is wise for anyone facing charges connected with patronizing prostitution to consult an experienced Pennsylvania solicitation lawyer. A dedicated criminal defense attorney could build a defensive strategy designed to reach the best possible disposition of your case.
Under the Pennsylvania code, an individual may be convicted of solicitation, or patronizing a prostitute, if that individual either hires someone to “engage in a sexual activity” or if they goe into a “house of prostitution” with the intent of participating in sexual activity. (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. §5902(e).)
Prostitution itself is defined to include engaging in sex as a business, hanging out in a public place seeking to be hired for sex or being caught in a house of prostitution. For more information about this crime, consult with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania prostitution attorney.
The penalties for patronizing a prostitute or engaging in prostitution increase in severity according to certain key factors. Prior convictions for these offenses will increase the potential penalties. And engaging in either practice by those who realize that they are HIV positive or have AIDS will substantially increase the severity of the crime.
For a first or second conviction of patronizing a prostitute, the offense is treated as a third-degree misdemeanor. This means it may be penalized by no more than one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If someone commits solicitation a third time, the crime is treated as a second-degree misdemeanor and the maximum penalties increase to $5,000 in fines and incarceration for up to two years.
For a fourth or subsequent conviction for patronizing a prostitute, the crime becomes a misdemeanor of the first degree, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine as high as $10,000. These penalties would cause this type of offense to be considered a felony in many jurisdictions.
Finally, if someone patronizes a prostitute while knowing that they are HIV positive or manifesting AIDS, then the crime is considered a third-degree felony with maximum penalties that include up to $15,000 in fines and as much as seven years of imprisonment.
Severe penalties may also be assessed to those convicted of offenses such as promoting prostitution and promoting the prostitution of a minor. In many cases, promotion of prostitution is treated as a third-degree felony.
The crime of promoting prostitution covers a wide range of activities including encouraging someone to become or remain a prostitute, soliciting a person to patronize a prostitute, procuring a prostitute for a patron, and transporting or paying for transportation for someone to engage in prostitution. (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. §5902(b).) These crimes carry severe penalties, therefore, a defendant should obtain the services of a Pennsylvania solicitation lawyer.
The findings of fact play a tremendous role in determining whether an individual may be convicted of solicitation or patronizing a prostitute. So, an experienced Pennsylvania solicitation lawyer could help ensure that the best available evidence is collected, preserved and presented in a manner calculated to bring about the right result.
In addition, a dedicated criminal lawyer will also advocate skillfully at all stages of the proceedings and make use of every available defense strategy. To learn how an experienced attorney could help you reach the best possible outcome in your case, contact our office for a free consultation.
David Clark Attorney at Law