Solicitation is the act of enticing, inviting, or persuading someone to agree to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for money. In the District of Columbia, being charged with Solicitation of Prostitution can carry serious consequences. The Washington Metropolitan Police Department has wide ranging powers at their disposal to arrest people suspected of solicitation and prostitution. Among the most effective means the MPD uses are sting operations. The sting operations MPD uses are legal. Officers can legally ask someone to discuss or engage in illegal behavior as well. Because of this, many people believe entering into an entrapment defense would be the best defense available. However, the DC solicitation attorneys at Bruckheim& Patel know this could do more harm than good.
Solicitation carries stiff penalties if convicted. This is why it is important to use an experienced legal team to combat these charges. Each solicitation conviction carries with it bigger penalties. The first solicitation conviction has a penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. The second offense carries up to 135 days in jail and/or a $750 fine. A third or subsequent convictions have the potential to be very extreme with jail time of up to two years and/or a fine of $12,500. Furthermore, these punishments can be enhanced if the incident occurred with a person under the age of 18 or if they are in “prostitution free zones” which are located throughout the district.
Entrapment is the circumstance in which a law enforcement officer persuades or convinces a person to commit a criminal act that the person would not have otherwise committed. However, pursuant to the law, a police officer merely asking for or discussing illegal acts is not enough to prove entrapment. Instead, the defendant must prove, using evidence, that the law enforcement officer induced the behavior. Next, the government must show the defendant was willing to solicit. This can be done through prior conversations, exchanges of money, or going to a different location with a specific intent. By entering into an entrapment defense, it places the burden on the defendant to prove the law enforcement officers illegally induced them to engage in solicitation. Furthermore, while prior criminal history and character evidence is not normally admissible in trial, with an entrapment defense it is permitted to be admitted at trial against the defendant. This is another inherent hazard of this strategy as a person’s history can be used against them.
Due to these reasons, an entrapment defense might not be the best defense for you. Discussing your options with an experienced DC solicitation attorney is your best option to combat these charges and avoid stiff fines and jail times. Crafting the right defense, whether or not it’s an entrapment defense, is essential to the likelihood of a positive outcome at your trail. The legal team at Bruckheim& Patel has vast experience and an amazing record of success with this type of charge, and will work to get the best possible outcome for you. Call for a free confidential consultation at 202-930-3464.