Being charged with prostitution or solicitation can be nerve-wracking. Not only does the charge have serious penalties, it also exposes you to societal stigma and public embarrassment. The charge can harm both your professional and personal life. An experienced DC solicitation and DC prostitution attorney can work with you to decrease the negative consequences and achieve the best outcome to the charge.
Prostitution vs. Solicitation
When one person offers sexual contact in exchange for money and the other accepts, both parties can be charged with criminal offenses. The person offering the sexual contact can be charged with prostitution. The person accepting the offer can be arrested for solicitation.
To be technical, the DC Code defines prostitution as the act of giving or receiving sexual contact in exchange for money. Solicitation of prostitution is defined as the act of enticing, inviting or persuading someone to agree to have sex in exchange for money.
Many people find themselves in court for solicitation of prostitution after being nabbed in undercover sting operations. If this has happened to you, you need the advice of an experienced DC solicitation attorney.
DC Undercover Police Operations
Many people are arrested for solicitation of prostitution when the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department engage in sting operations focused solely on prostitution/solicitation.
A common sting involves an undercover police placing advertisements on online websites such as Backpage.com or Craigslist.com where they chat, exchange messages and make phone calls with unsuspecting people. The undercover officer and the unsuspecting respondent will then meet in a hotel where the two agree on a price for sex. As soon as an agreement is struck, the undercover police signal her colleagues who charge in and arrest the person for solicitation of prostitution.
Possible Charges For Solicitation In DC
Under Washington DC law, a first conviction for solicitation of prostitution carries a maximum sentence of ninety (90) days in jail and/or a $500 fine. A second solicitation conviction carries a maximum of one hundred and thirty-five (135) days in jail and/or a fine of up to $750. A third solicitation conviction carries a maximum of one hundred and eighty (180) days in prison and/or a fine of $1,000.
More Prostitution-Related Charges
DC Police have also earmarked some places as “Prostitution Free Zones.” If the solicitation or prostitution arrests occur in any of these places, the penalties are enhanced. This crime carries a potential 180-day jail sentence and/or a $300 fine.
DC laws also make it illegal to recruit or compel persons into prostitution or to run a prostitution house.
Furthermore, DC laws make it illegal to entice children (under 18 years old) into prostitution or to abduct children for prostitution-related purposes. Such an offense carries a maximum sentence of twenty (20) years and/or a maximum fine of $20,000.
There are defenses to each of these charges. For example, in solicitation, you can argue that the police jumped the gun by arresting you before an agreement was struck. You can also argue entrapment, that the police arrested you even though you were not seeking sexual favors or that you only sought non-sexual services such as a massage.
With the help of an experienced DC solicitation lawyer, you or someone you know who has been arrested for solicitation of prostitution or a prostitution-related offense can clear their names and be free from the damaging accusations.
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