Prostitution is often referred to as a victimless crime, although in many instances young women or girls are forced into a business where they must solicit or offer themselves to men for sexual activity for payment.
In other contexts, though, women and men do advertise themselves without a middle man, or “pimp,” by posing as escorts. Strippers may also solicit patrons at clubs either for themselves or for club owners or others who offer “protection.”
In any case, both the woman or man selling her or his sexual services and the man who agrees to pay for it and does something in furtherance of the act are subject to arrest. In other words, you can be arrested for engaging in prostitution, soliciting for it, or agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution.
Elements of Prostitution
To be charged with prostitution, you must meet the following elements:
- Engage in an act of prostitution, which means a sexual act, or merely groping or touching the body of another to arouse or sexually satisfy yourself in exchange for money or other consideration such as drugs,
- And, that you engaged in the act willfully, or deliberately
To be charged with soliciting prostitution, you elicited or lured another person to engage in prostitution and did so intentionally. This means there often must be an exchange of money or other consideration, or the offer to do so.
The “john” or person who is solicited or who actively seeks someone to engage in prostitution, must intentionally agree to the act and do some act in furtherance of the crime. This can mean that handing over the consideration or telling the woman or man to undress may be sufficient.
Further, living off someone engaged in the crime, or keeping a house of prostitution, such as a brothel, are typically felony offenses with substantial prison time.
Other evidence can be used to bolster the charges against you. Examples are being found with condoms, drugs, large amounts of money, or by dressing seductively, and you are observed to be repeatedly stopping or inducing others to come with you.
In the case of escort or call girls, finding an address book filled with names of many men may be used against them as well.
Prostitution is generally charged as a misdemeanor. A first offense in some states may only mean a fine and probation or it may be a disorderly persons charge, which is not a criminal offense. Subsequent convictions can subject the offender to jail time from 30 to 45 days and up to 90 days or more.
Many states may also suspend your driver’s license if a car was used to commit the offense.
If you have been charged with engaging in prostitution, you risk jail time, loss of your driver’s license in some cases, and a criminal record. Call the law office of James Silverstein, a criminal defense attorney who has represented numerous clients charged with prostitution.