Patronizing a Prostitute Charges
Patronizing a Prostitute
Pennsylvania prohibits the business of engaging in sexual relations for money, more commonly known as prostitution. Despite the fact that this practice frequently involves two consenting adults, lawmakers have criminalized it because of incidents of violence against women, fears about victims being forced into the industry against their will, and several other concerns.
Both the person who agrees to provide sex for compensation and the person who offers to pay for that sex can face criminal charges. Judges and prosecutors will not only use these charges to shame alleged offenders accused of patronizing or soliciting prostitutes, but they will also attempt to impose extremely harsh punishments for a so-called crime in which nobody was actually harmed.
West Chester Solicitation Lawyer
If you have been arrested for allegedly entering into an agreement to pay for sex, it is critical for you to have legal representation as soon as possible. Ciccarelli Law Offices is familiar with the many ways that innocent people can face these types of charges because of misunderstandings when there was absolutely no criminal intent.
Our Chester County solicitation attorneys have Southeastern Pennsylvania offices in Philadelphia, Kennett Square, Radnor, Plymouth Meeting, Malvern, King of Prussia, Lancaster, and West Chester. We will provide an honest and through evaluation of your case when you call (610) 692-8700 to arrange a free, confidential consultation.
Chester County Patronizing a Prostitute Overview
- How can a person be charged with this offense?
- What are the consequences if an alleged offender is convicted?
- Are there any defenses against these types of charges?
Pennsylvania Patronizing a Prostitute Charges
Under 18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 5902, a person is guilty of prostitution if he or she either:
- is an inmate of a house of prostitution or otherwise engages in sexual activity as a business; or
- loiters in or within view of any public place for the purpose of being hired to engage in sexual activity.
A person thus commits the offense of patronizing prostitutes when he or she either:
- hires a prostitute or any other person to engage in sexual activity with him or her; or
- enters or remains in a house of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.
An alleged offender does not need to physically exchange money or engage in the actual sexual activity in order to be arrested for soliciting a prostitute. Police will only need some evidence of a verbal, online, written, or other agreement in order to charge a person with having patronized prostitutes.
Penalties for Patronizing a Prostitute in Chester County
If a person is charged with solicitation of a prostitute in Pennsylvania, the severity of the consequences will depend on whether he or she has been previously convicted of this offense. The statutory maximum penalties increase based on the specific classification of the offense:
- First or Second Offense — Third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and fine of up to $2,500;
- Third Offense — Second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in prison and fine of up to $5,000;
- Fourth or Subsequent Offense — First-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison and fine of up to $10,000; or
- Alleged Offender Knew He or She Was Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Positive or Manifesting Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) — Third-degree felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and fine of up to $15,000.
Fines and incarceration are not the only punishments that somebody convicted of patronizing prostitutes can face. Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 5902(e.2) states that a court imposing a sentence for a second or subsequent solicitation offense will also publish the sentencing order in a newspaper of general circulation in the judicial district in which the court sits, with the court costs imposed on the alleged offender including the cost of publishing that sentencing order.
Additionally, this can be an incredibly damaging charge for a person to have on his or her criminal record, possibly limiting future employment possibilities. In certain cases, alleged offenders may even be required to register as sex offenders.
Defenses Against Patronizing a Prostitute in Philadelphia
Because no actual sex has to occur in order for a person to be charged with this crime, it is not uncommon for somebody to be accused of solicitation when he or she may have been joking or misunderstood what was being suggested in a casual conversation. A lawyer who has handled similar cases of patronizing prostitutes can investigate the specific circumstances of your own case to determine where police may have erred or violated your rights.
Some of the defenses a criminal attorney may be able to utilize include, but are not limited to:
- Entrapment — Police pushed alleged offender to make offer he or she would not have otherwise made;
- False Accusation — Alleged offenders who may have inquired about an escort or similar service could have simply been seeking a companion for a night out without any expectations of or agreements to pay for sexual activity;
- Lack of Evidence — Prosecutor has no proof that alleged offender offered to hire prostitute;
- No Criminal Intent — Alleged offender made no offer to pay for sexual activity; and/or
- Relationship — An alleged offender cannot be charged with soliciting a prostitute if he gives money or items of value to a person with whom he or she has a legally recognized personal relationship.
Find a Solicitation Lawyer in Pennsylvania
Have you been charged with patronizing a prostitute in Pennsylvania? You should make sure that you have skilled legal counsel for help dealing with police and defending yourself in court.
Ciccarelli Law Offices fights to achieve the most favorable outcomes for clients in communities throughout Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, and Philadelphia County. Call (610) 692-8700 to have our Chester County prostitution solicitation attorneys review your case during a free consultation.