Laws and Penalties for Solicitation of a Prostitute
Prostitution may be illegal in Pennsylvania, but it isn’t just those who are selling their bodies who are at risk of being prosecuted. In fact, those who are charged with solicitation of a prostitute can often face some strict penalties themselves. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the risks they face. This can lead to damaging consequences many individuals can’t overcome on their own, creating a criminal record that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Patronizing or Solicitation of a Prostitute?
The first step in the process is to understand what qualifies as solicitation of a prostitute. In the state of Pennsylvania, it is more frequently called patronizing a prostitute, which can create confusion among individuals who may be facing these charges. However, it means exactly the same thing. If you are facing these charges, you were caught trying to hire someone to engage in sexual acts in exchange for money. Most of the people who are arrested under these charges are caught during stings set up by the police force to catch individuals in the act of solicitation. Arrests can also be made if individuals are found to have entered a known house of prostitution and remain there with the intent of soliciting a prostitute.
When you are facing charges of soliciting a prostitute, they will fall under one of several categories. In fact, there are four specific charges you may face depending on the details of your case. These charges may include:
- A first or second offense counts as a third-degree misdemeanor.
- A third offense qualifies as a second-degree misdemeanor.
- A fourth or greater offense is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
- Any case where the solicitor is aware of being infected by HIV or AIDS automatically elevates the charges to a felony.
In most cases, solicitation of a prostitute will be restricted to a misdemeanor. However, the seriousness of the consequences will change based on the number of offenses the individual has been charged with. In addition to being charged with a felony if infected with HIV or AIDS, solicitation of a child can also result in a felony.
What Are the Penalties for These Actions?
The next question individuals often have is what consequences they can face as a result of these charges. The more times you are charged with this crime, the more serious the penalties become. According to Pennsylvania laws, a third degree misdemeanor of soliciting a prostitute can provide a sentence of up to one year in jail. Once individuals escalate to a second degree misdemeanor, they could be facing up to two years in jail. Finally, a first degree misdemeanor can result in up to five years in jail. When the case is treated as a felony, you could be facing up to seven years imprisonment.
If you’re facing charges of soliciting a prostitute, it’s important to understand exactly what these charges mean and what you could be facing. Despite the fact these charges come with relative minor consequences, it is still important to hire an experienced attorney to help you navigate your case and ensure you approach your case with the right tactic. Our attorneys will provide the guidance you need to plead your case and reduce the risk of being penalized with the maximum consequences. Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation of your legal rights