Sex crimes involving prostitution are typically taken quite seriously in the United States. The stakes are high for anyone involved in this type of crime — not only due to the possible legal consequences but to the social stigma involved, as well. In Oregon, prostitution is illegal, as is the act of solicitation (also known as paying for a prostitute). But these are not the only cases prostitution lawyers handle. Depending on the circumstances, you could find yourself charged with promoting prostitution or compelling prostitution. Let’s take a look at the differences between these charges and examine what you should do if you are facing allegations like these.
An individual may be charged with promoting prostitution if they knowingly and intentionally own, control, manage, supervise, or maintain a place where prostitution is done or a prostitution enterprise; if they cause or induce another person to engage in prostitution or remain in a place where prostitution is done; if they receive or agree to receive money, property, goods, services, or some other item of value known to be derived from prostitution activities; or if they engage in any conduct that aids, facilitates, or institutes an act or enterprise of prostitution. This crime is informally known as pimping.
The charges of promoting prostitution are more serious than solicitation or prostitution itself. This is a Class C felony. It’s therefore punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $125,000 in fines. Not every individual found guilty of promoting prostitution will go to prison — some will spend time in jail and/or will be put on probation instead — it’s best not to take your chances. It’s essential that you contact a criminal defense attorney with ample experience in these matters to ensure your rights are protected in court.
The act of compelling prostitution differs from promotion in the sense that it typically involves force and/or fear. A person can be charged with this crime if they knowingly use intimidation or force to compel another individual to attempt or engage in prostitution; if they cause or help a minor under 18 years of age to engage in prostitution; or if they cause their child, stepchild, or spouse to engage in prostitution.
Note that the state is not actually required to prove that the person charged with this crime had knowledge that the minor individual compelled to commit prostitution was under the age of 18 — nor is the lack of that knowledge a valid defense. Compelling prostitution is an even more serious crime that promoting prostitution. It is a Class B felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. If found guilty, serving time in prison is usually a given. However, hiring a criminal defense attorney will provide defendants with the best possible chance of a positive outcome at trial.
One would hope that you or someone you love will never be charged with promoting or compelling prostitution. But if this should occur, it’s critical that the defendant’s rights be protected. Hiring a criminal defense attorney should be one of the first things you do in cases like these. To find out more information, please contact our firm today.