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Understanding Prostitution And Solicitation Laws in Oregon: Part 1

While it may sometimes be referred to as “the oldest profession,” prostitution and related sex crimes are illegal in almost all states. In Oregon, it’s unlawful to solicit, promote, or engage in prostitution. Because these crimes often come with substantial punishments—not to mention intense social and professional consequences—getting help from a prostitution defense attorney is essential. In this first post of our two-part series, we’ll define what constitutes these crimes, explain the different types of charges, and outline potential punishments. In part two, we’ll answer some of the most common questions pertaining to these types of crimes.

What is prostitution?

Prostitution is typically defined as any act that involves the exchange, trade, or barter of sexual acts with the expectation of economic gain. State laws may also apply to the men and women who allegedly provide these services as well as recipients and/or middlemen involved. Typically, the sex workers who render these services are charged more often than “the johns” involved. Department of Justice records from 2010 found that more than 43,000 women were arrested for prostitution-related offenses compared to approximately 19,000 men (which includes pimps, male sex workers, and johns).

What are some common prostitution-related crimes?

Any prostitution defense attorney will know that the most obvious crimes in this category are prostitution and commercial sex solicitation. These crimes would apply to those who offer to perform a sexual act in exchange for money. Even being charged with this crime can have serious consequences in terms of both legal punishment and social stigma. The main four crimes in this area of the law include:

Prostitution: A person commits the crime of prostitution if the person engages in, or offers or agrees to engage in, sexual conduct or sexual contact in return for a fee.

Commercial Sex Solicitation: A person commits the crime of commercial sexual solicitation if the person pays, or offers or agrees to pay, a fee to engage in sexual conduct or sexual contact.

Promoting Prostitution: A person commits the crime of promoting prostitution if, with intent to promote prostitution, the person knowingly: (a) Owns, controls, manages, supervises or otherwise maintains a place of prostitution or a prostitution enterprise; or (b) Induces or causes a person to engage in prostitution or to remain in a place of prostitution; or (c) Receives or agrees to receive money or other property, other than as a prostitute being compensated for personally rendered prostitution services, pursuant to an agreement or understanding that the money or other property is derived from a prostitution activity; or (d) Engages in any conduct that institutes, aids or facilitates an act or enterprise of prostitution.

Compelling Prostitution: A person commits the crime of compelling prostitution if the person knowingly: (a) Uses force or intimidation to compel another to engage in prostitution or attempted prostitution; (b) Induces or causes a person under 18 years of age to engage in prostitution; (c) Aids or facilitates the commission of prostitution or attempted prostitution by a person under 18 years of age; or (d) Induces or causes the spouse, child or stepchild of the person to engage in prostitution.

What are the punishments associated with these kinds of crimes?

The punishments for prostitution crimes vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the case. Common solicitation charges are treated as misdemeanors, but no matter the charges, working with a prostitution defense attorney will ensure your rights are protected and that you have an experienced professional on your side every step of the way.

Here are the ways some common sex crimes are classified in Oregon:

Prostitution and Solicitation are both Class A misdemeanors. They are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to $6,250 in fines.

Promoting prostitution is a Class C felony. If convicted, the defendant would face up to five years in prison and up to $125,000 in fines. They would also be required to register as a sex offender.

Compelling prostitution is a Class B felony (the most serious crime on the list). As such, it’s punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. Again, any such crimes involving individuals under 18 are treated more severely. Further, compelling prostitution has a mandatory minimum sentence of 70 months. Anyone who is convicted of compelling prostitution is required to register as a sex offender in Oregon.

Although this information may seem like a harsh dose of reality, it’s knowledge that you may need to better understand your own case. By hiring an Oregon prostitution defense attorney, you’ll be in a much better position. To learn more about these crimes, you’ll want to keep an eye out for our upcoming post on some of the more frequently asked questions about prostitution crimes and consequences in Oregon. And of course, if you require a reputable prostitution attorney in Portland, contact Jared Justice today.

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