There were an estimated 40 million people worldwide working as prostitutes in 2016, and an estimated 80,000 American citizens are arrested each year for soliciting sex. This means that these types of crimes really aren’t as rare as one might believe. In the first part of our two-part series on prostitution and solicitation, we talked about how these kinds of sex crimes are defined, as well as the charges and punishments that can result from them. This second portion of our series is devoted to answering some of the most common questions pertaining to related charges and their consequences. Of course, if you have been charged with prostitution, solicitation, pandering, or any other related crime, you should contact a prostitution defense attorney immediately to make sure your rights are protected.
I thought prostitution was a victimless crime. Why is it treated so seriously?
First of all, prostitution and solicitation are illegal in every U.S. state (with few exceptions), and these charges can have serious consequences for your future. In addition, the idea that prostitution is a “victimless crime” is not correct. In many cases, pimps will target runaways (many of whom are underage) and force them into prostitution. Sex trafficking has also become more prevalent in recent years; in these cases, the individuals who work as prostitutes may be held against their will. There is no doubt that these people are victims. In many cases, this crime is not as victimless as people think.
Can I just pay a fine to take care of the issue?
If you are a first offender, it is possible that your sex crime defense attorney may be able to get your charges dismissed if you complete a class and pay a fine. Prostitution crimes can range from misdemeanors to felonies (see our previous post for the types of crimes and punishments in detail). That said, an experienced prostitution defense attorney is your best bet for protecting your rights and potentially negotiating a favorable outcome.
What happens if I’m arrested on a solicitation or promoting prostitution charge?
If you are arrested or cited for patronizing a prostitute, you will likely have to appear in court at a later date. Fail to do so, and a warrant will be issued for your arrest. In certain Oregon counties, you may be able to hire a prostitution defense attorney and have them appear on your behalf.
However, if you’re arrested for promoting or compelling prostitution, you’ll likely be booked into custody and brought before a judge shortly. Unlike solicitation, this crime is a felony. That means you’ll have to make a personal appearance. Usually, these crimes come with a high bail amount and can come with a mandatory minimum sentence. You’ll absolutely need to contact a prostitution defense attorney in these situations. They can guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.
Will everyone know I’ve been arrested?
The crimes of promoting and soliciting prostitution are eligible for expungement under Oregon law. That means that your records could be sealed or cleared, depending on the circumstances. Compelling prostitution, however, is a crime that will stay on your criminal record.
That said, expungement won’t keep your name, picture, and arrest details off the internet. The reality is that most things that are on the internet cannot be completely removed, even if the charges are dismissed or your record is later sealed. Your prostitution defense attorney may advise you to look into reputation management instead. This technique involves publishing content about yourself to “push down” any results pertaining to your arrest and/or conviction in Google. While this positive content won’t erase those negative results, they can make them harder to find. Still, the best way to protect your reputation and your future is to not engage in these crimes (and to hire an experienced attorney if you do).
If you have been cited or arrested for crimes related to prostitution or solicitation, you’ll need legal guidance. Jared Justice is here to help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our firm today.