Criminal Defense Lawyers For Prostitution & Sexual Solicitation
Innocence won’t win your freedom in a courtroom – you need someone to champion your side of the story to an unfeeling court.
Is Prostitution Or Solicitation Illegal In Maryland?
Maryland state law criminalizes all aspects of prostitution – that is, the sale of sexual services for money or other forms of compensation.
The actual act of selling yourself for money – what people normally consider as “prostitution” – is illegal in Maryland. (The only state which has legalized some form of prostitution is Nevada.)
However, Maryland law seeks to eliminate base drivers of prostitution in the state: Those who arrange for the availability of sexual services – often through additionally illegal means – and those who purchase them.
- Solicitation charges, also known as “assignation” in Maryland statutes, are made when law enforcement thinks the defendant intended to buy sexual services in some way. In many cases, the actual act of sex was never performed. Instead, prosecutors try to prove that the accused had the means and intent to compensate someone else for sexual services.
- Human trafficking charges used to be called “pimping” or “pandering.” Those charged with human trafficking as part of Maryland’s prostitution laws are accused of participating in or otherwise benefiting from what’s essentially a modern-day slave trade: Forcing people into prostitution.
- “House of Prostitution” charges are typically made against individuals organizing or otherwise facilitating a prostitution-based business. These types of charges can be brought against massage parlors housing independent providers and agencies; escort services; and online classifieds believed to offer sexual-based services.
How Do Police Officers Make Prostitution And Solicitation Arrests?
Prostitution arrests often result from internet and street sting operations.
Undercover police posing as prostitutes lure would-be customers into situations where they can be charged with solicitation.
Police will also visit online websites hoping to make a prostitution arrest. They will lure the individual to a prearranged room via texting, phone call, or email. As soon as you walk into the room, the conversation is made to help execute the sting, and an arrest is quickly made.
Remember, actual sex isn’t required to occur for solicitation! Law enforcement can charge and arrest an individual if they think they can prove the intent to pay for sex.
It gets even worse if the undercover agent is pretending to be under 18 or even younger. A simple internet chat room conversation with someone posing as a minor can quickly result in charges that would require lifetime Maryland sex offender registration even if no sex is involved.
How Are Prostitution And Solicitation Punished In Maryland?
Sentences for prostitution, solicitation, human trafficking, and “House of Prostitution” convictions run the gamut, from fines to decades in jail.
- General prostitution convictions are typically classed as misdemeanors, with up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. This punishment takes into account that many of those offering illegal sexual services often have no choice but to take up prostitution due to circumstances outside of their control.
- Solicitation punishments align with general prostitution sentence guidelines: A misdemeanor, a year of jail time and a fine.
- House of prostitution punishments also face the same sentences as general prostitution and are considered a misdemeanor. However, convictions of receiving the earnings of a prostitute – acting as a stereotypical “pimp” or other sexual-business facilitator – can result in up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Those convicted may be required to register as sex offenders for 25 years.
- Human trafficking punishments are especially bad. A misdemeanor “sale of a minor” sentence will be a maximum of 5 years in jail and $10,000 per violation, with a possible Tier 3 lifetime registration on Maryland’s sex offender registration. Human traffickers convicted of (basically) arranging forced child marriages and/or prostitution will receive felony convictions with a max sentence of 25 years imprisonment and a fine up to $15,000.
How Can A Criminal Defense Lawyer Defend Solicitation Or Prostitution Charges?
If you have been charged with solicitation or prostitution, then you need a defense legal team as soon as humanly possible.
Your reputation and freedom to a peaceful public life are at risk – even if you’re innocent.
Lawyers experienced in defending solicitation and prostitution cases understand the stakes. They defend your right to a fair trial and a life after legal issues are settled.
They can guide interactions with law enforcement to cooperate without incriminating yourself. Again: Even if you’re innocent, police detectives seek evidence for their case. Do not trust that your innocence or lack of action is a secure defense!
Criminal defense lawyers also understand just how thin the evidence can be for the prosecution to charge someone – and show that weakness to a courtroom on your behalf.
There is a definite grey area when it comes to adult advertising online. Most seems to revolve around keywords, such as adult services, but that can encompass anything from legitimate dating to allegations of sex trafficking.
While you might have thought some activity on these advertising sites were perfectly legal, you may instead find yourself facing prostitution or solicitation charges based on slim connections from law enforcement looking to make an arrest.
Finally, your criminal defense lawyer can offer evidence to show your side of the story. What looks black and white to one party is usually much more complicated when courts bother to consider both sides of the argument. A criminal defense lawyer’s job is to champion that consideration on behalf of their client.
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