Interestingly, there is no actual crime under the Utah criminal code known as solicitation of prostitution. Instead, the act of soliciting or attempting to purchase the sexual services of a prostitute is charged as “patronizing a prostitute.” If you attempt to trade for or purchase the sexual services of someone other than a prostitute, you can be charged with sexual solicitation.
The penalties for soliciting a prostitute can be quite severe. Depending on the circumstances, you might be charged with a Class A misdemeanor or even a felony. Sex crimes tend to come with very harsh societal stigmas. If you are convicted of soliciting a prostitute, you might face harsh backlash from your community.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our Salt Lake City, UT solicitation of prostitution lawyers have many years of experience successfully working on getting these charges dismissed or downgraded for our clients. For a free case review, contact us today at (801) 758-2287.
Criminal Charges That Can Result from Solicitation of Prostitution in Salt Lake City, UT
Patronizing or soliciting a prostitute is a criminal offense in Utah. Not only that but there may be various other criminal offenses involved in sexual solicitation. If you are charged with any of the following offenses, talk to our Salt Lake City solicitation of prostitution attorneys.
Patronizing a Prostitute
The most likely charge you will face if you solicit the services of a prostitute is patronizing a prostitute. Under the Utah Criminal Code § 76-10-1303, this charge is defined as paying or offering to pay someone you believe is a prostitute to engage in sexual activity with you. Payment need not always be money. For example, offering material goods or services in exchange for sex may be considered patronizing a prostitute.
The crime is complete when the offer for payment is made. This means that no actual sexual activity must occur. You just need to offer to pay for the sexual services of a prostitute.
Furthermore, even if the person is just pretending to be a prostitute, like a police officer in a sting operation, the charge can still apply. The charge also applies if you are found to have entered a place of prostitution (i.e., a brothel or something similar) to engage in sexual activity. Again, you do not have to actually receive sex or even pay for it, so long as you enter the building intending to engage in sexual activity.
As noted above, there is a related charge known as “sexual solicitation.” This criminal charge is defined under the Utah Criminal Code § 76-10-1313. This offense may be charged in a situation where the person that you tried to pay or trade something of value in exchange for sex was not a prostitute or pretending to be a prostitute. For example, if you offer to give your flat screen television to a neighbor in exchange for sex, that would be sexual solicitation.
Your intent to have sex in exchange for a fee does not have to be direct or explicit. In many circumstances like this, people often imply what they want without saying it. For example, using innuendos or double entendres to solicit sex without saying so may still be criminally charged. Your intent can be inferred from the totality of the circumstances. Our Salt Lake City solicitation of prostitution attorneys can help you disprove your alleged intent.
This is often problematic when defendants accused of sexual solicitation did not directly state that they wanted to engage in sex for a fee. Perhaps you made an off-color joke to a neighbor who got the wrong idea. Maybe you offered someone a gift as a gesture of goodwill that was taken the wrong way. You could potentially be accused in either circumstance.
You may also be criminally charged if you solicit a prostitute for someone other than yourself. Under the Utah Criminal Code § 76-10-1304, you can be charged with aiding prostitution if you solicit someone to engage with a prostitute or find a prostitute to engage with someone else. You may also be charged if you receive any benefit by soliciting the prostitute.
This offense tends to apply more to pimps and people who work with prostitutes to find them customers. It is not unusual for such a person to receive some sort of payment or kickback from the prostitute for finding customers for them. This is a serious charge, but our Salt Lake City solicitation of prostitution attorneys can help you fight these allegations.
These charges might also apply when someone wants to hire a prostitute for someone else but they do not work with the prostitute or receive payment. For example, a person looking to hire a prostitute to have sex with their friend at a bachelor party might be charged under this statute.
There might be other criminal charges involved in cases of sexual solicitation. For example, under the Utah Criminal Code § 76-10-1309, you may face enhanced penalties if you are convicted of patronizing a prostitute while also HIV positive. You must be aware of your HIV status at the time of the solicitation to be charged.
There are also charges for exploiting prostitution. These charges tend to apply more in cases where people are being recruited as prostitutes or forced into the job. Someone simply looking to pay a prostitute for sex will probably not face these charges. However, a person engaged in the sex trafficking industry might run afoul of these laws.
It is possible that prosecutors assessed these harsher charges when you were not actually exploiting prostitution. In that case, our Salt Lake City solicitation of prostitution lawyers can talk to prosecutors and hopefully convince them to downgrade or correct the charges.
Defenses to Charges for Solicitation of a Prostitute in Salt Lake City
No two cases are alike. Even cases with the same list of criminal charges will likely have different underlying circumstances. It is important to speak to your attorney about each detail of your case to develop the most effective defense strategies possible. Our Salt Lake City solicitation of prostitution lawyers can help you fight your charges.
In most criminal cases involving solicitation of prostitution, a key element is the payment for sex. As you now know, you do not have to actually pay for sex to be convicted of these charges. Just agreeing to pay may be enough. However, if this intent to pay is absent, the charges against you cannot stand.
Perhaps the entire situation is one big misunderstanding. You might have gone home with the alleged prostitute without realizing they are a prostitute. In that case, you likely had no intent to pay because you were unaware of the situation.
Alternatively, the other person might not have been a prostitute at all. Having a one-night stand is certainly not a crime. If a police officer saw you chatting up another person on a street corner outside a bar, the officer might get the wrong idea. Police policies often go after the patrons/”johns” rather than the prostitutes, so the officer might not even talk to or question the other person. In reality, you were flirting with someone you met in the bar, and you both agreed to go home and spend the night together. In this case, there is no crime, and the charges against you are completely inappropriate.
Potential Outcomes of Salt Lake City Solicitation of Prostitution Cases
First and foremost, our skilled Utah bail hearing attorneys will work to get you released from jail on little to no bail so that you can deal with your charges from the safety of your home. Then, we will request all the evidence in the prosecutor’s possession so that we can assess the strength of your case and begin negotiations for a potential deal to get your charges dismissed or downgraded. Most criminal cases in Utah end in a deal at the settlement stage. Outright dismissal is rare unless the prosecutor’s case is extremely weak or we turn up some sort of new evidence that makes it clear you did not commit the crime.
In some situations, we may be able to get you into a pre-trial diversion or deferred prosecution program where your charges will be dropped if you complete the program successfully. This is usually only offered for first-time offenders charged with lesser crimes than patronizing a prostitute or sexual solicitation. Commonly, the prosecutor will offer to downgrade the charge to something less serious in exchange for you pleading guilty and saving the state the time and expenses required to put on a trial. If the prosecutor does not downgrade the charge, they may offer to make a lenient sentence recommendation in exchange for your guilty plea. The judge typically follows the prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation except in unusual cases.
If you do not wish to take a deal or are not satisfied with the deal offered, the option of taking your case to trial is always open. Our experienced Salt Lake City solicitation of prostitution attorneys know how to craft the best arguments to convince a judge or jury to render a verdict of not guilty. Possible defenses include mistaken identity, false accusations, the possibility that comments were made in jest, or the sexual relationship was consensual and not actually in exchange for money.
Penalties for Convictions of Solicitation of Prostitution in Salt Lake City, UT
Penalties for a conviction or guilty plea in cases for patronizing a prostitute or sexual solicitation can be quite harsh. Normally, both of these crimes are charged as a class A misdemeanor. In Utah, class A misdemeanors can be punished by up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. However, there are two scenarios where the charges can be upped to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
The first situation where the charge will be increased to a third-degree felony is if the crime involves the solicitation of a minor. The other situation is if you have more than one prior conviction for either of these crimes. Furthermore, you should keep in mind that a conviction means this charge will be on your criminal record, making it difficult to get employment, get into school, or get certain professional licenses in the future.
Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender if I’m Convicted of Soliciting a Prostitute in Salt Lake City?
Sexual crimes are especially intimidating for defendants because many of these crimes come with the added penalty of sex offender registration. Statutes pertaining to Megan’s Law might require a defendant convicted of certain sex crimes to register as a sex offender on a public state registry. Being on the registry can make getting jobs extremely difficult. You might also be forbidden from living in certain areas or being anywhere near children.
Solicitation of prostitution is not a registerable offense. If you are convicted, you will not have to register as a sex offender in Utah. A list of registerable offenses can be found under the Utah Code of Criminal Procedure § 77-41-106, and solicitation of a prostitute is not included. Our Salt Lake City solicitation of prostitution lawyers can help you understand the consequences of your charges, including the implications of Megan’s Law.
If You Have Been Accused of Solicitation of Prostitution in Salt Lake City, Call Our Battle-Tested Lawyers Today
A conviction for patronizing a prostitute or sexual solicitation can come with serious consequences. At Overson Law, PLLC, our Salt Lake City, UT solicitation of prostitution attorneys understand that being accused does not mean you are guilty. Call our firm today at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation.