Utah Solicitation of Prostitution Lawyer
Unlike in neighboring Nevada, nowhere in Utah is it legal to solicit, or try to purchase the services of, a prostitute. Utah is known for strictly enforcing its laws against this sort of behavior, which is technically referred to under the criminal code as the crime of “patronizing a prostitute.” While it may seen like a bit of harmless fun, this charge can come with serious penalties including jail time and large fines.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our compassionate, discreet Utah solicitation of prostitution lawyers understand that being charged with this crime does not mean that you are guilty. We will fight with all the tools in our toolbox to tell your side of the story, get the charges dismissed or downgraded, and keep your life and your future from being impacted any more than it already has. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at (801) 758-2287.
Charges for Solicitation of Prostitution in Utah
As noted above, solicitation of a prostitute is usually charged as a crime called “patronizing a prostitute.” Under the language of the statute, you do not need to actually engage in any sort of sexual act with the prostitute, so long as you either “pay or offer or agree to pay a prostitute, or an individual the actor believes to be a prostitute, a fee, or the functional equivalent of a fee, for the purpose of engaging in an act of sexual activity.” This means that even if the person is only pretending to be a prostitute, such as in the case of a police officer in a sting operation, you can still be charged with this crime.
Furthermore, “patronizing a prostitute” also can be charged against anyone who “enters or remains in a place of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.” For example, if you go into an underground brothel, you could be charged even if you did not attempt to pay or pay for the services of a prostitute. If the person that you were paying for soliciting for sex is not a prostitute, such as in the case of offering your tenant free rent in exchange for sex, you will be charged instead under the sexual solicitation statute.
Penalties for Solicitation of Prostitution in Utah
Both patronizing a prostitute and sexual solicitation are normally charged as Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. If you have more than one prior conviction, the charge will be elevated to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. If the crime involves solicitation of a child, it will be charged as a third-degree felony whether or not you have prior convictions.
How a Solicitation of Prostitution Case Works in the Utah Criminal Court System
After police obtain a warrant for your arrest, they will come to your home, place of work, or wherever you may be to execute the warrant and place you under arrest. Then you will be transported to the local police station for the booking process, where you will be fingerprinted and photographed and your biographical information will be collected. Then you will be detained until your bail hearing and initial appearance can occur, usually within 72 hours at most.
Because these crimes are usually charged as misdemeanors, your initial appearance will most likely include an arraignment, where you are asked to enter a plea, in addition to the judge reading the charges against you and advising you of your rights. An experienced Utah solicitation of prostitution lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC will likely advise you to enter an initial plea of not guilty to give us time to assess the strength of the case against you and negotiate with the prosecutor about a potential deal to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. In felony cases, such as when these crimes are committed against children, the arraignment will not occur until later in the process.
In both felony and misdemeanor cases, your bail hearing will occur either at or around the time of your initial appearance. At this hearing, the judge will decide whether you can be released on your own recognizance, or without bail, if bail should be set, or if you must be held in jail until the underlying case is resolved. While a judge typically will not hold someone charged with solicitation crimes, they may do so sometimes, especially if you have a lengthy criminal record. Our bail hearing attorneys can craft the most persuasive arguments to get you released on little to no bail.
After bail is settled, our lawyers can try to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor to get the charges downgraded to something less serious or for you to plead guilty in exchange for the prosecutor making a lenient sentencing recommendation, which the judge typically follows. Of course, if you do not wish to plead guilty or take a deal, our skilled Utah solicitation of prostitution lawyers are ready and able to mount an aggressive fight for a not guilty verdict at trial. Depending on the specifics of your case, defenses could include lack of evidence tying you to the crime scene, mistaken identity, and the fact that the sex was consensual and not in exchange for money, among money others.
If You Have Been Accused of Solicitation of Prostitution in Utah, Call Our Defense Lawyers Today
The crime of solicitation of prostitution is technically known as patronizing a prostitute under Utah law, and this charge can come with severe penalties including length jail sentences. In cases where the person sex is solicited from is not a prostitute, the charge will be sexual solicitation instead. At Overson Law, PLLC, our Utah lawyers for solicitation of prostitution have years of experience working with clients across the state to successfully get both of these types of charges downgraded or dismissed. We will fight to tell your side of the story and to bring your matter to a successful resolution. Call our office today at (801) 758-2287 for a free, confidential consultation.