Prostitution is sometimes referred to as the oldest profession in the world, and the practice can be found all over the world and across history. However, many countries, including the United States, have laws against prostitution and the solicitation of prostitutes. Utah has very strict laws against solicitation, but there may be circumstances under which you can avoid criminal charges.
Not only is prostitution illegal, but so is the act of soliciting a prostitute. Criminal charges for solicitation may be assessed as misdemeanors in some cases or as serious felonies in others. Your charges may be influenced by any history of solicitation convictions and the status of the other party. Soliciting a child for sex is charged more harshly than soliciting an adult.
While many people believe that soliciting another consenting adult for sex is a victimless act, the State of Utah says otherwise. You could face criminal charges simply for the act of solicitation. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys have argued many cases like this before. Talk to our team at Overson & Bugden to get help today. Call us at (801) 758-2287 for a free legal consultation.
When Can Someone Be Charged with Soliciting a Prostitute in Utah?
In Utah, sexual solicitation and related penalties are defined under Utah Code § 76-10-1313. Under the law, solicitation occurs when a person offers or agrees to engage in sexual activity for a fee. You could be charged for offering a fee for sex or offering sex for a fee. Charges may likewise be assessed if you offer or agree to engage in specific acts:
- Exposure of the genitals, buttocks, anus, pubic area, or female breast
- Touching a person’s genitals, buttocks, anus, pubic area, or female breast
- Any act of lewdness
The fee does not need to be money but could be some equivalent, like goods or services. You also do not have to initiate the solicitation to be charged. A prostitute or sex worker could offer you sexual services for a fee, and if you accept, you may be charged with solicitation. If you are unsure whether your actions constitute sexual solicitation of a prostitute, talk to our Utah sexual solicitation defense lawyers for advice.
There may be little to no physical evidence of sexual solicitation, making it somewhat difficult for prosecutors to prove you are guilty. However, the situation may be reviewed under the totality of the circumstances, meaning all factors surrounding the incident can be analyzed together to reach a conclusion.
Penalties for Sexual Solicitation of a Prostitute in Utah
The magnitude of charges and related penalties for soliciting a prostitute may vary from case to case. Generally, your history of convictions for sexual solicitation and whether you solicited an adult or a minor are considered when prosecutors determine charges. Our Utah sexual solicitation defense attorneys have handled both serious and non-serious charges regarding sexual solicitation.
For a first or second offense of sexual solicitation of another adult, you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Such an offense can be punished by jail time of no more than 364 days. You might also be ordered to pay fines of up to $2,500.
The more convictions for sexual solicitation you have in your criminal record, the greater your charges may be. For a third offense, your charges may be upgraded to third-degree felonies. Such felonies are punishable by a prison sentence of no longer than 5 years. You could also be fined up to $5,000.
Your charges will also be upgraded to third-degree felonies if the person you solicited was a minor. In such cases, your charges will be upgraded unless your actions amount to other offenses like human trafficking or smuggling. In that case, you would be charged with the more serious trafficking or smuggling charges. However, you might be charged with enticing a minor, which requires registration as a sex offender if convicted.
Do I have to Register as a Sex Offender in Utah for Soliciting a Prostitute?
In most cases, convicted defendants do not have to register as sex offenders for charges related to soliciting a prostitute. Solicitation of a prostitute is not a crime for which registration is required. If you end up getting convicted or pleading guilty as part of a plea bargain, you will not have to register as a sex offender. However, that does not mean that other charges stemming from the act of solicitation cannot lead to registration as a sex offender.
If you solicit a minor for sex, you could be charged with enticing a minor, which is a registerable offense. Additionally, if you engage in sexual activity with a prostitute and commit a sexual crime against them, you could be charged with a registerable offense. For example, if you engage in sexual activity with a prostitute, and the prostitute revokes their consent and wishes to end the encounter, but you force them to continue, you could be charged with sexual assault or battery.
Talk to our Park City criminal defense attorneys about your situation, and we can figure out if you might face additional, more serious charges.
How to Fight Charges for Soliciting a Prostitute in Utah
In most cases, sexual solicitation of a prostitute is not a very serious offense. Unless you have a history of solicitation convictions, your charges are likely to be relatively minor misdemeanors. Law enforcement recognizes that many solicitation cases are victimless and both parties are consenting adults. As such, the police and prosecutors may be willing to work with you regarding a plea bargain or if other criminal offenses are involved.
The government is more interested in apprehending and prosecuting offenders who commit serious violent crimes rather than solicitation. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to avoid criminal prosecution altogether. If, while you are engaged in the act of solicitation, you witness someone else commit some violent crime, you may not be prosecuted for solicitation as long as you report the other crime in good faith.
For example, if you are soliciting a prostitute when you notice another person attack someone with a weapon – an act of aggravated assault – you cannot be prosecuted if you stop what you are doing and report the assault to the police.
Call Our Utah Sexual Solicitation Defense Attorneys
Charges for allegedly soliciting a prostitute may come with significant criminal penalties. Our Ogden criminal defense attorneys have handled cases like yours before. We can advise you on the next steps to take. Our team at Overson & Bugden is here to help you. Call (801) 758-2287 to arrange a free legal consultation.