South Carolina treats prostitution as a very serious offense. Local prosecutors crack down harshly on alleged instances of prostitution. If you face prostitution charges, you could end up serving a jail term and paying fines. In addition, the mere hint of a prostitution charge could do a great deal of damage to your professional and personal reputation.
It is crucial to fight back against allegations with the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. A Greenville prostitution lawyer could work to protect your rights and build a strong defense on your behalf.
Defining Prostitution Under State Law
Prostitution is generally defined as performing a sexual act in exchange for money or another item of value. South Carolina Code 16-15-90 outlines the state’s prostitution laws. The following actions are illegal under this statute:
- Engaging in prostitution
- Knowingly aiding or abetting prostitution
- Soliciting sexual acts
- Indecent exposure for the purposes of prostitution
- Entering into a building or vehicle for the purpose of prostitution
- Keeping a house of prostitution or brothel
- Leasing any vehicle or building while having reasonable cause to believe that it would be used for prostitution purposes
It is important to note that an alleged sexual offense does not need to have actually occurred in order for an arrest to take place. Police can make an arrest for prostitution if there is evidence that there was an attempt to engage in a prohibited act. For example, the police could arrest an individual if they observed the person paying money to a suspected prostitute. Because these charges can take so many forms, it is essential to work with an prostitution attorney in Greenville who understands the intricacies of these cases.
Possible Defenses to Prostitution Charges
While prostitution charges might seem dire, there are defenses available. An experienced prostitution lawyer could help an individual construct a defense that takes into account the unique facts of their case.
Entrapment could be a valid defense in some cases. In an effort to fulfill or increase their arrest quotas, police officers sometimes set up prostitution stings.
Entrapment is a possible defense when an officer conceives and plans the offense, and the defendant would not have participated but for the trickery, persuasion, and fraud of the officer. Generally there are 2 elements for an entrapment defense- 1) government inducement, and 2) lack of predisposition.
If an attorney can prove that the arresting officers’ sting constituted entrapment, the charges against the defendant could be dismissed.
Circumstantial Evidence and Intent
To prevail in a prostitution case, the prosecution needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to engage in an act of prostitution. Unless a reliable witness can directly testify that a prostitution act occurred, the state’s case might be based solely on circumstantial evidence. A skilled prostitution attorney could investigate the case to find evidence to refute that circumstantial evidence as unreliable. The attorney could advocate for the defendant that the alleged sexual act was an act between two consenting adults and that there was no exchange of money or other items of value for sex.
Well-versed Greenville prostitution defense lawyers understand how damaging allegations of prostitution can be and could work hard to minimize the harm to a defendant by developing a robust defense.
Contact a Greenville Prostitution Attorney As Soon As Possible
If you suspect that you are being investigated for prostitution, do not wait to obtain legal counsel. The earlier an attorney can work on your case, the better. Sometimes, attorneys can clear up misunderstandings and stop a case before the charges are even filed. Other times, the right lawyer can get the charges dismissed before the case reaches a courtroom. If charges are filed and the case comes to trial, a dedicated Greenville prostitution lawyer would work towards an acquittal or a reduction in charges or penalties. Call today to get started on your case.