If you were arrested and accused of soliciting a prostitute, you were probably charged with prostitution. The crime of prostitution in this state encompasses conduct that includes buying or attempting to buy sex. A prostitution conviction could impact your employability, educational opportunities, credit, and reputation among your family, friends, and the rest of the community.
To give yourself the best chance of defeating the charge, contact a skilled defense attorney as soon as you are arrested. Greenville solicitation lawyer Christopher L. Jones could offer a vigorous defense that could spare you the severe consequences of a conviction.
Prostitution Charges Includes Solicitation
South Carolina Code 16-15-90 defines prostitution crimes in the state. It is illegal to:
- Engage in prostitution
- Enter or remain in a building, vehicle, trailer, or other place to engage in prostitution
- Knowingly aid, abet, or participate in prostitution
- Procure or solicit for the purpose of prostitution
- Keep or set up a brothel
- Receive any person for the purpose of prostitution or lewdness into any vehicle, trailer, or building
- Direct, transport or offer or agree to direct or transport any person to any vehicle, trailer, or building with knowledge, or reasonable cause to believe that the purpose was for prostitution
- Leasing any vehicle, trailer, or building believing, or having reasonable cause to believe that it is intended to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section.
This broad definition allows law enforcement to charge anyone who might have any alleged connection to participating in, arranging, or facilitating prostitution. A person who contacted someone posing as a sex worker through a website and arranged a meeting could be found guilty of prostitution under this statute, even if no meeting took place and no money changed hands.
An initial conviction on a prostitution offense could lead to 30 days in jail, a $200 fine, or both. Subsequent offenses carry heavier penalties. Greenville attorney Christopher L. Jones understands the nuances of the state’s solicitation laws and how to defeat them.
Defending Against Solicitation Charges
Law enforcement could overstep when it targets prostitution activity and engage in conduct that could amount to entrapment. When an officer encourages or induces someone to commit a crime, entrapment might be a viable defense.
Even when police are conducting a sting operation, they must have probable cause to make an arrest and respect a person’s right to be free from an unreasonable search. A diligent Greenville solicitation attorney often could find evidence that police did not uphold your rights. When an arrest is illegal, any charges stemming from it must be dismissed.
Evidence in solicitation cases could be primarily circumstantial or weak in some other respect. In such cases, prosecutors might decide not to go forward with charges or be willing to charge a lesser offense that does not carry the stigma of a prostitution charge.
Solicitation of a Minor Is a Serious Offense in Greenville
SC Code of Laws 16-13-342 makes it is illegal for a person over age 18 to contact or communicate with someone who is under 18, or who they believe is under 18, for the purpose of or with the intent to persuade or induce them to engage or participate in sexual activity of any kind. Regardless of whether any sexual activity transpires, the attempt to induce the activity alone is a crime.
This section also makes it illegal for a person over age 18 to contact or communicate with someone who is under 18, or who they believe is under 18, for the purpose of or with the intent to persuade or induce them to engage or participate in a violent crime as defined in SC Code of Laws Section 16-1-60.
If you believed the target was underage, you could be charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, even if the target of the contact was over 18. It is also possible to face criminal solicitation of a minor charges for engaging in online, emailed, or text message conversations with a police officer posing as a child.
If the young person is at least 16 years old and the contact is consensual, consent could be a defense against these charges, but consent is not a defense if they are under 16. A prosecutor must have clear evidence of your intent, and your attorney could use any ambiguity in this evidence to refute the charge. Entrapment is sometimes a viable defense in these cases. An experienced local solicitation attorney could also explore defense strategies related to probable cause, the legality of search warrants, and evidence handling.
Reach Out to a Greenville Solicitation Attorney Today
If you were accused of soliciting prostitution, you are likely embarrassed and worried about what this means for your future. You need a knowledgeable legal professional to guide you through the next steps.
A seasoned Greenville solicitation lawyer could help you resolve the charges in the most discreet way possible under the circumstances. Call today to discuss your case with an understanding attorney.