Solicitation for prostitution is defined as inviting, enticing, persuading, or addressing for the purpose of inviting, enticing, or persuading another to engage in acts including, but not limited to, remaining or wandering about a public place.
Prostitution means a sexual act or contact with another person in return for giving or receiving a fee.
It is both illegal and chargeable in the District to solicit for sex or to offer sex for money. Generally the District MPD engages in elaborate sting operations to fight both against the solicitors of sex and those who offer it. As the sting operations are quick moving, often times, individuals are charged who most likely have not met the elements of the offense.
During these stings, female officers act as decoys, engage men and as soon as an offer for sex and agreement on money exchange has been made — alert the arrest team to move in for an arrest.
Police agents may also place false advertisements for escorts or massage therapists online or in classified ads. Responding to such solicitation could land an otherwise innocent person potentially behind bars facing charges for DC solicitation.
The solicitation charge is generally a Misdemeanor offense with the penalties increasing incrementally with previous conviction. A first offense carries penalties of confinement in jail for up to 90 days and/or a fine of up to $500.
A second offense carries penalties of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. A third and every subsequent offense carry penalties of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $4,000.
DC Prostitution Free Zones are defined as restricted zones with periods of time in areas with high numbers of prostitution-related offenses. In the designated zones, it is unlawful for “a group of two or more persons to congregate on public space within that area for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or prostitution-related offenses.”
A police officer will issue a warning to anyone in violation of the law explaining that they are in a Prostitution Free Zone and directing them to disperse. Ignoring or disobeying the officer’s instruction could lead to arrest, even without a second warning. Offenders convicted under the law are subject to a fine of up to $300, imprisonment for up to 180 days, or both.
It is important to fight the solicitation charge vigorously not only because of the criminal penalties but also for social and professional reasons as both the arrest and conviction would most likely remain on individuals records indefinitely. Defending the solicitation charges are also particularly difficult as the complaining witnesses are generally the decoy undercover police officer.
Thus such cases necessitate particular knowledge of the underlying statutory schemes as well as the particular way there are enforce by the MPD.
Our experienced DC Solicitation Lawyers/DC prostitution lawyers are well adverse with the intricacy of the related law and the implementation through the undercover operations. Often times, the line between violating the law and being entrapped are crossed and if the entrapment defense properly asserted, the case may be dismissed or a not guilty verdict rendered.
If you have been charged with solicitation contact our experienced criminal law DC defense lawyers today to have your case assessed and reviewed. Your initial consultation with our criminal law DC defense lawyers expert in DC solicitation or DC prostitution cases is at no charge.