In Washington DC, 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.
- 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.
MPD STING OPERATION
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 or an agreement on money exchange has been made — alert the arrest team to move in to effectuate 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 Washington DC solicitation.
Defending the solicitation charges are also particularly difficult as the complaining witnesses are generally the decoy undercover police officers.
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.
Washington 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.
Often times, the line between violating the law and being entrapped is crossed and if the entrapment defense is properly asserted, the case may be dismissed or a not guilty verdict rendered.
Entrapment when effectively asserted is a complete defense to a criminal charge and will result in a not guilty verdict.
The legal doctrine provides that the government agents may not:
- Originate a criminal design or notion;
- In otherwise an innocent person’s mind to engage in criminal activity; or
- Otherwise induce or persuade commission of a crime;
- In order to prosecute that person.
Generally the entrapment defense requires establishing that:
- the government induced the crime; and that
- the defendant did not have a predisposition to engage in induced criminal conduct.
In cases where the undercover police officers get aggressive in persuading otherwise law abiding individuals to engage with them verbally a dialog pertaining to exchange of money for sex — depending on the level of persuasion — an entrapment defense may be valid and even successful.
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 the individual’s record indefinitely.
Thus such cases necessitate thorough knowledge of the underlying statutory schemes and relevant caselaw and defense as well as the enforcement operation by the MPD.
Our experienced Washington DC Solicitation Lawyer/DC prostitution lawyer is well adverse with the intricacy of the related law and the implementation of the undercover operations.
We offer a thorough case evaluation and analysis highlighting defects in the government’s case and/or potential entrapment defense.
If you have been charged with DC solicitation contact our experienced Washington DC criminal defense lawyer today to have your case assessed and reviewed. Your initial consultation with our Washington DC Criminal Defense lawyer expert in DC solicitation or DC prostitution cases is at no charge.