Michigan law enforcement and the FBI are heavily focused on catching individuals involved in sex crimes within the state, though their attention is not simply on prostitution. Instead, these agencies are far more concerned with human trafficking and the solicitation taking place online. They recognize that the activities surrounding prostitution and sex rings have moved from local street corners to social media platforms and websites like Backpage.com. However, with such an emphasis on finding and charging individuals involved with sex crimes, the police can become overzealous and make mistakes. You and others could become the center of the law enforcement’s attention, even when you have done nothing wrong.
Charges You May Face
When the police conduct a sex sting, they are looking for all types of people involved in a variety of illegal activities. In many sting situations, police officers go undercover to determine if someone will solicit prostitution or offer some type of sexual conduct in exchange for money. It is possible that an undercover cop can entice you into doing or saying something you normally would never do. If this happened to you, ask an attorney about entrapment right away.
Sex stings can lead to both misdemeanor and felony sex crimes charges, including:
- Prostitution: Engaging in prostitution – the exchange of a sex act for pay – is a misdemeanor in Michigan. You can be sentenced to jail, probation and be required to pay fines. However, if you have a previous prostitution charge on your record, you can expect a harsher punishment or you may even face a felony offense.
- Solicitation: If the police have evidence that you solicited, invited, asked for, or accosted another person in a public place or vehicle in order to commit prostitution or another lewd act, then you can be charged with solicitation under Michigan law. A first charge for solicitation is a misdemeanor as well. A second charge is a misdemeanor with additional penalties, while a subsequent offense is a felony.
- Engaging the sexual services of a minor: If the police believe you engaged in prostitution or solicited sexual services from an individual younger than 18 years old then you can be charged with a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Detaining a person for prostitution: If the police believe you detained a person in a house to force that person into prostitution, you will be charged with a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
- Transporting a person for prostitution: If you are charged with transporting or causing the transportation of a person for the purposes of compelling that individual to engage in prostitution, you can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
- Appropriating earnings of a person engaged in prostitution: If there is any evidence that you accepted or took the earnings of a person engaged in prostitution, you could be found guilty of a felony and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
Defending Against Sex Crime Charges
Whether you face a misdemeanor or felony offense, you need to take any charges arising from a sex sting seriously. If you do not fight with the help of an experienced attorney, you have a higher likelihood of being found guilty, having a sex crime on your permanent criminal record, and having to register as a sex offender. There are many ways of defending against these charges, including demonstrating:
- You lacked the intent to participate in the sex act
- The police entrapped you
- A case of mistaken identity
- A mistake or misunderstanding led to your arrest
- You were not the online user who solicited a prostitute
It can be difficult to prove entrapment, however, that does not mean it is not the best defense for your situation. Entrapment is more than being enticed into a criminal situation. For entrapment to take place, a law enforcement agent must have forced you, an unwilling person, to participate in the offense. You will have to demonstrate in court that you did not have any predisposition or intent to engage in a crime and that the police officer convinced you to do so.
A Detroit Prostitution Lawyer Is Here to Help
There are few things more embarrassing than getting caught up in a sex sting and facing sex crime charges. Attorney Maurice Davis understands this can irreparably affect your reputation, family, and career. As your legal representative, he will aggressively fight for your rights and freedom in court, including negotiating a beneficial plea bargain.
Call today at (313) 818-3238 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.