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Detroit Legal Blog

Michigan is One of Three States to Allow Sex Between Police and Suspects

Oct 20, 2017, by Maurice Davis in Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, Sex Crimes

Sometimes police officers go undercover to fight prostitution. Some pose as sex workers to gain information about prostitutes and their customers. They may also go undercover as sex buyers to catch individuals offering sex acts for money and people managing prostitution rings. This type of undercover work is essential to gaining information about criminal activity and obtaining evidence to put criminals behind bars. However, there are risks associated with this type of investigation, including the police become too closely involved with prostitution.

In many states, officers cannot have sexual contact with individuals suspected of prostitution. This would constitute participating in the crime. However, this is not true everywhere. The state of Michigan allows sexual contact between police and sex workers prior to prostitution charges. This law makes it extremely difficult for you to fight back if you are falsely accused of prostitution. If an officer coerced you into the sexual act or has lied about your conduct, the prosecutors can frame your response as allegations to help you get out of a conviction. Many people will take a police officer’s word over those of an alleged sex worker.

At Davis Law Group, we firmly believe that you are innocent until proven guilty. We will aggressively protect your rights and fight to prove your innocence in court. Call us today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential case consultation.

Michigan’s Prostitution Law

Michigan has multiple statutes prohibiting acts of and related to prostitution. Under Michigan Penal Code Section 750.448, it is illegal for anyone over the age of 16 to solicit another person to commit prostitution. This solicitation can be by word, gesture, or any other means. Under Section of the Michigan Penal Code, it is also illegal to engage in or offer to engage in the services of another person less than 18 years of age for the purposes of prostitution by the payment of money or something else of value.

However, cops are the exception to the rule. Michigan Penal Code Section The Reason for the Police Exception to Prostitution

Many people are troubled by laws in Michigan, Hawaii, and Alaska that allow officers participate in prostitution in the line of duty. However, others have put forth a reason supporting this legal exception. Many lawmakers and officers argue that undercover cops must be able to behave as a real sex purchaser would. An officer may need to have sexual contact, including intercourse, with a sex worker to protect their true identity.

If an officer refused something that is common for customers to do, the sex worker could likely infer that they are an undercover cop. The potential consequences of a cop’s cover being blown are wider reaching than losing an individual suspect. Depending on the officer’s situation, being outed as a cop could put their life in danger. It could also ruin an entire investigation that took months or years to plan and execute.

Problems With the Exception

While the reasons for the law enforcement exception may seem valid, there are also problems associated with it. One of the most significant issues is understanding where the line between necessary and egregious sexual contact exists. While it is understandable that a cop may need to behave in a way they normally would not, it is also clear that an officer’s behavior could be more than what is necessary to remain undercover. Under current Michigan law, a law enforcement officer is not breaking the law, even if they participate in sexual contact that is not necessary while undercover.

This exception also provides room for officers to coerce vulnerable individuals into sex acts they would normally not participate in. Many sex workers are not in their current situation by choice. A large percentage of sex workers are victims of trafficking, while others have been forced into this line of work by other individuals acting as pimps. Instead of sex workers being treated appropriately as victims, they can easily be convinced to perform illegal sex acts, gaining themselves the label of criminal.

Have You Been Accused of Prostitution?

If you have been wrongly accused of prostitution or are a victim of trafficking or coercion, contact a criminal defense lawyer at Davis Law Group. Prostitution cases including officer testimony can be intimidating and difficult. However, that does not mean you should plead guilty or take a bad plea deal. You are entitled to a sex crime lawyer who can mount a strong defense on your behalf. We are here to protect and advance these rights. We will fight hard to protect your best interests and rights while also striving to reduce the impact of a conviction.

For help with your case, contact us today at (313) 818-3238 to schedule a consultation.