Detroit Prostitution & Solicitation Lawyer
Some people describe prostitution and solicitation as “victimless crimes” and question whether they should be illegal. However, the fact is that they are illegal in Michigan. If you’re convicted of an offense related to prostitution or solicitation, you face a number of serious potential consequences that may include:
- A jail or prison sentence
- Expensive fines and court fees
- Forfeiture of your vehicle if it was involved in an act of prostitution
- A permanent criminal record
- The embarrassment and stigma of a sex-related conviction
- Possible loss of your job when your employer finds out about your conviction
- Depending on the charge and the circumstances, you may be required to register as a sex offender
A charge of prostitution or offering to engage a prostitute can be embarrassing and stressful. In addition to the possibility of jail time or fines, you may be worried about how other people will perceive you when they find out. If you have a spouse or a romantic partner, you may be worried how your charge will affect your relationship when your partner finds out.
If you or a family member has been charged with prostitution or solicitation, an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer can help fight the charge. A good lawyer may be able to get the charge dismissed, convince a jury to return a “not guilty” finding, or get the charge reduced to one that carries less serious consequences — and less personal embarrassment.
What are Prostitution, Solicitation, and Offering to Engage?
Michigan law has a few different statutes under which you might be charged as a prostitute or the customer of a prostitute, often referred to as a “john.”
Prostitution or solicitation essentially involves accepting money in exchange for sexual favors. Section 750.448 of the Michigan Penal Code breaks down the crime of prostitution and solicitation as follows, and prohibits anyone over 16 from:
- Using a word, gesture, or other means
- To accost, solicit, or invite another person
- Into or from a public place, building, or vehicle
- To commit prostitution or any other lewd or immoral act
Because of the way the statute is worded, either a prostitute or a customer could be charged under 750.448, depending on the circumstances and who initiates the transaction. However, a customer also could be charged under Section 750.449a, the “offering to engage” statute. This law basically makes it a crime to offer money or anything else of value to someone who is not your spouse for sexual favors.
A further law that could be used to charge someone with prostitution is Section 750.449. This statute makes it a crime for anyone over 16 to admit someone else, or offer to admit them, into a house, car, building, or other structure for the purpose of prostitution.
Prostitution, solicitation, and offering to engage are misdemeanor crimes in Michigan. If you’re convicted, you may be sentenced to:
- Up to 93 days in jail
- A fine of up to $500
The penalties increase for a second misdemeanor prostitution, solicitation, or offering to engage conviction to:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
However, the crime of prostitution may be a felony when if you have two or more prior convictions. When prostitution is a felony, a conviction can result in:
- Up to 2 years in prison
- A fine of up to $2,000
It’s possible that the penalties you face may be even more severe. A recent ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court said that it’s up to judges to decide penalties that are “reasonable” for a conviction. Because of that ruling, judges are no longer confined to the penalties detailed in Michigan statutes that were created by the state Legislature.
Whether it’s your first prostitution or solicitation charge, or if you have prior convictions on your record, the help of a good Michigan sex crimes defense attorney may help you to avoid serious consequences that can affect your life for years to come.
Pimping and Procurement
It’s also a crime in Michigan to be the “middle man” in a prostitution transaction. If you’re suspected of accepting earnings from a prostitute, you may be charged with pimping under Section 750.457 of the Michigan Penal Code.
You can be charged with the felony of procurement under Section 750.455 of the Michigan Penal Code if you entice or convince someone to become a prostitute or to work in a house of prostitution.
Michigan takes a harsh stance on pimping and procurement. If you’re convicted, you can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
Defending Your Michigan Prostitution or Solicitation Charge
Charges of prostitution, solicitation, offering to engage, pimping, or procurement can be very serious legal matters. They also can be complicated because charges often rely on the observations of police or on police sting operations. Either means of building a case can be problematic. If a police officer observes what he or she thinks is a transaction, what if the officer misinterpreted what happened? What if the officer is mistaken in thinking that money changed hands, or mistaken in interpreting the purpose of an exchange of money?
A skilled sex crimes lawyer will be able to scrutinize all of the evidence and testimony that a prosecutor plans to use against you and look for the ways that the events underlying your charge might be misinterpreted. A good lawyer can then present your side of the story and demonstrate to a judge or jury that reasonable doubt exists in your case.
In order to convict you, a prosecutor has to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If your lawyer can show reasonable doubt, such as showing a jury that no money changed hands or no sexual activity took place, then you may stand a good chance at being found not guilty, having your charge dismissed, or your penalties reduced.
Entrapment as a Defense
When a prostitution or solicitation charge is based on a police sting, an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney may be able to make a case that you were the victim of entrapment. When police go undercover, they aren’t supposed to entice people to commit crimes they wouldn’t otherwise commit. Instead, they’re supposed to wait for you to initiate the criminal behavior. When a police officer does entice or trick you into criminal activity when you had no intention of committing a crime, that enticement may be entrapment.
If you believe that you were the victim of entrapment, a qualified Michigan sex crimes defense lawyer can help you fight the charge. If your lawyer can show that the police officer used entrapment, you may have a strong defense to the prostitution or solicitation charge. Call Maurice Davis at (313) 818-3238 to discuss any questions you may have today.