Over time, society may have relaxed its laws on a number of issues, but prostitution is not one of them. Buying, selling, or assisting in the sale of sex for money remains illegal in Virginia and most other states in the nation. Though many who engage in prostitution do so willingly, it is still a considered a crime and a conviction in Dale City may come with a hefty price tag, including jail time.
Consulting a well-qualified Dale City prostitution lawyer can help you better understand your options should you be charged with a prostitution-related offense. Our attorneys are familiar with the Virginia court system and are skilled at putting together a solid defense for your case, giving you the best opportunity for success.
Prostitution and Virginia Law
Providing or offering sexual services, buying or attempting to pay for services, or aiding in the sale of such services – often referred to as pimping – in exchange for money or another type of compensation are all considered illegal activities according to the Code of Virginia. In fact, if you click here you can read a report compiled by state police which states that there were 993 prostitution offenses committed in Virginia in 2012.
Whether you are accused of being the buyer or the seller of sex acts, it is often in the accused’s best interests to seek the advice of a Dale City prostitution lawyer in an effort to mitigate punishments and the public embarrassment that is often associated with these arrests.
Penalties for Prostitution Crimes
Individuals who are arrested for trading a sex act for money are charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500, according to the state code. However, these are not the only penalties.
Individuals convicted of prostitution are required to undergo testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Similar to an offense against the alleged provider of sexual services, the person allegedly attempting to solicit services could also be charged with a misdemeanor. These individuals face the same penalties mentioned above.
Those arrested for human trafficking or promoting the sale of sexual acts from another person face even harsher penalties because those crimes are considered felonies.
Besides prostitution, these offenses also include any charges that involve the creation of child pornography or other offensive or obscene material.
According to the state police report, there were 714 reports of pornography in Virginia in 2012. Individuals convicted of any of these types of charges are subject to punishment of between two and 10 years in prison and fines up to $100,000.
Getting Charged Only Requires an Attempt
In fact, in Virginia, a solicitation charge does not require any sexual contact to occur. A person who even just makes an offer to pay for sex is considered to be in violation of the law. This, too, is a misdemeanor, which carries similar penalties to the above-mentioned offenses.
Since merely an attempt to purchase services can lead to an arrest and charges for solicitation, it is not unusual for authorities to conduct undercover sting operations in areas known for prostitution as a means to crack down on the activities.
These operations include, but are not limited to, officers posing as prostitutes and posting ads on Internet sites as attempts to lure potential prostitution clients. Though these types of operations are legal police tactics, a Dale City prostitution lawyer can assure you that careful procedures must be followed to avoid entrapment.
Entrapment is essentially when a person is forced to commit an offense they likely would not have committed if certain circumstances had not been presented to them. Legal representation that can use entrapment as a defense may have a better chance of getting the client’s charges dropped or reduced to lesser offenses.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Prostitution may often seem like a victimless crime. Despite that theory, it is not only illegal in the state of Virginia, but it is also viewed as a crime against the public due to its potential risk of spreading sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV. A prostitution conviction can also crush your reputation, resulting in potential problems with your loved ones, employers, and others.
Experienced, qualified criminal defense attorneys know the laws and will use discretion to help create a legal strategy that results in the best possible resolution to your case. If you have been charged with a prostitution offense in Dale City Virginia, Steve Duckett has a team of criminal defense attorneys who are ready and willing to help you with your case. Call the firm today for a free, initial legal consultation.