Virginia Prostitution Lawyer
Virginia laws strictly forbid prostitution and crimes related to prostitution. In state laws Section 18.2-325 through Section 18.2-403.4, the state addresses crimes involving indecent or immoral behavior. Section 18.2-346 specifically deals with prostitution and sets forth criminal standards that define a prostitute, and associated penalties (overview of Virginia prostitution laws).
According to state law, any person who engages in fornication for money or an equivalent is guilty of prostitution, a Class 1 misdemeanor. But Virginia does not just forbid the act of prostitution itself, but any offer of prostitution with or without fulfillment.
In fact, the mere offer of sexual services for money or an equivalent is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor, with sentencing similar to that of prostitution itself. Without the help of a qualified Virginia prostitution attorney to help handle your defense, you could be facing life altering consequences. Contact a lawyer today for a free consultation.
Prostitution Law in Virginia
A solicitation lawyer, like those with our firm, will not just defend prostitutes themselves, but also those accused of compulsion or other related activities, which carry harsher potential penalties. It is illegal, for example, to force another person to engage in prostitution. The law also goes on to criminalize the act of allowing a child to be taken into prostitution when the accused is the child’s parent.
Finally, residents of Virginia that receive money from the proceeds of prostitution or panders prostitutes are guilty of a crime related to prostitution. All compulsion and pimping crimes are Class 4 felonies in Virginia.
Those that offer other persons money in exchange for sexual intercourse of any kind are guilty of solicitation, a crime authorities treat very similarly to prostitution itself. Virginia has also passed laws prohibiting the knowing ownership of a location used for prostitution, or employment at such a location with knowledge of prostitution at the location.
Due to the fact that courts treat offers for sexual favors for money with the same penalties as if the acts take place, sting operations are common in Virginia. This also allows prostitution lawyers in Virginia the opportunity to examine a case carefully for evidence of police entrapment. Such evidence, if found, can lead to the dismissal of a prostitution case.
Penalties for Prostitution in Virginia
The specific penalties for prostitution in Virginia depend on the severity or nature of the crime itself. For example, the following penalties are common:
- Providing Sexual Favors for Money or Goods: Class 1 Misdemeanor – Up to a year in jail and/or $2,500 in fines.
- Solicitation of Sexual Favors for Money or Goods: Class 1 Misdemeanor – Up to a year in jail and/or $2,500 in fines.
- Pimping or Pandering: Class 4 Felony – Two to 10 years imprisonment and/or $100,000 in fines.
As it is classified as a felony, pimping or pandering is the only crime related to non-violent prostitution that carries a minimum prison sentence — two years. Following an arrest for either prostitution or solicitation, State law requires the accused to undergo HIV and hepatitis C testing, along with mental health counseling and education on STDs. Results of these tests are reported only to the state Department of Health and the accused.
This information is inadmissible as evidence during any trial. A Virginia sex crimes lawyer with our firm will be able to offer strong defense against the charges you face (for more information click this link.) Call today to schedule a free consultation.
Understanding the Charge of Solicitation in Virginia
For a solicitation charge, no sexual contact needs to occur. To be found guilty of solicitation for prostitution in Virginia, the Commonwealth must prove three elements:
- That there was an offer of money or value
- For the purpose of engaging in a sexual act which means there must be intent that the sex act should be performed, and
- There must be a substantial act in furtherance of the offer.
Law enforcement agents may place false advertisements for escorts or massage therapists online or in classified ads. Responding to such solicitation could land an otherwise innocent person behind bars and facing charges of solicitation.
Solicitation for prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. The authorized punishments for conviction of Class 1 misdemeanors are confinement in jail for up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500, either or both. Given the seriousness of these consequences, those arrested for Virginia solicitation and those who suspect they may be under investigation for solicitation should immediately contact a skilled lawyer to begin crafting a successful defense strategy.
How A Virginia Prostitution Lawyer Can Help
While many people believe that solicitation of prostitution is a victimless crime, solicitation of prostitution in Virginia is against the law and carries serious legal consequences. Beyond the legal consequences, a charge of solicitation has serious implications for the personal and professional lives of those charged such as public shame and ridicule, marital discord, and even job termination.
There are several options when it comes to fighting your charge of solicitation. Arrests for solicitation for prostitution in Virginia are often made during police sting operations with undercover officers posing as prostitutes. Thus, one common defense in police sting arrests is police entrapment. Entrapment may have occurred if the solicitation was the result of an officer’s inducement, rather than your intention to commit a crime. An arrest resulting from entrapment is illegal.
Our attorneys can evaluate the exact methods used by law enforcement in a sting operation to ensure you were not entrapped.
If you have been charged with solicitation of prostitution, our skilled lawyers will review your case carefully and defend your rights vigorously. In addition to mitigating any legal ramifications, our lawyers understand the embarrassment associated with being criminally charged, especially for a sex crime.
Given the damage that such a charge can have on your reputation, our attorneys consider it equally important to protect your privacy in the process of defending your good name.