Any exchange of sexual favors for financial gain is considered a crime of prostitution. This could mean that the police might interpret a regular dating relationship as an illegal act. Misunderstandings could result in arrests, jail time, probation, significant fines, or a request to submit to testing for diseases.
Even if the prosecutor offers you a light punishment in exchange for a guilty plea, you may not realize the full extent of the consequences related to your criminal record. Speak with a Dumfries prostitution lawyer to fully understand your situation and the best course of action. A dedicated criminal defense attorney could fight to protect you from unnecessary consequences.
The law prohibits people from exchanging sexual acts for money or other valuable items, as noted in Code of Virginia §18.2-346. Some of the prohibited acts include:
Prostitution is defined as offering to do any of the previously mentioned acts in exchange for money or its equivalent, and then taking a physical step towards the act, such as getting a hotel room, taking off your clothes, or physically exchanging money. If a court finds a person guilty of prostitution, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
If a person helps set up a meeting or introduction related to prostitution, that is also a Class 1 misdemeanor. When one of the involved parties is a minor, the act is a Class 6 felony.
A “bawdy place” is a building used for acts of prostitution, plans to engage in sex for money, or other types of lewdness. If a person keeps, lives in, or visits such a place for an immoral purpose, that is a Class 1 misdemeanor. It is a separate offense for each day a person is in such a location. A defendant may have a difficult time proving they were not at a place for an immoral purpose. An attorney in the area could help a defendant establish their presence on any particular day in question.
When a person receives money to help place others in brothels or forces another to engage in prostitution, that is a Class 4 felony. If one of the parties is a minor, the act is a Class 3 felony. The same punishment applies when the person receives a portion of a prostitute’s earnings.
If a person helps another make plans to travel to see a prostitute, that person could be labeled a travel agent for prostitution, which is labeled a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Class 1 misdemeanors can include up to 12 months in jail. A Class 6 felony could result in five years of prison. If a court convicts a person of a Class 4 felony, the defendant may go to jail for up to ten years.
If the court convicts someone of prostitution, the court requires that person submit to a test for HIV and hepatitis C under Code of Virginia §18.2-346.1. Afterward, the person must accept counseling about the test, the diseases, and how to prevent transmission.
On top of possible jail sentences, fines, and probation, a person may also have a permanent criminal record. This could make it difficult to pursue life goals if a background check is required. If the court convicts a person of a felony, a person may experience difficulty obtaining a job, going to school, or owning a handgun. If a prostitution charge is dropped, or the defendant is found to be innocent, an attorney could also fight to get that record expunged.
Any criminal charges are a cause for immediate concern but you may also experience difficulty with your professional and personal life down the road. You might have defenses available to you which could help you avoid or mitigate the consequences related to the allegations. Make sure you speak with a Dumfries prostitution lawyer to fully understand what options you have at your disposal. Call today to speak with a local attorney.
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