Solicitation is a component of prostitution and other criminal offenses under Virginia law. While solicitation is largely regarded as a low-level misdemeanor offense, it could become more serious in a variety of situations, notably when minors are involved. For this reason, contacting a Fredericksburg solicitation lawyer when you are accused of any type of solicitation charges may be wise.
There are defenses to solicitation and related criminal charges that may be relevant in your case. The assistance of a skilled defense attorney could make working to identify potential defenses and develop a clear and effective defense strategy easier.
Virginia Code § 18.2-346 defines the offenses of both prostitution and solicitation of prostitution. Solicitation involves individuals who offer money or valuable consideration to others to procure sexual acts with another. To be guilty of this offense, individuals must take substantial action to carry out the offer at a minimun; simply making the offer is insufficient to constitute solicitation.
Solicitation of prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor, as is prostitution. A Class 1 misdemeanor conviction may result in as much as one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. This offense could become a Class 5 or Class 6 felony depending on whether it involves a minor between the ages of 16 and 18, or if it involves a minor under the age of 16.
While a Class 6 felony conviction may lead to in a potential prison sentence ranging from one to five years, a judge or jury has the discretion to order a lesser sentence. A lesser sentence is also a possibility for a Class 5 felony conviction, which may result in a one to ten-year prison term. Given the potential penalities a person faces for solicitation of proistitution, they may benefit from contacting a Fredericksbury attorney.
The Internet has made it notably easier for individuals to have prohibited contact with minors. Virginia law makes it a Class 6 felony to use any communications system, which includes the Internet, to solicit a minor to engage in prohibited sex-related criminal offenses involving minors. Under Va. Code § 18.2-374.3, it is unlawful to use these systems to procure or promote the use of a minor in any activity that constitutes indecent liberties with children or child pornography.
This section also makes it a Class 5 felony for individuals to use communications systems to take indecent liberties with children whom they know or have reason to believe are under the age of 15. It is also a Class 5 felony for adults over the age of 18 to use communications systems to solicit minors for any criminal activity that involves prostitution, child pornography, or prostitution.
While a Class 5 felony normally might result in a discretionary sentence up to a maximum of ten years, there are enhancements to the potential sentences for this offense based on age. If individuals know or have reason to believe that a child is under the age of 15 and they are at a minimum seven years older than the child, they may face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 30 years.
Second or subsequent convictions only will increase the mandatory minimum and maximum range of sentencing. As the potential punishment resulting from a solicitation charge could be extremely severe, getting advice from a Fredericksburg attorney may be essential to the ability of individuals to defend against these allegations.
Solicitation offenses in Virginia might range from fairly minor to very severe, and all such offenses carry the potential for incarceration. Aside from the penalties resulting directly from a conviction, you may also experience collateral consequences. This could include difficulties advancing professionally and working in certain industries.
Advice from a Fredericksburg solicitation lawyer may be invaluable to you in this situation.
Getting legal advice may assist you in exploring your options and making the decisions with respect to your case that are best for you and your family. It also might enable you to build a strong defense against the charges that you are facing.
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