Prostitution laws in Richmond prohibit the offer of sexual acts in exchange for items of value, even if no sexual acts occur or money is exchanged. Defendants can face misdemeanor charges for a first prostitution offense or could face more serious charges for repeated convictions. Even a misdemeanor conviction could result in jail time or could ruin a person’s reputation.
A Richmond prostitution lawyer should therefore be consulted as soon as possible to try to avoid conviction, reduce charges, and resolve the criminal case quickly and quietly with the best outcome possible under the circumstances. An experienced prostitution attorney in Richmond will also be able to protect your rights throughout the legal process and ensure you put forth the strongest defense possible.
To secure a conviction for prostitution, a prosecutor must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The crime is considered a victimless one, so often there is no alleged victim to provide testimony regarding the events which occurred. A defendant, therefore, may be able to introduce reasonable doubt about whether an offer of sex acts actually occurred.
A defendant can avoid conviction even without proving innocence as long as the prosecutor cannot prove the case. A Richmond lawyer with experience in prostitution cases can often help defendants to make a jury question the evidence so no conviction occurs.
In many cases, defendants are arrested due to a police sting. A defendant could sometimes claim entrapment or a violation of constitutional rights. An experienced attorney can carefully review the circumstances leading to the arrest to help defendants identify any affirmative defenses which could be raised. Sometimes, it is also possible to get charges dropped if there is not sufficient evidence to move forward or if evidence is found inadmissible due to a violation of the defendant’s rights.
Finally, many cases are resolved through a negotiation of a plea agreement. Resolving a case through a plea deal can result in a timely resolution of the case with the maximum privacy maintained. An experienced attorney can offer guidance on whether a plea deal is a viable choice and can help to negotiate the most favorable plea possible to reduce penalties or even reduce charges.
Virginia Code Section 18.2-346 establishes the definition of prostitution as a Class 1 misdemeanor offense. The maximum possible penalty for a first conviction is a fine up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail. It is common for defendants to be able to avoid jail time with the assistance of a legal advocate; however, the specific penalty will depend upon how a case is resolved and many other factors.
Whenever you have been accused of prostitution, you need to get advice on developing a legal strategy and making informed choices on responding to charges. Contact a Richmond prostitution lawyer today so you can respond to charges in a smart way designed to avoid conviction or reduce the penalties which you could face.
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