Solicitation is the act of offering money, or things of value, in exchange for sexual activities. Those accused of this offense may be facing serious consequences in the form of harsh penalties and a potential jail sentence. With this in mind, you may wish to consult a Springfield solicitation lawyer if you have been charged with this offense.
Working with a skilled criminal attorney may allow you to explore the various options for defending yourself against solicitation charges. You may be able to determine the best defense strategy in your case and have a greater chance of resolving the charges against you in an agreeable manner.
Under Va. Code § 18.2-346, solicitation occurs when individuals offer money or other items of value to others to procure certain sexual acts. For the act to constitute an unlawful act, the individuals must take some substantial action toward carrying out the solicitation. Consequently, it is insufficient to simply make an offer of money in exchange for sex; the persons must take a significant step toward carrying out the solicitation.
Solicitation is the same level offense carrying the same potential penalties as prostitution, which is defined in the same code section. Both offenses are Class 1 misdemeanor offenses that can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500. While these offenses are misdemeanors, they still have the potential for severe consequences that may be best addressed by a solicitation attorney in Springfield.
Under some circumstances, solicitation can be a felony offense. As an example, if the target of the solicitation is a minor between the ages of 16 and 18, the offense is a Class 6 felony. If the target of the solicitation is under the age of 16, then the charge increases to a Class 5 felony.
While a Conviction for a Class 6 felony can result in a prison sentence ranging from one to five years, a jury or judge also has the discretion to decrease the sentence to 12 months in jail, a fine of not more than $2,500, or both. Similarly, a Class 5 felony conviction can result in a prison term of one to ten years. It should be noted that a lesser sentence is also possible at the discretion of a jury or judge.
Pursuant to Va. Code § 18.2-374.3, it constitutes a Class 5 felony when individuals over the age of 18 to use any type of communications systems to solicit certain minors with lascivious intent. The individuals must know or have reason to believe that the minors are under the age of 18 and be soliciting them to engage in prostitution.
It is likewise unlawful for adults over the age of 18 with lascivious intent to use any communication system to solicit others that they know or have reason to believe are under the age of 15 to knowingly propose or entice them into participating in certain sexual activities.
The typical sentence for a Class 5 felony conviction includes a prison term ranging from one to ten years, or a jail sentence less than 12 months in the discretion of a judge or jury. Defendants should note that there are enhancements to the potential sentence when the solicitation involves children under the age of 15.
More specifically, if the individuals are at a minimum of seven years older than the child under the age of 15, they could face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years, ranging up to a maximum sentence of 30 years. A second or subsequent violation also can increase the potential penalties.
Since the penalties for a violation of this code section may be extremely harsh and have life-altering consequences, contacting a solicitation attorney in Springfield for advice could be crucial.
Any solicitation conviction can have an adverse effect on your personal and professional life. A sex-related offense on your permanent criminal record could inhibit your ability to further your career and pursue certain employment opportunities. If you are in this situation, a Springfield solicitation lawyer may be able to help.
There is a myriad of defenses that may be available to you in any criminal case. Your ability to take advantages of those defenses may be enhanced by the assistance of experienced legal counsel. Call today to learn your options and legal rights.
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