Experts estimate that there are about 40 million prostitutes around the world. Closely tied to prostitution is a solicitation. However, many people struggle to understand the technical difference between prostitution and solicitation.
This can be even more difficult because the colloquial definition of solicitation is quite different from the legal definition. Someone might be correct about the accurate meaning of the word in the ordinary sense while still being mistaken about what it means in a legal context.
So what exactly is solicitation, and how does the law treat it? Read on to learn about the most crucial things to understand about the legal status of solicitation.
What Are Solicitation and Prostitution?
In many ways, solicitation and prostitution go together. In fact, some people mistake these two things because of how connected they are.
Prostitution is a crime in which someone accepts money or another form of value in exchange for providing sexual favors. On the opposite end, solicitation refers to the crime of asking a sex worker to provide sexual favors in exchange for money or another form of value.
What that means is that whenever someone is guilty of solicitation, another person is almost always guilty of prostitution at the same time.
Penalties for Illegal Solicitation
Prostitution and solicitation both come with serious legal consequences.
First, being found guilty of solicitation can lead to sentences of as many as 90 days in jail. On top of that, parties that are found guilty of solicitation may need to pay a fine as high as $1,000 as well.
Solicitation is classified as a misdemeanor crime unless the solicitor is soliciting a minor.
On the other hand, prostitution is classified as a gross misdemeanor. As this is a more serious category of crime, the penalties are even higher.
Someone found guilty of prostitution can end up spending as long as a full year in jail. They may also have to pay a fine as high as $3,000.
Although prostitution is considered a more serious crime than the solicitation of an adult, the solicitation of a minor is far more serious. The punishment for solicitation of a minor can involve fines of tens of thousands of dollars. The jail sentences for solicitation of a minor can run into many years.
On top of everything else, being found guilty of solicitation of a minor means being required to register as a sex offender as well. That can lead to permanent consequences for decades to come.
Soliciting vs Acting
One thing to keep in mind is that there is often a difference between the official punishment for a crime and the effective punishment. Enforcers of the law have discretion as far as whether or not they choose to enforce a crime. Judges also have discretion about how serious of a sentence to hand out.
When it comes to solicitation and prostitution, it is much more likely that someone will receive full sentencing if they carry through with their intended actions.
If someone agrees to an exchange of sexual favors for payment without also proceeding to carry out the exchange, then they may not receive any sentence at all. The police may decide to let them off with a warning or a judge may decide to sentence them to a milder sentence like community service.
Finding a Sex Crime Defense Lawyer
After a charge of solicitation, it is essential to find a quality sex crimes lawyer right away. People accused of this crime sometimes do not realize how time-sensitive their situation can be.
Lawyers need time to prepare powerful defensive cases for their clients. When their clients delay hiring them until right before their court date, it can be difficult for lawyers to muster a meaningful defense. But that is only one reason it is important to find a sex crime defense lawyer as soon as possible after being charged with solicitation.
Some people accidentally weaken their case by sharing the wrong information with the wrong person. In some cases, the wrong person might be the police if they ask for information that might help them build a case against the accused.
In other situations, people share information that seems innocuous with family, friends, and acquaintances. They are often surprised to find out that this mistake can greatly weaken their chance of being found not guilty in court.
As important as it is to find a sex crime defense lawyer fast after a charge of solicitation, it is also vital to find a quality lawyer. The better the lawyer a client has, the better the chance that they will be found not guilty of a charge of solicitation.
But how can a layperson figure out which sex crime defense lawyer is the right choice for them? One thing to focus on is experience.
The Right Kind of Experience
However, remember that a sex crime defense lawyer might also work in other areas of the law. That means that some lawyers have decades of experience but have only spent a few of those years working with sex crime defense clients.
Lawyers who make a special focus on sex crime defense will have a better chance of achieving acceptable outcomes for clients accused of solicitation.
Understand the Legal Definition of Solicitation
We hope that learning about the legal definition of solicitation has been helpful to you. Many people delay finding a great sex crime lawyer after they receive a charge of solicitation. However, the faster someone can find a quality lawyer to help them, the stronger their case will be in court. To learn more about the latest information in law, finance, and more, have a look at our other pages!