Allegations of soliciting a prostitute can damage your reputation and may lead to serious criminal charges. These charges commonly arise because a person was caught in a sting operation run by law enforcement. No matter the circumstances that caused you to receive your solicitation charges, you have civil rights that police officers may have infringed when you were arrested and charged with a crime.
Understanding your rights and the common ways that police officers can violate them will help you protect your freedom and reputation. Here, we will cover what is solicitation, a common defense strategy used in solicitation cases and your next steps after you are charged.
What is solicitation?
According to Ohio Revised Statute 2907.241, solicitation is the act of implicitly or explicitly hiring another person for sexual activity. Hiring a sex worker who is 18 or older is considered a third-degree misdemeanor while hiring a person who is aged 16 or 17 is a fifth-degree felony. You may be charged with a third-degree felony if you are accused of hiring a prostitute who is younger than 16 years old. You can still be charged with the more serious crimes even if you did not know the sex worker’s age.
What is entrapment?
When the police run a prostitution sting operation, they try to compel a person to hire the services of a fake sex worker. The police may use innuendo or leading language to convince someone to agree to paid sexual activity. Law enforcement may also use online apps and advertisements to compel someone to come to their sting operation.
Because of this misleading language, you may have innocently spoken to a prostitute with no intention of paying for sex. After realizing your mistake, you may have decided to leave without offering money or committing any sexual acts. The police may still arrest you and charge you with solicitation even if you did nothing wrong.
If the police encourage or induce a person to commit a crime that they would not have committed without said encouragement, then they may have “entrapped” that person2. You may be able to defend yourself from solicitation charges by showing that you were not predisposed to committing a crime before police involvement. The court will carefully evaluate whether your alleged willingness to contact or visit a supposed sex worker and the actions that law enforcement took to determine if an entrapment defense is workable.
What should you do after you are charged with solicitation?
Because of the complexity involved in using entrapment as a defense, you should consult with a legal professional as soon as possible. A skilled defense lawyer can review the specifics of your solicitation case and figure out what potentially illegal actions law enforcement used to convince you to commit an unlawful act.
The Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC is one such criminal defense firm that protects the rights of people who are charged with solicitation in Ohio. Contact us now to schedule an appointment.