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There has been a lot in the media lately regarding prostitution rings and human trafficking. While many people tend to not consider prostitution a serious crime, the laws of most states do, and convictions can result in harsh penalties.

In order to better understand this case, let’s take a look at typical prostitution laws and the various defenses that are commonly raised by those accused of violating it.

Prostitution Law in Most States in the US

Most states have prostitution laws that make it a crime to (1) engage in an act of prostitution (aka selling sexual favors), (2) offer or agree to engage in an act of prostitution (aka soliciting prostitution), and (3) solicit customers for a prostitute (aka pandering/pimping). In other words, the law makes it illegal to be a prostitute, a “john,” or a “pimp.” Specifically, it is a crime to solicit, agree to engage in, or engage in any act of prostitution with the intent to receive compensation (i.e. anything of value) from another person.

Defending Against a Prostitution-Related Charge

Being charged with a prostitution-related offense is serious business in the majority of states. However, there are a variety of different ways to defend against such a charge. Some of the most commonly asserted defenses in prostitution cases include the following:

  • Entrapment: It is illegal for an undercover law enforcement officer to use coercion, or some other overbearing tactic, in order to induce someone to commit a crime. Therefore, if a police officer illegally induced you to commit a prostitution-related offense then you can claim entrapment as a defense. However, please note that a police officer who simply offered you the opportunity to break the law has not entrapped you.
  • Insufficient Evidence: In the United States, criminal defendants are considered to be innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, if the prosecution fails to provide sufficient evidence in order to prove their case you can assert the defense of insufficient evidence. 
  • Underage: Many states decriminalize the act of soliciting or engaging in an act of prostitution, under some situations, when such an act is committed by an underage person. Therefore, if you are a minor who has been charged with soliciting or engaging in an act of prostitution, then you may be able to assert the defense of being underage.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco for help in defending against these charges.

Thanks to the Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and your constitutional rights.


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