The Penalty for Soliciting Prostitution
Solicitation is considered a sex crime in Michigan and is penalized accordingly. It doesn’t matter that it does not involve a victim or harm public property. According to the Michigan Penal Code, soliciting prostitution is illegal. You could get a fine or a sentence in the county jail if you are found guilty of solicitation in Michigan.
However, the punishment for solicitation is not usually as severe as the adverse effects of a criminal conviction on your relationships, future employment opportunities, and, in some cases, your immigration status in the United States. You could face societal shame and stigma if you are charged with solicitation, engaging in a sexual act with a prostitute in exchange for money, or merely consenting to commit an act of prostitution.
Therefore, you need to take a solicitation charge seriously. Although it is a misdemeanor crime, you will be punished if you do not build a solid legal defense. You need a skilled prostitution lawyer to avoid being penalized for solicitation.
Our sex offender lawyers at Blank Law, PC, are ready to assist you in fighting solicitation charges in Michigan. Contact us to arrange a free initial consultation.
Penalty for Soliciting Prostitution
Solicitation and prostitution are closely linked sex offenses, and are often used interchangeably. However, they constitute separate sex crimes under Michigan criminal law, attracting strict penalties. Prostitution is the act of providing sexual services in exchange for money. In contrast, solicitation of prostitution refers to making a proposition to someone about giving sexual favors for money.
Michigan Comp. Law 750.451 states that it is illegal to encourage another person to engage in sexual acts like prostitution in exchange for payment or other benefits. The law also stipulates that there must be a minimum of two parties — the person performing the soliciting and the person being solicited — for someone to be charged.
Therefore, whether the encounter occurred in public or privately, whether it was verbal or nonverbal, if you have been charged with solicitation, the prosecutor believes that you must have approached another person and offered to pay for sexual intercourse or any other sex act.
What matters is that you requested, ordered, or urged someone else to perform a sex act in return for a fee. You could also be charged with solicitation of prostitution even if you did not engage in an act with another person. In addition, you can be prosecuted even if your request for sexual acts was declined.
In a case where a defendant faces prostitution charges, the prosecutor must show that the defendant engaged in the sexual activity. However, for a solicitation charge, the prosecutor must establish a specific intent to commit prostitution on the defendant’s part.
The severity of the punishment for solicitation often depends on the frequency of the crime‘s occurrence.
A first offense attracts a minor sentence, while a third offense carries a harsher penalty.
Solicitation is considered a misdemeanor sex crime if it is a first offense. According to Section 750.449a of the Michigan Penal Code, Act 328 of 1931, the penalty for a first-time offense is a maximum sentence of 93 days in jail, a fine of no more than $500, or both. In some states, the punishment for a first offense could include community service or be mandated to take classes on the dangers of prostitution. In such cases, the jail term or fine may be waived.
A second offense of solicitation is also a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to a year in county jail, a $1,000 maximum fine, or both. However, a third or subsequent conviction is a felony offense punishable by a potential two year prison sentence, a maximum $2,000 fine, or both.
Therefore, if you have been arrested for solicitation, either as a first offense or subsequent offense, you need a sex crimes lawyer. Our law firm will work with you to build a solid criminal sexual conduct defense that could help you get the soliciting a prostitute charges dismissed or the punishment reduced.
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Will You Be Required to Register as a Sex Offender for a Solicitation Conviction in Michigan?
Criminal sexual conduct and other sex crimes in Michigan carry harsh penalties, including mandatory sex offender registration. Convicted offenders are placed on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, which contains their personal details and information about the crime. This data is available to the public and can be accessed anytime.
However, a solicitation of prostitution conviction under Section 750.449a of the Michigan Penal Code, Act 328 of 1931, does not qualify as a Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III sex offender offense under the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA). Therefore, if you are convicted of solicitation in Michigan, the law does not require you to sign up with the Michigan Registry.
Even though you might not have to register under SORA, your chances of being employed in a school may be severely affected if you have been convicted of solicitation. All job applicants must submit to a background check before being hired in Michigan schools. Anyone guilty of soliciting or pandering cannot occupy a position at a learning institution.
Furthermore, if you are guilty of a crime involving solicitation of a minor under Section 750.449a(2) of the Michigan Penal Code, Act 328 of 1931, it is considered a Tier I sex offender offense under SORA. As a result, you will be required to register under SORA if you are convicted of soliciting a person under 18.
Will a Solicitation Conviction Affect Your Immigration Status in the U.S.?
A solicitation conviction can be an obstacle when immigration matters are involved. It could affect your immigration status, particularly if you have a temporary visa, such as a work or study permit or a tourist visa.
However, if your immigration status is more stable, such as having a permanent residency, a solicitation conviction may not have such a significant impact. This is because solicitation for prostitution is usually considered a misdemeanor, especially if it is the first offense, and the chances of facing a lengthy jail term are low.
However, because solicitation and other prostitution-related crimes are considered immoral sexual conduct, if you are not a U.S. citizen, being found guilty could lead to the cancellation of your visa, a delay in the naturalization process, and even deportation.
What are the Possible Defenses of a Solicitation Charge?
In criminal cases, prosecutors must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. As such, criminal defendants work with their sex crime lawyers to weaken the prosecution’s case. If they successfully create solid sexual assault defense strategies, it could improve their chances of getting their charges dropped.
Creating the most effective defense against solicitation depends on the circumstances surrounding the event. If you could prove that the incident perceived as a solicitation was not one and that there was no payment in exchange for sex, it could be a potential legal defense against a solicitation charge. If you can also prove that although money was exchanged, it was not to solicit a sexual act, you could get the charges dropped.
In addition, entrapment could be used as a defense if the arrest was made as part of a police sting operation. When police are involved in a sting operation, the officers should not try to lure people into prostitution or criminal activity. Instead, they should wait until a suspect starts the illegal activity. If you were drawn into solicitation by the police, it could serve as a defense against criminal charges.
How Can a Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Help You Beat Solicitation Charges?
If you face solicitation or prostitution charges, you must work with a criminal sexual conduct attorney who handles such criminal cases. A seasoned CSC defense attorney will advise you on the most effective defense strategies and help you avoid a conviction.
Blank Law, PC Provides an Excellent Legal Defense Against Solicitation Charges in Michigan
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a skilled Michigan criminal defense lawyer solely handling sex crimes. Having worked as a former prosecutor with the Sex Crimes Unit in Macomb County, Nicole has decades of experience with Michigan prostitution laws and can help you create the best defense strategies.
Nicole Blank Becker places a great emphasis on developing a solid attorney-client relationship with her clients, which enables them to openly communicate confidential or sensitive information regarding their sex crime case with her. Contact us for a free consultation today.