A conviction for sexual conduct for a fee (prostitution) carries the possibility of a jail sentence.
Elements of Sexual Conduct for a Fee
In order to convict the defendant of sexual conduct for a fee, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant either offered to engage, or agreed to engage, or actually engaged, in sexual conduct with somebody else; and
- The sexual conduct was done, or going to be done, in exchange for a fee.
Sexual conduct includes vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral intercourse, masturbation of another person, or any other intrusion of a part of one’s body or some other object into the genital or anal opening of another person’s body.
Sexual conduct for a fee can be charged against the alleged prostitutes and their alleged customers. The jail sentences for the customers are more severe than those for the prostitutes.
Common Defenses and Defense Strategies
- Police officers usually know the local prostitutes. Upon witnessing the prostitutes waving at passing cars, the officers will often immediately arrest the prostitutes. An argument can be made that waving at cars is an innocent activity.
- Motions to Suppress can often be filed in these cases. The police are not necessarily entitled to stop a car because they see a man pick up a known prostitute on the side of the road. Many times, upon stopping the car, the police will obtain incriminating statements from both the prostitute and her customer. However, the other participant will almost never testify at trial and his or her statement constitutes inadmissible hearsay. If the stop of the motor vehicle was unconstitutional, your statement to the police will likely be suppressed as “fruit of the poisonous tree” and the Commonwealth may be left with no evidence.
- While a conviction for prostitution carries potentially serious consequences, it is a relatively minor crime. If the defendant does not have a criminal record, the Commonwealth will sometimes agree to dismiss the charges on court costs. However, in some cases the Commonwealth will choose to prosecute members of a prostitution ring with human trafficking, which is a serious crime with long potential prison sentences. Even if a prostitution conviction does not result in jail time, it carries a stigma that can be damaging (for both the prostitute and her client), so the importance of resolving the case without a conviction cannot be overstated.
It is dangerous for anybody charged with a crime to appear in court without a lawyer, even if the charges do not appear serious. There might be defenses that a Middlesex County criminal attorney will identify that will result in a favorable resolution of the case. If you are charged with a prostitution offense, you should hire an attorney to accompany you to court. Attorney Chris Spring prosecuted prostitution cases when he worked as an assistant district attorney early in his career, and has represented many defendants charged with prostitution, trespassing, and arson offenses since becoming a defense attorney. Call Attorney Spring today and schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.