Columbia Prostitution Lawyer
Prosecution for offenses connected with prostitution is viewed from a number of different perspectives in Columbia. Some people believe prostitution should not be treated as a crime at all because it involves conduct between willing participants. Others, however, see prostitution as an illegal vice damaging to society. An increasingly common view, moreover, is that the practice of prostitution carries the opportunity to exploit vulnerable members of the population, and for that reason, it should carry severe consequences.
Regardless of the severity of the criminal penalties, however, charges or convictions connected with prostitution carry a stigma that can cause multiple problems for years to come. So, if you are facing or expect to face charges involving prostitution, it is advisable to consult a Columbia prostitution lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled criminal defense attorney who understands how to fight charges connected with prostitution could defend your rights and help minimize the potential consequences.
The Definition of Prostitution and Related Offenses
Prostitution, solicitation, and related crimes are defined in the Maryland criminal code starting at Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §11-301. This section defines prostitution as performing sexual acts, making sexual contact, or engaging in vaginal intercourse “for hire.” Someone commits solicitation when they urge, induce, encourage, request or command one of these actions.
Assignation is also prohibited under the laws. This is defined as making an appointment for someone to engage in prostitution or taking any action to bring about such an appointment.
Prohibited Acts and Penalties
Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §11-306 prohibits Columbia residents from knowingly:
- Practicing prostitution
- Engaging in assignation
- Operating a place for prostitution
- Allowing a building to be used for prostitution
- Letting someone into a building for prostitution
- Soliciting someone for prostitution
- Procuring someone for prostitution
- Offering to solicit or procure for prostitution
If someone is convicted of violating one of these provisions, they may be imprisoned for up to one year and fined up to $500. These offenses are considered misdemeanors. A person considered to be the victim of human trafficking may assert duress as an affirmative defense to a charge under this statute. It is best to speak to a knowledgeable attorney to learn more about prostitution charges and the potential penalties associated with the offense.
Other Crimes Connected with Prostitution
While the above offenses are treated as misdemeanors, many other crimes connected with prostitution are felonies with much more serious penalties. Those penalties may be even more severe when minors are involved. For example, if someone persuades or helps entice a minor under the age of 16 to leave home and hides them for purposes connected with prostitution, that person may be convicted of a felony and sentenced to as much as 25 years in prison.
A person who accepts proceeds from prostitution may be found guilty of an offense which is nominally called a misdemeanor. However, they may be sentenced to up to ten years in prison and a fine of up $10,000.
Finally, if an individual takes someone to a place to engage in prostitution or persuades someone to be taken to a place to engage in prostitution, they may be convicted of misdemeanor human trafficking with a potential sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of to $5,000. If threat, coercion or fraud is used, or if a minor is involved, the offense is treated as a felony and the maximum sentence increases to 25 years with a potential fine of $15,000.
Speak with a Columbia Prostitution Attorney Today
To put the matter simply, you do not want your record to show a crime connected with prostitution. But even if charges against you are dismissed or otherwise dropped, they may remain on your record unless you take positive steps to protect your record.
A Columbia prostitution lawyer could help. When you consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, you could learn the options for defense and for keeping your record as clean as possible. To learn more, call now for a free consultation.