Prostitution is illegal in Minnesota, and while enforcement varies, police in Minnesota often crack down on areas where prostitutes and their clients frequent.
The penalties for soliciting a prostitute vary, from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the offense and the accused’s criminal history. That makes having a highly skilled defense attorney in your corner critical, not only to help you avoid jail and, if at all possible, beat the charge.
The following is a brief rundown of the punishment you can expect if you are caught trying to hire a prostitute.
What is Prostitution Per Minnesota Law?
Minnesota law is clear: Prostitution is illegal. What, though, constitutes prostitution? According to Section 609.321 of Minnesota law, prostitution happens when a person is hired or offered money or other benefits for sexual penetration or contact. That definition is important because it means sexual penetration is unnecessary to warrant a solicitation charge.
Practically, being able to be arrested whether penetration occurs or not means that a person can be arrested for solicitation even if no sex took place. Offering and accepting something for sexual acts is enough to get you arrested.
Depending on the circumstances, you can also be charged with sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is a much more serious offense than hiring a prostitute for sex. If you are charged with sex trafficking, you need the best criminal defense attorney you can find, as you could be looking at a long stint in jail and federal charges.
What Penalties Come With a Prostitution Conviction?
As mentioned, depending on the crime and the history of those accused, a solicitation charge can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. In many cases, someone convicted of solicitation of a prostitute will be looking at jail time. If the charge is aggravated, the defendant has a history of convictions, or a minor is involved, the penalties can be severe.
Anyone accused of attempting to hire or hiring a prostitute for sex will be charged with a misdemeanor if the prostitute is a legally consenting adult. The penalty for a basic prostitution charge that is a misdemeanor is a $500 fine and 20 hours of community service.
In some cases, the misdemeanor might be elevated to a gross misdemeanor, in which jail time is a real possibility, up to 365 days. A fine is also applied, and most people convicted of a gross misdemeanor must perform some community service.
If a person tries to hire a minor for sex, they will be charged with felony solicitation. The penalties for soliciting a minor vary, depending on the minor’s age. Jail time for a conviction of felony solicitation is 5 to 20 years. Factors that determine the amount of jail time include, but are not limited to:
- The defendant’s criminal history
- The age of the prostitute
- The circumstances of the minor prostitute
A defendant can argue that they did not know the true age of the prostitute, although that means admitting the misdemeanor crime occurred to avoid a felony charge. Anyone admitting to committing a crime needs a criminal defense attorney to look out for them.
While the penalties for various offenses involving prostitution are laid out in statute, almost all depend on the circumstances of the case. There is no “one size fits all” charge, nor is there a blanket punishment.
You Need an Expert Prostitution and Solicitation Defense Attorney
Because prostitution charges are so fluid, hiring an expert criminal defense attorney with experience defending solicitation charges is critical. A good defense attorney can get you the best outcome possible. Going it alone can mean you end up in jail when you could have avoided it. Contact CJB Law today to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.