Hiring someone for prostitution (or “sex for a fee” as it says in the Massachusetts statutes) is a risky proposition with aggressive law enforcement focus.
Police departments actively work with prosecutors to set up stings by running online ads. While Craigslist bans such activity and Backpage is shutdown, there are many other sites where solicitation by escorts is still widespread. And if potential customers can find them, so can police, to post fake solicitations for stings, and even entrapment. Attleboro police recently did just that on skipthegames.com and megapersonals.com.
Many of the Massachusetts District Attorney’s offices and Attorney General Maura Healy herself are also aggressively targeting and arresting anyone alleged to be hiring prostitution. While the goal of the crackdown is attempting to end human trafficking, consensual non-coerced sex work is absolutely under fire. And anyone running such an operation is should be deeply concerned about the risk of very serious charges.
And now in 2018, some state DAs are directing their prosecutors to not easily dismiss any of these cases and to fight for convictions.
This is an extremely embarrassing charge to face. I have represented many men accused of soliciting prostitution and other sensitive charges for which you wouldn’t want your family or coworkers to find out.
I can help.
If you are trying to figure out how to deal with a prostitution arrest, give us a call for a confidential consultation. We will discuss how we will aggressively defend your rights, work to avoid the most serious penalties, and most importantly, fight to prevent the stigma and embarrassment that would result from a criminal conviction on your record.
What Is Solicitation?
Solicitation means that an agreement is reached where one party receives sexual favors from another for money.
The act of agreeing to this arrangement is considered the crime of sex for a fee under Massachusetts criminal statutes.
There need be no sexual activity for the charge to be leveled. In many cases, police will run sting operations where an ad is placed offering to perform sexual acts for compensation. When the party arrives at an agreed upon location and accepts the fee, an undercover police officer will arrest you.
Other parties may also be charged with prostitution. For example, if someone receives financial gain from the prostitute’s services, he or she may be charged with soliciting for the prostitute. The penalties are also significant.
How We Defend Prostitution Charges
Lack of evidence that a crime took place is also a possible defense in some cases, as well as challenging witnesses to the incident. Finding yourself arrested in an area of the city that is known for prostitution does not imply guilt. Because many people are arrested for prostitution using undercover police, we may argue that entrapment was the cause for the charge. Massachusetts law enforcement is known to run sting ads on many different sites now that craigslist has banned such ads and backpage is shut down. Undercover officers may answer the phone, and try to get you to agree to pay for sex acts and show up at the sting location.
An entrapment defense, particularly if the defendant answered an ad of his or her free will, can require a very specific legal strategy. The opportunity might be enhanced by the undercover operation, but it must be proven that an offer to pay was solidified.
All cases are different, which is why we need to speak with you and understand the specifics of your exact situation and case, which we can do during a confidential case evaluation.
Penalties for a Prostitution Arrest
The penalties for prostitution are the same for prostitutes and their clients. Considered a misdemeanor offense, someone convicted can be fined up to $500 and/or sentenced up to one year in county jail. Brothel owners and pimps face more severe penalties of a $5,000 fine and a five-year jail term.
In addition, certain charges related to prostitution may require that the individual register as a sex offender in some cases. Most people are extremely concerned with this risk, so we can discuss whether this applies in your case, and what options we may have to avoid that.
With high-quality legal representation, it may be possible to get the case dismissed or the penalties lowered.
Other Impacts of a Prostitution Arrest and Conviction
The penalties may be harsh, but the effect it has on the individual convicted of the charge is enormous. It is often taken as breaking the morals clause required to obtain and keep many professional licenses, including medicine and dentistry. Once a license is revoked, it may take years to regain if at all. School teachers can be dismissed due to the charge and might not be able to teach again.
When the person’s picture is taken as he or she is booked, it can be published online and the charge placed in the newspaper’s crime section or made available wherever the person is being detained. Aside from the humiliation, a spouse may be hurt that his or her husband or wife solicited a prostitute and might ask for a divorce. This disrupts the family and may lead to a financial downturn as alimony and asset sales take a toll.
A Prostitution Arrest and When to Contact an Attorney
Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney right away when charged with prostitution can help lower penalties or have the case dismissed if sufficient evidence is found. The law office of Russell J. Matson has attorneys that can review your case and advise you, as well as answer your questions. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.