If you were charged with a prostitution, you may be feeling embarrassment and remorse. Being arrested for prostitution can not only bring a certain stigma, but can also come with severe consequences, like prison time, a criminal record and hefty fines.
A conviction of prostitution can mean time in prison away from your family, fines, and a misdemeanor or felony on your permanent record. This can make it difficult to get a job or future employment and ruin your reputation in your community.
Not every arrest leads to a conviction or guilty verdict. Navigating your way through the court system can be tricky, and in order to get the best outcome for your case it helps to have the experience of an aggressive and knowledgeable Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney.
Being Charged With Prostitution
While only a person selling sex for money can be guilty of prostitution, there are several other offenses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that qualify as offenses under the statute.
A person is guilty of prostitution if they:
- Engage in sexual activity in exchange for money; or
- Loiter in a public place (or in view of a public place) for the purpose of being hired for sexual activity.
A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if they:
- Buy, or offer to buy, sex from an individual.
Thus, the crime of prostitution consists of two separate crimes: prostitution and patronizing. The punishments for both crimes are the same.
It is illegal to promote prostitution in Pennsylvania. This is sometimes referred to as pimping or pandering. A person is guilty of promoting prostitution if they:
- Own or manage a prostitution business;
- Procure a person to be a prostitute;
- Find a customer for a prostitute;
- Find a prostitute for a customer;
- Encourage a person to be a prostitute;
- Transporting a person into or around PA for the purposes of prostitution;
- Live off of the proceeds of prostitution;
- Soliciting, making money, or agreeing to make money from any of the above.
Punishment For a Prostitution Conviction
If you are found guilty of prostitution or patronizing a prostitute, you can be sentenced to the following:
For a first or second offense:
- A misdemeanor of the third degree
- Up to one year in jail
- A fine of up to $2,500
For a third conviction:
- A misdemeanor of the second degree
- Up to two years in jail
- A fine of up to $5,000
For a fourth or subsequent conviction:
- A misdemeanor of the first degree
- Up to five years in jail
- A fine of up to $10,000
If you are found guilty of promoting prostitution, you can be sentenced to the following:
For a first offense:
- Up to three years in jail
- A fine of up to $5,000
It is important to note that the following crimes are punishable as felonies:
- Prostitution or patronizing when infected with HIV/AIDS;
- Promoting prostitution of a person infected with HIV/AIDS;
- Promoting the prostitution of a minor;
- Procuring a person for prostitution;
- Compelling another to engage in or promote prostitution;
- Promoting the prostitution of a spouse, child or person for whom the defendant is responsible.
The punishment for the above felony crimes include:
- A felony of the third degree on your criminal record
- Up to seven years in jailA fine of up to $15,000
It is also worth noting that it is required that the names of those convicted of patronizing more than once must be published in the local newspaper. So, adding to the misery of your conviction will be the shame of your entire community being informed of your crime.
How SMT Legal Can Help
There are many undercover operations whose sole purpose is to catch prostitutes and those who patronize or promote them. This can lead to instances of entrapment by law enforcement. At SMT Legal, we will be able to dig into the facts of your case and make sure that your rights were not violated in this way.
At SMT Legal, we want to make a positive difference in our clients’ lives. We know people make mistakes. We are skilled and experienced at winning cases and fighting for the charges to be reduced or dropped altogether. We will work diligently to ensure that your side of the story is the one the judge understands and believes. We will negotiate with prosecutors to have the charges reduced or withdrawn. We will use all our legal knowledge and the ability to get the best possible outcome for your case.