The Facts About Prostitution in Bucks County
Prostitution is defined in Title 18 of Chapter 31 in The Pennsylvania Criminal Code.
According to Pennsylvania law, it is illegal to:
- Participate in sexual activity for money;
- Hire an individual who is a prostitute;
- Make money through the promotion of prostitution;
- Loiter in a public area with the intention of being hired for sexual activity.
Hiring a prostitute and prostitution have serious penalties in Pennsylvania. If the charge is a first or second offense, it is a misdemeanor of the third degree. When the charge is a third offense, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree. A fourth charge or more will result in a misdemeanor of the first degree. If an individual committed the offense and was aware that he or she is HIV positive or has AIDS, then it is a felony of the third degree. Promoting prostitution can range from a second degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony, which will depend of the circumstances surrounding the offense. Patronizing prostitutes is an offense that occurs when an individual hires a prostitute to participate in sexual activity or if an individual enters an establishment of prostitution with the intentions to participate in sexual activity.
What are the Penalties for Prostitution in Pennsylvania?
The law in Pennsylvania regarding prostitution has a range of penalties. A primary factor that will influence sentencing is if the accused had prior prostitution charges. If the charge is an individual’s first or second offense, the maximum sentence is one year in prison. A third offense can lead to a two year prison sentence, and a fourth offense can result in a prison sentence up to five years. Patronizing prostitution results in similar penalties.
If the accused is charged with promoting prostitution, he or she will be charged with a second degree misdemeanor. However, under certain circumstances, these individuals may be charged with a third degree felony. For instance, an individual will be charged with a third degree felony if he or she promoted child prostitution, promoted a prostitute that is HIV positive or has AIDS, or operated an establishment of prostitution.
What You Should Do if You Have Been Charged With Prostitution
If you are charged with prostitution, it is important not to make the arresting officer angry, and you should refrain from discussing your circumstances with the arresting officer. Until a criminal defense attorney is at your side, it is best to remain silent. When the police attempt to question you, you can politely state that you want to speak with an attorney. If you have been arrested for prostitution during a sting operation, keep in mind that an undercover law enforcement official may be recording you, which is why it is important not to say anything regarding your situation.
Defenses to Prostitution
If you have been arrested for prostitution, a criminal defense attorney can help you establish a defense strategy. Some defenses for prostitution include:
- Insufficient evidence;
Entrapment may be used as a defense to prostitution charges. Most prostitution arrests are made by an undercover officer, and there are some cases where law abiding citizens are intentionally lured into a trap.
If you have been arrested for prostitution or a charge related to prostitution, contact our office today to schedule a consultation. Our defense team can ensure that your rights are protected.