The Crime of Prostitution in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has very strict laws against prostitution. The state defines the crime as sexual activity performed for money or as a business. In addition, our laws allow district attorneys to charge anyone who enters a house of prostitution or is found in public areas seeking opportunities to engage in sex acts for pay.
In addition to strict laws against prostitution, Pennsylvania has laws against promoting prostitution. This can include operating a house of prostitution, “pimping,” and a variety of other activities.
This crime is a third-degree misdemeanor on the first and second conviction. It gradually escalates to being a first-degree misdemeanor on the fourth offense. In addition, the crime is a felony if the person knowingly had HIV or AIDS while engaging in the crime.
Consequences for a Prostitution Charge
Although prostitution is usually a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, the punishment can be harsh. The severity of your sentence will depend on your prior criminal record and the circumstances in which prosecutors believe you were committing the crime.
On the first or second offense, people can be put in jail for up to one year. In addition, they may be fined or placed on probation. There also may be restrictions on your life, such as not being allowed to go to certain areas in your town or associate with certain people. On the third offense, the maximum sentence rises to two years. A fourth or subsequent offense can lead to up to five years in prison. Patronizing a prostitute can have similar consequences, as can other crimes related to prostitution.
In addition to the time in jail, there are lifelong consequences of having a prostitution conviction on your record. This will come up in background checks for employment and housing. Your family and future partners will likely find out. The stigma associated with sex work is far greater than the legal consequences. Fighting this charge is essential to moving on to a successful future.
Fighting the Charges and Clearing Your Name
Although the punishment for this crime can be severe, there are several ways to fight the charge. Our Delaware County prostitution lawyers have helped hundreds of people just like you to successfully be acquitted and move on with their lives. You need the best legal help you can get at this difficult time.
There are several defenses against this crime that have worked in the past. Defendants can argue that the sexual activity was not performed for money or other business purposes. In some situations, it can be easy to create reasonable doubt. In addition, lawyers can argue that the law enforcement and investigators involved in the case committed entrapment or otherwise did not respect your Constitutional rights.
In addition, a criminal defense lawyer can sometimes persuade the courts and prosecutors to reduce charges to something with no jail time and less stigma. There is often a way to mitigate these serious charges.
Expert Help From Delaware County Prostitution Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been charged with prostitution or related crimes, you need immediate legal help. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you to fight these charges and get your life back. We will treat you with respect and remember that you are always innocent until proven guilty. Call us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.