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Law enforcement officials in Pennsylvania have taken great measures to crack down on prostitution in Philadelphia. The law in Pennsylvania states that a prosecuting attorney can charge a person who participates in sexual activity for money or loiters in a public place to solicite sex for money with prostitution. Furthermore, an individual who enters an establishment of prostitution or pays an individual to engage in sexual activity can be charged with patronizing prostitutes.
The law in Pennsylvania also states that it is illegal to promote prostitution. If an individual promotes prostitution by managing or owning an establishment of prostitution or hires an individual to engage in prostitution, he or she could be charged with promotion of prostitution.
What are the Penalties for Prostitution in Pennsylvania?
The law in Pennsylvania has a broad range of sentences and penalties for prostitution. One primary factor that will determine penalties and sentencing is if the accused had prior offenses for prostitution. If the charge is a first or second offense, the individual will probably be charged with a third degree misdemeanor. If convicted, this charge could lead to a maximum prison sentence of one year.
When the charge is a third offense, the individual will be charged with a second degree misdemeanor. This charge could lead to a maximum prison sentence of two years. A fourth offense or higher could result in a first degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. If an individual participated in prostitution with the knowledge that he or she is HIV positive or has AIDS, then the individual will face a third degree felony charge. The laws for patronizing prostitution carry similar consequences.
When an individual is charged with promoting prostitution, the offense is a second degree misdemeanor. However, there are instances where an individual accused of promoting prostitution will be charged with a third degree felony. When the accused promoted child prostitution, operated an establishment of prostitution, or promoted prostitution of an individual with HIV or AIDS, it would lead to a third degree felony charge. In Pennsylvania, the maximum prison sentence for individuals convicted of a third degree felony is seven years.
What to do if You Have Been Arrested for Prostitution
If you have been arrested for prostitution, it is vital not to anger the arresting officer. Your actions can be used against you, so it is best to be polite. In addition, it is also important that you refrain from answering any questions until you have a criminal defense attorney.
What are Defenses to a Prostitution Charge?
There are a number of defenses that could be used to fight a prostitution charge. One defense strategy is entrapment. This occurs when a law enforcement official uses an aggressive manner to get the accused to attempt a sexual act. There are also some instances where the accused was unaware that a crime was taking place. A criminal defense attorney could argue that the accused would not have participated in sexual activity if the law enforcement officer had not been so aggressive.
There are also some instances where lack of evidence could be used as a defense strategy. Many prostitution charges are surrounded by evidence that is circumstantial. Evidence that is produced must be adequate enough to prove that an individual knowingly and willingly participated in prostitution.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for Prostitution Charges
If you have been charged with prostitution, it is crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Although the burden of proof is on the prosecuting attorney, an early and solid defense strategy could lead to a better outcome. A criminal defense attorney can examine the case and identify insufficient evidence.
If you have been charged with prostitution in Philadelphia, contact our law office. Our team of legal experts can ensure that your rights are protected.