As a criminal attorney in Philadelphia, I help people accused of crimes including solicitation of prostitution. Prostitution has been called the world’s oldest profession, and some have seen it as a victimless crime, but the truth remains that people who have been engaged in it will face criminal charges in the state of Pennsylvania. Arrests for patronizing a prostitute will involve more than the embarrassment and shame of seeing one. That individual will also face possible fines and imprisonment.

Your Fifth Amendment Right

In some cases, law enforcement has used tactics that convince offenders to take risks or actions that they may not have otherwise taken. Sometimes police arrest people as a result of a simple misunderstanding. If you have been arrested for patronizing a prostitute in Philadelphia, you can look at the legal counsel before you talk to police. In fact, it is your fifth amendment right to stay silent after an arrest because anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.

How Does Pennsylvania Define Prostitution?

State law defines prostitution as an act of engaging in sexual activity as a business. Under the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 8 5902(e), you can be charged with soliciting a prostitute if you have hire any person with the intent to engage them in sexual activity. For example, if they enter your home or remain in a prostitution house. Sometimes TV has said that money exchange or sex must take place for a person to be arrested. However, police only need to take a recording of an online agreement or verbal agreement in person to press charges.

Criminal Charges for Patronizing a Prostitute in Pennsylvania & How They are Determined

When it comes to the classification of prostitution solicitation, it will depend on a number of factors, such as the offender’s previous convictions and whether they knowingly spread a sexually transmitted disease. For the first or second offense, a person will receive a third-degree misdemeanor. On the third offense, they will receive a second degree misdemeanor, and on the fourth and subsequent offenses thereafter, they will receive a first-degree misdemeanor. However, if the offender knew they had HIV, and they solicited a prostitute, it will be a third-degree felony charge.

The Penalties for Patronizing a Prostitute in Philadelphia

People who have been convicted of patronizing a prostitute face a number of fines. For example, for a third-degree misdemeanor, they face a maximum sentence of one year in prison, and they could receive a fine of up to $2,500. For a second-degree misdemeanor, the maximum prison sentence rises to two years in prison, and they will face a maximum of a $5,000 fine. With a first degree-degree misdemeanor, the maximum sentence will be five years in prison, and the person will have a possibility for a $10,000 fine. Third-degree felony can result in a maximum prison sentence of seven years, and the person could be liable for a $15,000 fine.

Other Penalties for Patronizing a Prostitute in Philadelphia

After the second or following offenses, Pennsylvania law dictates that offenders will have their name published in the newspaper of the judicial district in that court system, which can lead to public embarrassment and trouble in the workplace. The offender will be held liable for the cost of publishing and the court costs. In addition to patronizing a prostitute, state law also prohibits people from promoting prostitution through the operation of brothels and houses for prostitution.

Some of the common defenses against prostitution include sexual activity not performed with the intention of business. The defense can also prepare for something called entrapment where law enforcement officials arranged for the arrest in advance. The state laws surrounding prostitution change regularly, so speaking with an attorney is the best route to learning the current laws related to the subject matter.