Solicitation & How You Could Be “Caught”
In the state of California, a person who solicits another person to engage in a sexual act in return for money or other consideration such as drugs, could be charged with solicitation of prostitution. If you have been charged with this crime, the prosecutor must prove you requested that another person engage in an act of prostitution, you fully intended to engage in that act, and you did something to further the commission of the act of prostitution. The city of Oakland has cracked down on the crimes of pimping, prostitution and solicitation of prostitution, resulting in “sting” operations which have netted a number of arrests in the area. In some cases the police department posts ads on Craigslist or Backpage.com, then when a person answers the ad and sets up a meeting they are arrested by the Oakland PD.
Although it would seem these sting operations come very close to entrapment, in order to claim the entrapment defense the defendant would have to prove he or she had absolutely no intention of committing a crime but were persuaded to do so by an undercover police. A diligent criminal defense attorney may also show there is simply not enough evidence to convict, that not all elements of the crime were met, or that you are truly innocent of the charges. So, if you are arrested for solicitation, what should you do to help minimize the damage such charges can bring?
Take Your Miranda Rights Seriously
If you are arrested for solicitation of a prostitute, it is extremely important that you remain silent after stating your name and address. You should not be combative or uncooperative, just politely state that you will not answer questions until your attorney arrives. Many people feel they can “explain” to the police that they did not intend to engage in sex for money, and they will be allowed to go home. Don’t fall into this trap! The police are well-trained in coaxing those arrested for a sex crime to talk and, ultimately, incriminate themselves. The police absolutely do not have your best interests or your future at heart, and you should never assume they do. Just don’t talk until you can discuss the issue with your attorney.
The Oakland Police Department May Attempt to Shame You
The Oakland police department has recently begun posting photos of those arrested for pimping, prostitution and solicitation on the police website. The underlying idea is that because of the embarrassment associated with posting the photos, those considering engaging in solicitation might re-consider. The department’s webpage, which shows the photographs, is updated twice a month, and lists name and address in addition to showing a photograph of the accused. As you can imagine, it would be extremely embarrassing to have your photograph posted on a website for all to see—especially if your charges were unfounded.
Legal Repercussions of a Solicitation Conviction
If you are convicted of solicitation of a prostitute, you could find yourself sitting in jail for up to six months and may have fines and fees as high as $1,000. In some cases you might be ordered to undergo mandatory AIDS testing and education or could be placed on probation.
In addition to the serious legal consequences, there are many other non-legal consequences which can be every bit as distressing. First and foremost, there is the social stigma attached to such a crime. You could lose your job and even your family if convicted of solicitation of prostitution. If you hold a public office or have a high-profile job, the damage to your reputation could be hard to overcome. Further, it could become much more difficult to obtain employment with such a conviction on your record. If you are not a legal citizen of the United States, there could be immigration consequences associated with a conviction for solicitation such as removal from the country.
Why You Must Speak to an Oakland Criminal Defense Attorney
After your arrest, it may seem like the best thing to do is plead guilty in order to “make the charges go away.” It is important you not do this, certainly not without speaking to an experienced attorney. You stand a much better chance of having the charges dropped or being able to plead to a lesser offense if you hire an attorney to zealously fight against a conviction. Your knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can carefully review all the facts of your case then present you with options as well as best and worst case scenario. Your attorney understands the damage your reputation could suffer from a conviction for solicitation and will work hard for your rights and your future.