While some folks may think the idea of hiring a sex worker is no big deal, in the eyes of Maryland state law enforcement and prosecutors the charge is a serious one. Solicitation of prostitution charges are often brought in the city of Baltimore especially, as police look to crack down on lower level street crimes in the city in the hopes that this will also discourage more serious, violent acts. Getting charged with solicitation of prostitution can be an extremely embarrassing situation that you will likely want handled as privately and expeditiously as possible. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Baltimore solicitation of prostitution lawyers have years of experience successfully defending our clients against this charge. For a free, totally confidential consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
The Crime of Soliciting a Prostitute in Baltimore
Prostitution crimes are defined in Md. Criminal Code § 11-306. Under this section, a person may not knowingly do any of the following:
- Engage in any form of sexual act for money or other compensation
- Keep or operate a building, structure, or institution for the purpose of prostitution, such as a brothel
- Knowingly allow a business under your control to be used for the purpose of prostitution
- Allow or agree to allow anyone into a building or structure under your control for the purpose of engaging in prostitution
- Procure or solicit, or offer to procure, the services of a prostitute
Solicitation of a prostitute is covered by the fifth bullet point above. There are a number of different ways one can solicit a prostitute. The first thing that may come to mind is the old-fashioned image of a man in a car, driving slowly down a dark street as different prostitutes try to attract his attention. However, much solicitation of prostitution is done online in this computer age. It does not matter whether you used digital means to solicit the prostitute or did it face to face, you can be charged with this crime in either case.
You can also be charged with the crime even if you never actually receive the services of the prostitute. The crime is the act of solicitation rather than the sex act itself and thus is complete upon you making the overtures to the prostitute. There are many cases of undercover police officers posing as prostitutes in online chat rooms or creating fake profiles on web pages to try to catch those soliciting prostitution.
This crime is a misdemeanor when charged.
What Happens If You Have Been Arrested for Solicitation of Prostitution in Baltimore
Once you are arrested, you will be taken to the local police station for what is known as the booking process. During this process, your picture and fingerprints will be taken, your biographical information will be collected by the officers, and any items you had on your person when arrested will be inventoried by the police and kept until you are released. After booking, you will appear before a judge for a bail determination and an arraignment. The bail hearing should occur no more than 72 hours after you have been arrested, but usually occurs much sooner.
At the bail hearing, the judge will determine if you can be released or must post bail to get out of jail pending trial. For a low-level misdemeanor like solicitation of prostitution, it is common for a judge to release you on your own recognizance, or without bail. However, bail may be imposed if you have a prior criminal history or a record of not showing up for court appearances.
At the arraignment, the judge will read the charges against you and ask if you would like to plead guilty or not guilty. At this point, an experienced Baltimore criminal defense lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice will likely advise you to plead not guilty while we assess the evidence against you and try to work out a plea deal with the prosecutor. A plea deal could involve you entering a pre-trial diversion program or the prosecutor agreeing to drop the charge to something less serious, like disturbing the peace, in exchange for you waving your right to a jury trial.
If you choose to take your case to trial, you will have the right to choose between a jury trial and a bench trial, where a judge makes all the decisions. Our attorneys can help you make this choice and will mount an aggressive trial strategy to work toward a verdict of not guilty.
Penalties for Solicitation of Prostitution in Baltimore
Potential criminal penalties for solicitation of prostitution in Baltimore include a fine of up to $500 and up to a year in jail. Beyond these penalties, if convicted, this crime will also be on your criminal record going forward and may present a problem for certain types of employment or licensure processes. It is important to work with an attorney to get this charge reduced to something less embarrassing and more innocuous sounding on your record, or you could face trouble starting a career or getting a job down the line.
If You Have Been Charged with Solicitation of a Prostitute in Baltimore, Call Our Lawyers Today
While the criminal penalties for the crime of solicitation of a prostitute may seem minor in comparison to those for more serious crimes, any time you are facing a jail sentence it is no laughing matter. No one wants to have their life and career interrupted because they are being forced to spend time behind bars. In addition, the consequences of a conviction for this crime can follow you long after your case has officially ended if it winds up on your record. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our experienced Baltimore solicitation of a prostitute defense attorneys will work to get your charges dismissed or downgraded to something less serious. We will be by your side for every step of the process. Call our firm today at (410) 694-7291 for a free, confidential consultation.