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Understanding the charges for solicitation of a prostitute

When we think about sex crimes, our minds may not immediately jump to prostitution and solicitation. More likely, we consider the possession of child pornography, rape and sexual assault as the more common sex offenses. However, a significant number of Maryland residents still face charges for solicitation and prostitution. Both the individual offering the sexual services and the person paying for the acts may be vulnerable to criminal prosecution.

Laws concerning prostitution and solicitation differ from state to state. In Maryland, both violations are considered criminal offenses that can be prosecuted in Baltimore and other jurisdictions. Further, some federal guidelines govern the legal process for those accused of transporting a person across state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.

Many Maryland residents may not be aware that they could face significant criminal charges for just seeking sexual services. This is known as soliciting a prostitute, and it can carry significant personal, criminal and professional consequences. Solicitation charges may be pressed even if the defendant never received the sexual services; the simple fact that the defendant allegedly encouraged another person to commit a crime can be enough to obtain a conviction.

It is important to note that the agreement to obtain a prostitute's services does not always have to be explicit. For example, the defendant does not have to say, "I want to pay you for sex." Instead, the agreement may be tacit or implied; the person only has to show intent to engage the prostitute. Defendants who withdraw money from an ATM to pay the alleged prostitute may demonstrate intent.

The complexities of solicitation and prostitution laws require a knowledgeable professional to navigate. Criminal defendants who are facing either type of allegation should know their legal rights and options after being charged with this type of sex offense. An arrest for either of these violations does not mean that the defendant is considered guilty by default.

Source: FindLaw, "Findlaw: Prostitution" Sep. 08, 2014

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