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What is 'assignation' in Maryland?

You might consider hiring a prostitute a victimless crime, and you wouldn't be alone in that opinion. However, it is a crime. It's called solicitation.

Criminal solicitation can actually involve encouraging, requesting or demanding a person to engage in any sort of criminal activity. However, the term "solicitation" is most commonly used to refer to activities involving prostitution.

In Maryland, the term "assignation" is also used to refer to arranging an appointment for or engaging in an act that involves prostitution.

Even if no act of prostitution is committed, simply making the request is against the law. For example, if someone requests sex from an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a prostitute, that person can be arrested.

Penalties for solicitation vary. However, they are generally more serious if the person who engages in or is asked to engage in the prostitution is a minor. A person convicted of solicitation who already has a criminal record is more likely to face jail than someone who has no prior criminal record. Further, Maryland has laws mandating that people inform their sexual partners if they have HIV or AIDS.

Unless a person is caught engaging in a prostitution-related activity, it can be difficult to prove that solicitation occurred. That's assuming that the request wasn't made to an undercover officer. A person accused of solicitation could also argue that there was a miscommunication and that he or she wasn't requesting sex.

If someone is convicted of or pleads guilty to solicitation, there may be alternatives to spending time in jail. Sometimes people are allowed to perform community service. They may still have to pay a fine, even if they avoid spending time behind bars. A Maryland attorney who has experience defending people charged with sex crimes can provide guidance on the best line of defense given your particular situation.

Source: FindLaw, "Solicitation," accessed April 05, 2018

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