Although South Carolina does not provide for a separate criminal offense of solicitation, the broad definition of prostitution encompasses the behaviors typically perceived as solicitation.
If you are facing charges, a Charleston solicitation lawyer could work with you to develop a robust and effective defense in your case. Through negotiations with prosecutors and, if necessary, a trial, a criminal defense attorney may be able to obtain a positive resolution.
What are the Solicitation Offenses in Charleston?
S.C. Code of Laws § 16-15-90 establishes various actions as illegal under the broad category of prostitution. Not only does prostitution include traditional notions of individuals who offer sex acts in exchange for money, but it also includes soliciting or hiring others to engage in sex acts by giving them money or anything of value. Solicitation includes both individuals soliciting prostitutes for themselves or third parties.
Furthermore, there is no requirement under the law that the transaction actually occurs for guilt to be found. In other words, there is no requirement that the parties exchange any money or consummate the agreed-upon sexual acts. Indeed, it is enough for there merely be an offer or agreement to commit solicitation for individuals to face criminal charges.
Are There Defenses to Solicitation?
Entrapment is a common defense to the hiring of prostitutes in Charleston. Many solicitation arrests result from “sting” operations that police officers wholly arrange and carry out. While police can orchestrate these stings, any persuasion or encouragement on the part of police to cause others to commit crimes may harm a prosecutor’s case.
An attorney in Charleston may be able to identify relevant defenses in cases involving solicitation and related charges. Prosecutors often base solicitation charges on circumstantial evidence, since police officers rarely personally witness a solicitation offense occurring. As a result, there may be various tactics that individuals could use to fight back against criminal charges.
Penalties for Solicitation Offenses in Charleston
Under S.C. Code of Laws § 16-15-110, all prohibited actions that constitute prostitution or solicitation are subject to the same penalties. The maximum potential sanctions for a prostitution conviction are as follows:
- First offense – $200 fine and 30 days in jail
- Second offense – $1,000 fine and six months in jail
- Third or subsequent offense – $3,000 fine and a minimum of one year in jail
Aside from fines and jail time, however, individuals with a prostitution or solicitation conviction will have a permanent mark on their criminal records. A conviction that appears on criminal background checks can create difficulties for individuals who are seeking to pursue new careers, looking for better jobs, or trying to attain credit to purchase a home. A legal representative in the area may be able to help individuals avoid a solicitation conviction record by pursuing reduced or dismissed charges.
Contact a Charleston Solicitation Attorney for Legal Advice
If you are facing solicitation charges, you may be experiencing extreme stress, confusion, and fear. The mere allegation of solicitation can be a detriment to your professional and personal relationships. In these situations, the advice and guidance of a Charleston solicitation lawyer could be essential.
Working closely with legal counsel may enable you to develop the defense strategy that is right for you and your circumstances. You may be able to attack circumstantial evidence against you, provide proof of a lack of intent to engage in solicitation, or pursue other defenses. Call today to learn how.