Solicitation refers to the act of requesting sexual favors from another person. There is no separate law handling solicitation in South Carolina, so individuals facing this accusation are formally charged with prostitution. This also means that the same penalties apply for any act of solicitation as for prostitution—some acts are misdemeanors, while others are felony charges.
If you were accused of solicitation, you might be facing potential jail time, as well as damages to your reputation. Fortunately, a criminal defense attorney could help you navigate the litigation process. A Mount Pleasant solicitation lawyer could help you learn more about what options you have and help to defend your reputation.
What is Sexual Solicitation?
South Carolina Code of Laws §16-15-90 states that it is illegal to solicit another person for prostitution or to help others engage in the act of prostitution. A person may also not enter a building or vehicle to hire a person for sexual services or transport a prostitute for an assignation.
What are the Penalties for Solicitation?
If the court finds a person guilty of solicitation, the applicable punishment would be based on how many prior prostitution-related offenses the defendant has. The first conviction may end in up to $200 of fines and 30 days in jail.
If the court finds a person guilty of a second violation, the punishment could be a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. Upon a third conviction, the maximum fine increases to $3,000, and the court must sentence the individual to at least a year in prison.
Penalties for Solicitation of a Minor
A person attempting to communicate with or induce a person under 18 years old to engage in some sexual act is a violation of S.C. Code §16-15-342. One of the key conditions of this charge is that the defendant knew or should have known they were talking to an underage person.
Consent is not a defense if the solicited person is less than 16 years old. Violation of this law is a felony, and the court may fine the defendant $5,000 and enforce a jail sentence of up to ten years. Representation from a Mount Pleasant solicitation attorney could be crucial to achieving a positive outcome in a case centered around this type of charge.
Acts Related to Solicitation
If a person “patronizes” a minor who is engaged in prostitution, that is a felony according to S.C. Code §16-15-425. Patronizing in this context may entail any of the following actions:
- Soliciting a minor
- Asking a minor to engage in an exchange of sex for money
- Paying, agreeing to pay or paying after the fact to a minor for prostitution
A person convicted of this offense must serve at least two years in prison before they are eligible for probation, and the maximum penalty is five years of imprisonment.
Even if an individual does not directly ask a prostitute to engage in a sexual act, asking a third party to do so on their behalf also violates the law and may result in the same penalties that solicitation would. A solicitation lawyer in Mount Pleasant could go into further detail about which particular charges may apply to a specific case and structure a defense strategy accordingly.
Contact a Mount Pleasant Lawyer Today
If you were accused of solicitation, you could be facing hefty fines and jail time, as well as damage to your reputation and your future prospects. Schedule a meeting with a Mount Pleasant solicitation lawyer today to find out more about what you could expect from the legal process and how to build a strong defense.