Allegations of prostitution may be uncomfortable to discuss, but actively addressing these charges could make the difference between conviction and acquittal. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer could help make sure that you are treated fairly in court.

Appearing in a court of law without representation could put you at a serious disadvantage. A Summerville prostitution lawyer could provide helpful advice, advocate for your interests, and fight for a positive outcome on your behalf.

What is the Legal Definition of Prostitution?

Many people think of prostitution as accepting cash in exchange for sex. While this behavior is included in the statutory definition, prostitution can also include engaging in any sexual activity with another in exchange for something of value.

A person may also face prostitution charges under the South Carolina Code of Laws §16-15-90 for engaging in activities related to prostitution. These activities include things like residing in a brothel or meeting someone in a home or vehicle for purposes of prostitution.

Law enforcement is not required to catch someone engaged in a sex act before arresting them for prostitution. Police and prosecutors might claim that the following are evidence of alleged prostitution:

  • Possession of cash or sex-related paraphernalia
  • Being found in a brothel or location where prostitutes are believed to be present
  • Promiscuous clothing or behavior

Laws prohibiting sex work are broad, and the strength of available evidence can vary from case to case. Police may also conduct undercover operations that result in the arrest of alleged sex workers, but they must follow specific rules when doing so. A Summerville sex work attorney could evaluate a case and provide the defendant with advice on possible defenses, including entrapment or unreasonable search.

What are the Penalties for Prostitution Crimes?

Most prostitution-related crimes are subject to the same penalties regardless of the specific act, although crimes involving a person under the age of 18 may carry harsher penalties. Consequences for prostitution can include:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • A criminal record
  • Seizure and forfeiture of property

A prostitution lawyer in Summerville may be able to assess a case and fight for their client’s freedom.

Fines and Jail Time for Prostitution

The length of jail time and the fines a court may impose increase with subsequent convictions. While the sentence for a first offense may be relatively minor, the court must sentence a person found guilty of a third or subsequent offense to at least one year in prison. An individual facing these penalties should obtain an experienced attorney right away.

Other Penalties

Occasionally, a law enforcement agency can seize any property related to a sex crime. The seized property could include cash linked to an alleged exchange, vehicle, or other property police believe to be associated with prostitution.

Let a Summerville Prostitution Attorney Protect Your Rights

Since the penalties for prostitution grow harsher based on prior convictions, even a first-time offender should take these charges seriously. A Summerville prostitution lawyer could review the evidence in your case, evaluate plea bargain offers, and protect your constitutional rights at every step. Call today to discuss your case and get started on your defense.