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Being charged with criminal prostitution charges in the District of Columbia can be a scary ordeal . Not only are there serious legal penalties for criminal prostitution charges, but there is also the very real possibility of public embarrassment, if found guilty.
If you have been arrested for Solicitation of Prostitution in DC by an undercover police officer, it is likely that you were “lured” by the DC police on a certain street to a hotel room. Usually, it follows that a pretty young woman (the undercover cop) confirms the arrangement of going to a hotel room to have sex for a fixed sum of money. She has likely made sure to have you confirm the notion by making you say or repeat the the fact that you want to have sex for that certain fixed amount of money, and once you have done this then she will proceed to arrest you for solicitation of prostitution.
Or another scenario may be, that you and the undercover female officer actually go to a hotel room, where a “sting” has been set up by the police. Once you and her are in the hotel room, she then steps into the bathroom to “get into something more comfortable.” Police officers then burst into the room and make the arrest. Police also use a hidden camera to record the initial interaction. If one of these two scenarios has happened to you and now find yourself facing charges of Solicitation of Prostitution in DC Superior Court, then it is imperative that you speak to a DC attorney that is experienced in representing defendants charged with Solicitation of Prostitution offense in the District of Columbia and can navigate all of the options available to defendants.
Elements of the Offense
It is unlawful for anyone in Washington, D.C. to engage in prostitution or to solicit for prostitution. “Prostitution” means a sexual act or contact with another person in return for giving or receiving a fee. According to this definition, both the person offering the services and the person receiving the services could be convicted of the offense. “Soliciting for prostitution” is defined as inviting, enticing, offering, persuading, or agreeing to engage in prostitution.
The penalty for prostitution in the District of Columbia is a fine of $500 and/or not more than 90 days imprisonment for the first offense; a fine of $750 and/or up to 135 days imprisonment for a second offense; and a fine of $1000 and/or not more than 180 days for a third and each subsequent offense. The court may “suspend” the sentence (that is, order probation in lieu of incarceration) for a conviction of prostitution. It may also order the person to stay away from the area in which the offense occurred, submit to medical and mental health treatment or fulfill any other conditions the court may impose. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2701. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2701.1. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2703.
DC Prostitution Free Zones
In the District of Columbia the DC Metropolitan Police Department has created or “marked” out areas which are called “Prostitution Free Zones”. In these zones, designated in specific areas of Washington, DC at specific times, it becomes unlawful for a “group of two or more persons to congregate on public space…for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or prostitution-related offenses.” If anyone is found to be in violation of these rules, a DC police officer will typically issue a warning and order to disperse before making an arrest. Penalties for violating such a zone include a potential $300 fine and a 180-day jail sentence.
Plea Agreements or Diversion Programs for Solicitation of Prostitution Defendants.
First-time offenders may be eligible to participate in a “diversion” program in which the charges are dismissed after the defendant successfully completes an agreed-upon set of conditions. An experienced DC prostitution lawyer can negotiate with the AUSA’s (Assistant US Attorney/Prosecutor) office in order to help a defendant receive the best possible diversion or plea offer in relation to a charge for a Solicitation offense. Defendants usually are eligible to participate in a Deferred Sentencing Agreement (DSA). where, the defendant is required to plead guilty to the offense in order to participate. The court refrains from entering the guilty plea and sentencing the defendant over a six-month period. If the defendant successfully completes the terms of the DSA, the court allows the defendant to withdraw the guilty plea and the prosecution dismisses the charges. If the defendant fails to complete the terms during the prescribed time period, the judge enters the guilty plea and proceeds to sentencing.
It is important to note, that all diversion programs, are solely at the discretion of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
It is illegal to abduct or entice a child under the age of 18 years old, or to harbor a child, for the purposes of engaging in prostitution. The penalty for a conviction of this offense is a maximum fine of $20,000 and/or up to 20 years imprisonment. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2704.
It is against the law to to pander (that is, to recruit a prostitute or to solicit customers for a prostitute) or to induce or compel a person to engage in prostitution. It is also illegal to operate a house of prostitution. Property used in the course of prostitution can be subject to seizure and forfeiture. Vehicles can be impounded. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2705. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2706. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2707. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2710. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2711. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2712. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2723. D.C. Criminal Code 22-2724.
If you find yourself facing charges of Solicitation of Prostitution, Call the attorneys at Ervin Kibria PLLC . They are experienced in representing defendants charged with Solicitation of Prostitution offense in the District of Columbia and will help you understand all of the options available to defendants. Ervin Kibria PLLC promises to try to resolve the matter as quickly and as discreetly as possible.
Nabeel Kibria is a principal attorney of Ervin Kibria PLLC, representing clients in criminal and immigration matters throughout DC.