Alexandria Solicitation Lawyer
The solicitation of sexual acts is illegal in Virginia. Therefore, a conviction for a charge could be costly, possibly resulting in fines, a jail sentence, and probation. Furthermore, a criminal charge could leave a mark on a person’s criminal history that might affect a person’s professional, social, and personal future.
If you were accused of solicitation, an Alexandria solicitation lawyer might be able to help. By retaining a practiced defense attorney, you could rest assured with the knowledge that skilled legal counsel is working to build a persuasive defense to protect your rights and freedom.
The Legal Definition of Solicitation
Soliciting a sexual act is prohibited in Alexandria under the Code of Virginia § 18.2-346(b). This statute defines the act of solicitation as having three essential elements:
- Paying, or offering to pay, “money or its equivalent”
- That offer of payment was made to engage in a sexual act
- There was a substantial act in furtherance of performing that sexual act
Therefore, each of these elements must be demonstrated — beyond a reasonable doubt — by the prosecutor in order for a charge of solicitation to turn into a conviction. A seasoned Alexandria solicitation attorney could help to explain the specific charges a defendant faces, as well as advise about potential next steps in a case.
Offering to Pay Money and its Equivalent
The first element of a solicitation charge deals with payment. Importantly, however, no actual payment has to be made.
Instead, it is enough to simply offer to pay for a sexual act in order to have committed this act. Additionally, this element is satisfied even if the payment is not in the form of money; for example, offering to pay by trading a good or service might suffice to be accused.
Payment for the Purpose of Engaging in a Sexual Act
The second element for the crime of solicitation requires the prosecutor to show that the payment was made for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act. However, demonstrating that there was this specific intent involved might be difficult, as prosecutors usually have to rely on actions and statements in order to prove what was going through someone’s mind. This often makes the second element especially difficult to demonstrate, meaning an experienced solicitation attorney in Alexandria might be able to build a defense surrounding this area.
A Substantial Act in Furtherance
The final step a prosecutor generally must have involves showing that there was a “substantial act in furtherance” of performing the sexual act that was alleged to be solicited. This might include leaving the scene with a sex worker or scheduling a time and place for a subsequent meeting.
Possible Penalties for Solicitation in Alexandria
In many cases, a conviction for solicitation in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which could lead to up to one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $2,500. However, the penalties for solicitation generally get worse if the person being paid for a sexual act is a minor.
Soliciting someone between the ages of 16 and 18 is a Class 6 felony, punishable with one to five years in jail. Soliciting someone under the age of 16, on the other hand, is a Class 5 felony — which comes with a jail sentence of between one and ten years. In both cases, a fine could run up to $2,500.
Regardless of the level of the offense an accused person faces in Alexandria, a solicitation conviction is often a serious blemish on their criminal history; a simple background check would disclose the offense, perhaps leading to difficulty securing a job or even housing. Because of the severity of these charges, a proactive solicitation attorney in the area could help to assess a defendant’s unique circumstances and work to protect their freedom.
How an Alexandria Solicitation Attorney Might Help
Facing criminal charges of any kind could be a frightening and overwhelming time in a person’s life. Alongside the potential penalties they might face, a person accused with solicitation might feel pressured to act quickly instead of working to build a persuasive defense.
If you were charged with solicitation, an Alexandria solicitation lawyer could help to explain your potential options and go through each step of the legal process by your side. If retained, a well-versed defense attorney could work tirelessly to build a case in your defense. To see how legal counsel might help you, call today.