Fairfax County Solicitation Lawyer
In Fairfax County, it is illegal to either buy or sell sexual acts. Therefore, paying for the services of a prostitute is legally known as “solicitation,” and can lead to criminal charges that may have significant consequences, including a mark on an individual’s criminal record that may impact their personal, professional, and financial future.
If you were charged with solicitation, you may be overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. Defending against an accusation of solicitation is possible, however. With the help of a Fairfax County solicitation lawyer, you can work to raise a strong argument against your charges and challenge the evidence that the prosecutor may bring to court. A tenacious defense attorney could guide you through each step of the legal proceedings and help to shoulder the burdens of building a defense.
Laws Governing Solicitation
Soliciting a prostitute in Fairfax County is prohibited by Virginia Code Annotated §18.2-346(b). Importantly, there are three pieces to this law that a prosecutor needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a charge to turn into a conviction.
First, the prosecutor needs to show that “money or its equivalent” was being offered. This reaches beyond just cash and includes favors—sexual or otherwise—as well. Second, the prosecutor has to show that this offer was made in order to engage in a prohibited sexual act. Because this involves the difficult task of proving a suspect’s intent, this element of a case is often where a Fairfax County solicitation lawyer focuses their attention.
Third, the prosecutor needs to prove that there was a substantial motion made in furtherance of the sexual act. This may be anything from getting into a car together to arranging a meeting at a future date and time and subsequently showing up. Only if the prosecutor can prove all of these elements can a charge for solicitation turn into a conviction.
Defending Against a Solicitation Charge
A solicitation attorney in Fairfax County can help defend against a charge of solicitation by both raising effective defenses to build a defendant’s case and by challenging the prosecutor’s evidence. Many common defenses to a solicitation charge serve both of these purposes.
Perhaps the most common defense against a charge of solicitation is that there was no actual intent to engage in a sexual act. This may be an especially persuasive counter to a prosecutor’s case when the actions that were taken “in furtherance” of the sexual act have a perfectly innocent explanation.
However, another defense that is often raised against a solicitation charge is entrapment. Law enforcement cannot coerce people into committing crimes; when police try too hard to catch criminals, they can push innocent people into doing something illegal. This is known as entrapment, which may be a complete defense to a charge of solicitation.
Potential Penalties for a Solicitation Conviction
Typically, a conviction for solicitation in Fairfax County is deemed to be a Class 1 misdemeanor, the most severe type of misdemeanor. This offense is punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
However, if the person being solicited for a sexual act is between the ages of 16 and 18, the offense is elevated to a Class 6 felony. This offense includes a jail sentence of between one and five years, as well as a fine of up to $2,500. If the person being solicited was under the age of 16, however, the incident instead becomes a Class 5 felony, which carries a jail term of between one and 10 years, as well as a fine of up to $2,500.
Talk to a Fairfax County Solicitation Attorney Today
In Virginia, an accusation that you solicited someone for a sexual act is not a small one. Not only are there significant penalties involved for a conviction, but the blemish that this particular offense puts on your criminal background may be an obstacle for years to come.
By hiring a Fairfax County solicitation defense lawyer, you can fight back against your allegations. A well-versed attorney could explain your rights and work to protect your future. To understand how a legal professional may help, call today.