A common case that a St. Paul Prostitution Lawyer handles is from someone who receives a ticket for soliciting prostitution as a result of a police sting. Here are some things to know if you are charged with soliciting a prostitute in Minnesota:
Misdemeanor and Gross Misdemeanor Prostitution
Minnesota law has two different offenses for first-time patrons (someone who solicits a prostitute): A basic prostitution offense will be charged as a misdemeanor. If you are convicted, the penalties typically include a minimum $500 fine and attendance at a program to discourage engaging in future prostitution. In addition, community service, house arrest, or even up to 90 days in jail could be imposed. In some cases, it is possible to the conviction vacated and dismissed after probation is completed; however, this condition typically must be approved by the prosecutor and the judge.
A first-time prostitution offense can be charged as a gross misdemeanor if the offense takes place in a “public place.” A public place isn’t limited solely to the streets or outdoor areas. It also includes hotels, motels, and massage parlors, in addition to other businesses. So, this enhancement applies to the common police sting scenario where the encounter happens in a hotel. Unlike a misdemeanor, the gross misdemeanor offense carries a minimum fine of $1,500 and can require up to 365 days in jail.
Defenses and Other Options
So, if you are charged with a prostitution offense in Minnesota, what can you do? It varies by the case, but there are some common defenses in a prostitution charge.
First, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. This requires the State to prove that you solicited sexual services. If the conversation is ambiguous, or the agreement was for non-sexual services, then the State might be unable to prove the required elements to get a conviction.
Second, an entrapment defense might be available. Entrapment essentially means that the police induced you to commit the crime. So, if you can show that the police caused you to commit the offense and that you would not have committed the offense without police intervention, you may be able to defend against the charge. The applicability of this defense depends on the specific facts of the case.
Get a Prostitution Attorney
The best course of action is typically to get a Minnesota Prostitution Attorney to handle your case. St. Paul Prostitution cases can be complex, so your best defense is to make sure you have an experienced professional helping. If you are charged with a prostitution offense in Ramsey County, Hennepin County, or anywhere in the Twin Cities area, call St. Paul Criminal Defense Attorney Eric Rice for a free consultation at 651-998-9660.