The attorneys at Conyers & Nix are prominent criminal defense attorneys, successfully navigating even the most complex cases related to prostitution and solicitation. As former public defenders with a proven record of success, we have the experience and knowledge needed to fight for your rights and protect your future. We know that prostitution charges can have a major impact on the lives and reputations of those involved. Sex crimes often come with harsh social stigma, and being convicted of soliciting a prostitute can result in backlash from your community and affect the way you work, live, and plan for the future. To speak with a zealous Salt Lake City prostitution defense lawyer from our team, contact us at (385) 325-3375 today.
What Are the Laws Regarding Prostitution in Utah?
Prostitution refers to the act of engaging in sex in exchange for payment. According to Utah Code § 76-10-1302, a person is guilty of prostitution when they engage in sexual activity with another person for a fee or the functional equivalent of a fee. The law provides for several different forms of prostitution-related crimes, including:
- Prostitution: Engaging in sexual activity for payment, working in an establishment of prostitution, or loitering in public with the purpose of being hired for prostitution.
- Patronizing a prostitute: Compensating or offering to compensate another person for sexual services or remaining in an establishment of prostitution with the intent to take part in sexual activity.
- Aiding prostitution: Enticing a person to solicit a prostitute, acquiring (or attempting to acquire) a prostitute for a client, or committing an act that facilitates prostitution.
- Exploiting prostitution: Colloquially referred to as pimping, this crime involves encouraging or causing another person to become or remain a prostitute.
A key part of the law states that a person is guilty of sexual solicitation when they intend to pay another individual to engage in any of the following acts:
- Exposing genitals, buttocks, anus, pubic area, or the female breast
- Touching genitals, buttocks, anus, pubic area, or the female breast
- Any act of lewdness
Intent must be present to convict a person of sexual solicitation. Utah law states that intent can be inferred from an individual engaging in, offering to engage in, or requesting another person to engage in any of the aforementioned acts.
According to Utah law, prostitution and all related offenses are illegal. This means that any individual involved in prostitution or soliciting prostitution can be convicted of a criminal offense. An experienced Salt Lake City prostitution defense lawyer can provide greater detail about the laws regarding prostitution in Utah.
How Does Utah Law Treat Prostitution Versus Escort Services?
Escorting is defined as exchanging companionship or social interaction in exchange for money. An escort may accompany their clients to an event, dinner, or an entertainment venue. Many people mistakenly conflate prostitution and escort services, but the two are very distinct under the law. While prostitution is illegal in Utah, escort services are legal.
Utah allows escorts to offer their services in the state, as long as they have a license in every city that they work in. Thus, providing escort services without a valid license is considered a criminal offense. Moreover, if an escort has been hired to engage in sexual activity with their client, this is also illegal under Utah law.
What Are the Potential Consequences for Prostitution?
If you are found guilty of a crime related to prostitution, you may face consequences including jail time and hefty fines. Under Utah Code § 76-10-1313, prostitution, patronizing a prostitute, and aiding prostitution are all Class B misdemeanors. The penalties for these misdemeanors include up to six months of jail and up to one thousand dollars in fines. Subsequent offenses become a Class A misdemeanor, resulting in up to a year in prison and a maximum of $2,500 in fines.
There are two scenarios in which a prostitution-related charge can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony. If the offense involves a minor child, then the charge becomes a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a maximum of five years prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Individuals found guilty of aggravated exploitation of prostitution – which occurs when a person uses force, threats, or fear – will be charged with a second-degree felony, which is punishable by a maximum of fifteen years in prison and $10,000 in fines. If the aggravated exploitation of prostitution involves a child, the charge elevates to a first-degree felony with even steeper penalties.
It is important to note that if you are found guilty of aggravated exploitation of prostitution, you will be required to register as a sex offender for life. This can significantly impact your life, including your employment, living arrangements, and your freedom to move around your community. If you are convicted of a lesser offense, however, you will not be required to register as a sex offender. Your Salt Lake City prostitution defense lawyer can provide direct guidance for your unique case.
How Can You Plan Your Prostitution Defense?
If you are facing prostitution charges, the legal defense that you utilize can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Prosecutors will aggressively pursue a conviction for these crimes, and without a well-crafted defense strategy in place, you are left vulnerable to life-changing consequences. The first step to planning a prostitution defense is identifying an experienced attorney to handle your case. Look for a lawyer who has experience defending against prostitution charges and ensure that they have a proven record of success with these cases.
There are a variety of defenses that your attorney may use to protect your rights and have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. At Conyers & Nix, we review the unique circumstances of our client’s case and tailor a strategy to most efficiently resolve their case. Depending on the facts of your case, we may assert that there was a lack of intent. Merely having a conversation with a prostitute or police officer who is posing as a prostitute is not enough to convict someone of a criminal offense.
Alternatively, your attorney may challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution or the way that the evidence was procured. In these situations, entrapment is a common defense, considering that many arrests occur as a result of undercover law enforcement operations. To substantiate these defenses, it is beneficial to have a seasoned attorney by your side to gather testimonies, assess evidence, and assertively represent you in court.
Hiring a Salt Lake City Prostitution Defense Lawyer
Unfortunately, prostitution is one of the most harshly judged moral crimes in our communities and legal system. Being found guilty of soliciting a prostitute can profoundly impact both your personal and professional life, underscoring the importance of seeking assistance from a Salt Lake City prostitution defense lawyer who is experienced in navigating these charges. At Conyers & Nix, we understand that being accused of a crime does not mean that you are guilty. As skilled legal advocates and zealous litigators, we are not afraid to do what it takes to fight for your rights. To schedule your free consultation with our team, contact us today at (385) 325-3375.