Hampton Solicitation Lawyer

Just as it is illegal for a person to offer sex in exchange for any money or property, so too it is illegal to be on the other end of the exchange. Offering to trade money or property for sex is known as solicitation.

Virginia’s law prohibiting the solicitation of prostitution is the same statute as the one prohibiting prostitution. Because of this, many defendants are confused as to the terminology in the case. Regardless, the penalty for a conviction of solicitation may be harsh.

A Hampton solicitation lawyer may be able to help. The solicitation law is more complex than it at first appears. A diligent criminal defense attorney could help clients to analyze their cases, to identify realistic goals, and to dispute allegations presented by prosecutors in court.

Solicitation Laws in Virginia

VA Code §18.2-346B states that, “Any person who offers money or its equivalent to another for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts as enumerated in subsection A and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof is guilty of solicitation of prostitution…” The sexual acts mentioned in the definition include sexual intercourse but could also include any instance of sexual stimulation. As such, allegations of solicitation could include no more than an offer to touch another’s genitals.

However, an important part of this statute is the idea of a substantial act. It is not enough to state to another person that you are willing to pay for sex. To secure a conviction, a prosecutor must provide evidence that the defendant took a step towards completing the transaction. This could include:

  • Inviting the partner into a home or hotel
  • Allowing the partner into a car
  • Obtaining agreed upon cash or property for the exchange
  • Exchanging text messages or phone calls

A knowledgeable attorney in Hampton could help clients to better understand Virginia’s solicitation laws and how they affect their case.

The Potential Penalties for a Conviction 

VA Code §18.2-346B says that a conviction for solicitation is a class I misdemeanor. This means that a conviction will result in the creation of a criminal record that could affect a person’s job. In addition, the court could impose a stiff fine and a jail term of up to one year.

However, there are some aggravating factors that could make a solicitation conviction a felony. If the partner in the exchange is either 16 or 17 years old, the charge is a class VI felony. If the partner is under the age of 16, the charge is a class V felony. A class V felony requires a prison term of at least one year. Due to the stiff penalties available for a solicitation conviction, it is vital that defendants give themselves the best possible chance for a positive outcome.

Let a Hampton Solicitation Attorney Assist You

Virginia’s law punishes not just the sex worker following a prostitution arrest but also the buyer. In fact, the exchange does not need to actually occur for a conviction. As long as the buyer takes a substantial step towards making the exchange, the law says that they are guilty.

A dedicated attorney could help clients to rebut these allegations in court. They could work to examine any witness statements, any police observations of the scene, and any warrants issued by the court to develop a defense strategy designed to protect your rights. Contact a Hampton solicitation lawyer today to schedule a consultation.