Allegations involving charges of prostitution are serious matters. Convictions will create criminal records, could potentially lead to heavy fines, or even lead a court to impose a jail sentence. Despite this, it can be difficult to fully understand prostitution charges. State law provides a collection of definitions that fall under the criminal code. As a result, prosecutors can present a variety of theories attempting to tie you to the event.
A Columbia prostitution lawyer might be able to help you to avoid these outcomes. A committed criminal defense attorney could work with you to explain the law, investigate the incident that led to your arrest, and develop a defense that aims to defeat the prosecutor’s case.
State law defines prostitution using no fewer than 11 separate definitions, according to South Carolina Code § 16-15-90. Among these is the most basic example of prostitution, which is having sex with another person in exchange for money. However, the law also criminalizes related activities. For instance, having sex in exchange for physical property is also illegal. In addition, state law prohibits a variety of activities related to prostitution. These can include:
As a result of these wide-ranging definitions, a variety of people who have allegedly had anything to do with prostitution may find themselves facing charges. A Columbia prostitution attorney could provide more information about the state’s definition of prostitution and how it applies in an individual’s specific case.
The penalties for a violation of the state’s prostitution laws can be severe. Even a first offense for a person with no prior criminal record can forever alter their life. Under S.C. Code § 16-15-110, first offenses are misdemeanors where a court can impose a fine of up to $200, a jail sentence of up to 30 days, or both.
Second convictions increase the maximum fine to $1,000 and the possible jail sentence to a maximum of six months. All subsequent convictions can involve a fine of $3,000 and a one-year jail term.
The main goal of a Columbia prostitution lawyer is to help people avoid these outcomes. They could argue that any sexual contact was the result of a consensual relationship or debate whether there was ever a concrete agreement for money to exchange hands. In other cases, it may be possible to argue that the methods that the police used to make an arrest were illegal. In short, a legal professional is ready to make any necessary argument to protect the rights of those facing allegations of prostitution.
If you are facing charges involving prostitution, you need to act swiftly to protect yourself. Whether the case alleges paying for sex, offering sex for money, or acting in a way that facilitates prostitution, a conviction can have life-altering consequences. Even a first conviction will create a criminal record that could affect employment or living arrangements. This is in addition to any fine or jail sentence that a court may impose.
Contact a Columbia prostitution lawyer today. They could help you understand the nature of your case, hear your side of the story, investigate the incident, and develop a defense that might build reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors.