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Soliciting a Prostitute Is Soliciting a Problem

This summer, police conducted separate sting operations in three northwest Ohio hotels to catch suspects soliciting prostitutes. All told, the police arrested 21 people who were charged with solicitation.

There are two ways to solicit prostitution in Ohio

In Ohio, the offense of soliciting a prostitute has two sections:

  • You shall not solicit another person to engage in sex in return for money or some other item of monetary value, such as drugs.
  • You shall not solicit a prostitute if you have knowledge that you are HIV positive.

It is irrelevant whether a sex act actually took place. Soliciting takes place as long as there has been an agreement to have sex, or perform a sexual act, like at an Asian massage parlor.

Penalties for solicitation can be felonies or misdemeanors

Soliciting a prostitute is a third-degree misdemeanor. If, on the other hand, you have knowledge that you are HIV positive, then the penalty jumps to a third-degree felony. If you solicited the prostitute from your car, the court has the right to also suspend your driver license.

There are a variety of defenses to solicitation charges

For many arrests for solicitation of prostitution, the evidence is usually the officer’s word against that of the alleged customer. In those cases, some of the following defenses are possible:

  • Entrapment — When an undercover officer poses as a prostitute and pressures or induces a citizen into soliciting sexual services for money
  • Mistake — When a bar patron mistakenly thinks the engagement with the prostitute is based on mutual attraction and not on money, and no agreement to exchange money for sex has occurred
  • Lack of specific evidence of solicitation — When there is no evidence of any clear agreement to exchange money or anything of value for sex

Soliciting prostitution is a serious charge despite its being a misdemeanor. Many employers would be reluctant to hire employees with a “morals” conviction. If you have been arrested on charges of solicitation, the Ohio criminal defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer Co., LPA have the skill and experience to raise these defenses or to negotiate for a charge other than solicitation of prostitution.

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