Despite the somewhat widespread opinion that prostitution and the solicitation of prostitution are not significant offenses, the state of Colorado prosecutes both very seriously.
What is Solicitation of Prostitution in Colorado?
Solicitation occurs when someone induces or convinces another person to commit a crime. Solicitation of prostitution is the most common form of solicitation.
Someone can be guilty of solicitation of prostitution if they solicit someone else for sexual acts in return for money. Or, on the other end, solicit someone else for money in return for sexual acts. Therefore, both the alleged prostitute and the alleged patron of the prostitute can be guilty of solicitation of prostitution. This depends on the individual situation, even before the actual sexual act and exchange of money have occurred. This is different from licensed escort services, which are in fact legal. (See: Differences Between Prostitution and Escort Services.)
For this crime to occur, a person must:
- Solicit another person for the purpose of prostitution, or
- Arrange or offer to arrange a meeting between two people for the purpose of prostitution, or
- Direct another person to a place knowing that such direction is for the purpose of prostitution
Actually engaging in an act of prostitution, or entering a place with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a prostitute, is classified as patronizing a prostitute. And, is a more serious crime. If the other person is under the age of 18, the potential penalties become even steeper. The crime escalates to felony solicitation for child prostitution.
However, for misdemeanor solicitation of a prostitute to have occurred, no sexual contact needs to be made.
What are the Penalties for Soliciting a Prostitute in Colorado?
Under Colorado law, solicitation of prostitution is a misdemeanor.
Solicitation of prostitution is a class 3 misdemeanor in Colorado. This is the least serious category of a misdemeanor in Colorado. The typical penalties for a class 3 misdemeanor include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of anywhere between $50-$750.
A conviction for solicitation of prostitution may also require the defendant to pay an additional fine. This can be up to $5000, to the state’s prostitution enforcement cash fund. This will also be a permanent fixture on your Colorado criminal record
What are Legal Defenses for Solicitation of Prostitution?
Being convicted of solicitation of prostitution may not only risk jail time and a potentially steep fine; it may also put your future in jeopardy. The last thing a future employer wants to see on your record are solicitation charges.
Fortunately, there are multiple defenses that an experienced criminal defense attorney can utilize to defend you. Remember, in order to convict you of solicitation of prostitution, the prosecution must prove that you acted with intent that a sexual act would be performed in exchange for money between yourself and another person, or between two other people.
Common Defenses for Solicitation of Prostitution
A few common defenses for solicitation of prostitution include the following:
- No sexual acts offered or took place,
- Nothing of value offered or accepted in exchange for any sexual acts,
- You were a victim of misunderstanding or false accusation, or
- You were a victim of entrapment.
Entrapment as a Defense for Solicitation of Prostitution
Criminal defense attorneys often use entrapment as one of the most common defenses for all forms of solicitation, including solicitation of prostitution. Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer induces a person to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed if the law enforcement officials were not present.
In order to prove that entrapment has taken place, a defendant must prove that:
- A law enforcement officer or other person acting under law enforcement direction was involved, and that
- The person used extreme methods to create a substantial risk that criminal acts would be committed by a person, and
- The person had no predisposition to commit the crime but for the inducement of the law enforcement officer.
For example, let’s say an undercover police officer is posing as a prostitute. A man passes by on the street. The undercover police officer posing as a prostitute begins to pressure him, asking for money in exchange for sexual favors. The police officer continues to press the man even if he initially refuses until he relents and accepts. The man most likely has the option of entrapment as a legal defense against the solicitation of prostitution.
Proving Entrapment in Solicitation Cases
However, it is the final element of entrapment that is the most difficult to prove. In the above example, the officer stopped the man on the street and induced him to solicit prostitution. It is relatively easy to prove he did not intend to commit solicitation of prostitution. He was walking in a public place, and would not have done so if he were not stopped by the undercover law enforcement officer.
The situation becomes a little more complicated if the man chats with an undercover police officer in a chat room designed for those seeking out sexual acts. Proving that the man did not enter that chat room with the intent to solicit sexual acts for money will be difficult, as the chat room is designed for those with these intentions.
The state of Colorado only recognizes entrapment with respect to law enforcement officers. One citizen inducing another to commit a crime is not entrapment.
Additionally, merely presenting an opportunity to commit a crime does not constitute entrapment. The criminal defense attorney must prove that the law enforcement officer took excessive action to induce the citizen to commit the crime. Colorado allows law enforcement officers to conceal their identity or even outright deny they are law enforcement without engaging in entrapment.
All of these potential legal defenses are highly nuanced, and require the expertise of a thorough and aggressive Colorado criminal defense attorney.
Contact WeedenLaw if You’ve Been Charged with Solicitation of Prostitution in Denver, CO
Since 2005, Jeffrey L. Weeden has been practicing criminal defense law in Colorado and has helped countless clients protect their rights and freedoms as a respected, caring, hard-nosed criminal defense attorney.
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