Chicago Prostitution Lawyer
Prostitution and it’s related activities have always been a common facet of city life, but they are still treated as very serious crimes. Not only could you face fines, jail time, and a permanent entry on your criminal record after a conviction for prostitution, you may in some cases have to register as a sex offender. Don’t let a charge for prostitution or soliciting a prostitute ruin your life — a skilled Chicago prostitution lawyer can help.
Prostitution Can Be a Felony in Illinois
According to Illinois law, prostitution consists in performing or offering to perform any sexual act in exchange for a thing for value. In most cases, committing prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor involving a maximum sentence of one 1 year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. But a second offense or a first offense that occurs within 1,000 feet of a school is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to 3 years in prison and fines that can reach $25,000.
If you get convicted of a first offense of felony prostitution, the judge may sentence you to 24 months probation instead of jail. As conditions of your probation, you’ll have to perform 30 hours of community service and submit to regular drug testing.
Minors who are arrested for prostitution aren’t subject to prosecution. Instead, they are treated like victims and placed under the care of the state. The minor may be placed in temporary protective custody while the state investigates whether he or she was a victim of child abuse or neglect.
Solicitation or Patronage a Prostitute May Result in Felony Charges
The legal definition of soliciting a prostitute in Illinois is offering something of value to another person in exchange for a sexual act. Usually, a Class A misdemeanor involving 1 year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine, the solicitation may be a charged as a Class 4 felony if the target of the solicitation is either a minor or a mentally impaired person. In this case, a conviction may result in up to 3 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Patronizing a prostitute is a more serious offense than mere solicitation because it actually involves engaging in sex with a prostitute or going someplace where prostitution occurs with intent to engage in sex with a prostitute. In either case, patronizing is a Class 4 felony (involving up to 3 years in prison and a possible fine of $25,000) unless there are aggravating factors.
Patronizing a prostitute may be charged as a Class 3 felony when the following aggravating factors apply:
- It’s your second offense
- The patronage occurred within 1,000 feet of a school
- The prostitute was a minor or a mentally impaired person
If convicted of a Class 3 felony, you could face up to 5 years in jail along with a fine that could reach $25,000.
You may face Class 2 felony charges, which may result in up to 7 years in prison and fines reaching $25,000, when the following circumstances apply to your case:
- It’s your second offense of patronizing a juvenile prostitute
- You’ve patronized a juvenile prostitute and you have a prior conviction for any prostitution-related offense
- You patronized a juvenile prostitute within 1,000 feet of a school
Promoting Prostitution is a Serious Felony
Otherwise known as pimping, promoting prostitution occurs when someone who is neither the customer nor the prostitute makes a profit by:
- Forcing another person to become a prostitute
- Arranging a situation in which the other person can practice prostitution
- Convincing another person to engage in prostitution
- Arranging a prostitution meeting
- Directing a person to a place for the purpose of patronizing a prostitute
- Allowing a property to be used for prostitution
Usually, promoting prostitution is a Class 4 felony punishable by 3 years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000. The offense becomes a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a fine of $25,000 when the promotion of prostitution occurs within 1,0000 feet of a school.
Promoting prostitution may be charged as a Class 1 felony if any mentally disabled persons or minors are involved. A conviction in such as case would result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years in prison along with a fine reaching $25,000.
The offense may also be charged as a Class X felony, involving up to 30 years in prison and a possible $25,000 fine, when any of the following aggravating circumstances apply:
- The advancement or promotion of juvenile prostitution occurs within 1,000 feet of a school
- The prostitution being promoted involves a person under the age of 13
- The minor or mentally disabled person is confined through the use or threat of serious physical force, or is threatened, forced, or deceived into engaging in prostitution through the use of alcohol or drugs
If Convicted, You May Have to Register as a Sex Offender
You will have to register with the local police or sheriff’s department if you get convicted of any of the following prostitution-related offenses:
- Promotion of juvenile prostitution
- Solicitation of a juvenile prostitute
- Patronage of a juvenile prostitute
- Keeping a place where juvenile prostitution occurs
- Profiting from prostitution
As a sex offender, you’ll need to notify the local authorities any time you leave your home address for more than 3 days, and provide a travel itinerary. You would also need to report any changes to your place of employment.
You’ll need to register as a sexual predator—which involves even more stringent reporting requirements, if you get convicted of any of the following:
- Pimping or profiting from prostitution by keeping a place where juvenile prostitution occurs
- Profiting from the prostitution of a mentally incapacitated person or a minor
- Using violence, alcohol, or drugs to profit from the prostitution of a minor or a mentally disabled person
- Pimping a minor
Defending Against Your Prostitution Charges
You are innocent until proven guilty, but you may find that the authorities treat you like a criminal when you face your prostitution-related charges. Fortunately, an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer by your side can greatly improve your chances of successfully passing through the criminal justice system. Your lawyer may be able to defend your prostitution-related case by:
- Claiming the police entrapped you — The authorities cannot charge a person for a crime if the police were responsible for implanting the criminal idea into the suspect’s mind. The police can lawfully solicit a prostitute for the purpose of conducting a sting, because the prostitute was already offering his or her services.
- Demonstrating that you didn’t know the prostitute was underage or mentally disabled — Your lawyer can show that you reasonable believed that the prostitute was of age and of normal intellectual capacity. If successful, this strategy will result in a less serious pimping, solicitation, or patronage charge. This defense is not available to people suspected of using drugs or alcohol to confine the prostitute.
- Showing that you solicited or patronized your spouse — The law does not prohibit people who are married from exchanging sex for money or valuables.
- Fighting the prosecution’s evidence — The authorities cannot legally use evidence against you that was obtained illegally. For example, if the police entered your apartment or hotel room without a warrant, emergency circumstances, or your consent, the prosecutor cannot use the evidence obtained from that search in prosecuting your case.
By carefully reviewing all of the prosecution’s evidence against you, your lawyer may be able to craft an effective defense for your case. If you’re facing charges related to prostitution, call O’Meara Law today and we’ll give you a free and confidential consultation at 312-909-0706 about how we can defend your case.