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Many people view solicitation and prostitution as a victimless crime, and often question whether these two should be unlawful. The truth is that solicitation and prostitution are both illegal in Michigan.
Being charged with solicitation is among the most embarrassing charges that you may want to face. Besides the possible jail time and fines, having a conviction of solicitation on your record can significantly affect your chances of securing a job in the future.
This is why you need to seek the assistance of a skilled solicitation attorney as soon as you get arrested.
At Blank Law, PC, we believe that no individual is guilty until proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Our Michigan solicitation and prostitution lawyer has been defending individuals accused of various solicitation crimes for many years, and she understands just how devastating such allegations can be for the accused, and their loved ones.
If you or someone you care about have been arrested for a charge of solicitation, contact us today to learn how our compassionate and nonjudgmental criminal defense/human trafficking defense lawyer can fight to clear your name.
Solicitation refers to demanding, requesting, or encouraging another person to commit a crime, such as prostitution, by contributing to or facilitating them in the commission of the offense.
It is important to note that a charge of solicitation may be brought even in instances when the crime doesn’t happen, or the victim declines the request. For example, if an undercover police officer is requested to engage in prostitution, the accused client may face charges even though prostitution did not occur.
Solicitation and prostitution are closely linked, and are often used interchangeably. However, these two offenses are different.
Prostitution refers to accepting money by an individual in exchange to perform sexual acts. On the other hand, solicitation is the lewd act of propositioning another individual to exchange sex for money.
The most significant difference between the two is that the charge of solicitation requires the prosecution to prove intent to commit a crime, while prostitution must have the element of actual engagement in the sexual act.
Based on these definitions, soliciting prostitution can be defined as asking, commanding, or encouraging another person to engage in sexual acts for a fee. Again, it’s important to note that the actual sex act does not have to happen; just having the intention to follow through with the request is enough to warrant charges for solicitation of prostitution.
According to Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.451, a person who engages, or propositions another to engage, in the lewd act of prostitution in exchange for money or other favors will be guilty of solicitation.
For a person to be charged, the law requires that at least two persons be involved; the individual doing the soliciting and the one being solicited. This means that if the person is facing solicitation of prostitution charges, they must have approached another individual and offered to pay for lewd acts, irrespective of whether the interaction happened in public or private, or whether the interaction was through gesture or word.
Before 2014, the Michigan law on solicitation of prostitution had assigned gender roles in the definition of the offense. In other words, any male who offered money, or any other form of favors, to a female, with the specific intent of having her engage in prostitution, would be found guilty of the offense of solicitation.
Upon rewriting, the gender signal was removed, allowing women who proposition men to engage in prostitution to also be charged with solicitation.
As the law currently stands, the focus is on negotiating for the services, with the critical element being the offer and the money discussed, in the commission of the prostitution related offense.
There is an assumption among many that law enforcement officers are lenient on solicitation of prostitution crimes. This assumption is not based on facts.
Police departments in cities across Michigan, and the United States at large, usually set up sting operations to catch people looking to solicit others for prostitution and other crimes.
In most situations, an undercover officer is dispatched to a street frequented by prostitutes, and poses as one. When approached by someone seeking to solicit them for prostitution, the officer arrests the person and charges them with solicitation.
If you have been arrested for this offense under these circumstances, defending your charges can get pretty complicated and calls for working with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
A solicitation conviction can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony offense, based on whether it’s a first offense, second offense, or subsequent offense.
Upon a conviction for solicitation under Michigan Penal Code Act 328 of 1931, Section 750.449a, the offender will be guilty of a misdemeanor and can receive a penalty of a maximum of 93 days in prison, a fine not exceeding $500, or both, for a first offense.
A second solicitation conviction is a misdemeanor and attracts up to 12 months in county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both. However, a third or consecutive conviction is a felony punishable imprisonment with a maximum of 2 years, a maximum $2,000 fine, or both.
In Michigan, solicitation charges are handled in the traditional sense and usually result from police sting operations.
Thankfully a conviction with solicitation under Michigan Penal Code Act 328 of 1931, Section 750.449a does not constitute a Tier I, II, III listed offense under the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA). In simple terms, a conviction with this crime does not require the offender to register on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.
Although you may not need to register as a sex offender for the offense, you may be prohibited from working in a school if you have a conviction with soliciting on your criminal record. In Michigan, schools are required to run a background check on all applicants for employment. Anyone with a history of pandering or soliciting is barred from serving in a learning institution, in any capacity.
If you are convicted of an offense under Michigan Penal Code Act 328 of 1931, Section 750.449a(2) involving solicitation of a minor, the offense becomes a tier I offense listed under SORA. Consequently, upon conviction with solicitation of a person under 18, the offender has to register as a sex offender.
Anyone accused of solicitation can be charged under Michigan Penal Code Act 328 of 1931, Section 750.449, which states that it is criminal for any person above 16 to admit another individual, or offer to admit them, into a building, house or vehicle, for the purpose of prostitution.
Upon a conviction with offering to engage in prostitution, or accepting a person into a building, house or vehicle for the purpose of prostitution will result in a misdemeanor punishable with imprisonment not exceeding 93 days in prison, a possible fine of up to $500, or both.
Solicitation charges can, at times, be very challenging, depending on the prevailing circumstances surrounding them. It is, therefore, best to approach them with the help of a criminal defense attorney that is well versed with the Michigan sex offense laws so the legal defenses are sound and properly handled.
Solicitation charges are often based on police observation or a police sting operation.
One possible legal defense for a solicitation charge would be that what the officer thought they saw as solicitation was not a solicitation, and that there was no exchange of money in return for sex.
Where the prosecutor can prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that money changed hands, the possible defense would be that the purpose of the money changing hands was not to solicit sex.
If an arrest was made during a police sting operation, a possible defense would be entrapment. When police are participating in a sting operation, the officers involved are not supposed to entice people to commit prostitution/crimes, but rather wait until a suspect initiates the commission of the crime.
If there was an element of enticement by an officer during the sting operation, a skilled human trafficking/sex crimes defense lawyer could use entrapment as a defense strategy.
If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with prostitution or solicitation in Michigan, you must work with a skilled sex crimes attorney to minimize the chances of a conviction.
Nicole Blank Becker, of Blank Law, PC, is a highly skilled sex crime defense attorney, solely focused on sex crimes, and can help you with your case.
Nicole has over 20 years of experience in Michigan criminal law and has a record of success defending people that are facing sex crime allegations or charges. She is well versed in the Michigan justice system, having worked as a criminal defense lawyer and a deputy prosecutor, as she was the Chief of the Sex and Child Abuse Unit, in Macomb County.
Irrespective of the nature of the sex crime(s) you are facing, Nicole is the attorney to call. Nicole focuses on building a solid attorney-client relationship with her clients, which allows her clients to openly discuss confidential or sensitive information about their sex crime situations with her, which is critical at building a strong defense strategies.
You can reach Blank Law, PC by calling us at (248) 515-6583 or contact us online to book a free consultation. The contact form sends information directly to us, and we will reach out to you from there.
Our law firm ensures that all of your rights are upheld, irrespective of the criminal charges against you.
Fill out the contact form or call us at 248-515-6583 to schedule your free consultation.