Soliciting sex, or prostitution, is illegal in Rhode Island and just about every other state in the US. Not only are sex workers arrested for this crime, but the people who seek them out and offer money for services, commonly called Johns, are at-fault as well. As of 2009, increasingly strict regulations over prostitution were added into state law.
Those convicted of sex work are often caught in the act of exchanging money for services. Once the cash changes hands, police can swoop in and arrest both the worker and the John. The act doesn’t necessarily need to occur. You can even be arrested for simply agreeing to exchange money for sex, without actually handing over payment.
Loitering – Generally speaking, loitering is a common nuisance, but means that a sex worker is attempting to solicit others by stopping the public as they walk or drive by. In classic movie tropes, prostitutes stand on street corners and wait to drum up work. Sex workers who try to stop cars and talk potential Johns into payment are committing loitering and solicitation.
Pandering – If you are aware that someone is a sex worker and you facilitate the payment of money for sex, or coerce a victim into working as a prostitute, you can be convicted of pandering. In some cases, this can even be pimping.
Unfortunately, prostitution is a crime where repeat offense is common. On a first offense, and depending on whether sex was solicited while loitering or from a vehicle, you can serve jail time and be fined hundreds of dollars. Prostitution and pandering comes with an even steeper fine, into the thousands, and up to five years in jail. Repeat offenses are even more costly in terms of your time and money.
Prostitution is a misdemeanor criminal offense and can sometimes be expunged from your record after a year. Charges related to procurement and solicitation from a vehicle cannot be removed from your record. In the time between conviction and possible expungement or release from jail, you may face the loss of your car, depending on the specific circumstances, and complex personal problems as they relate to a conviction for soliciting sex.
Criminal charges related to both sides of sex work, whether you are committing acts of prostitution, were caught attempting to purchase them, or facilitated and encouraged the act, are complicated. The fallout from these crimes is a hardship both financially and personally. If you or a loved one have been convicted or prostitution, solicitation, or pandering, contact our Rhode Island defense attorneys to begin strategizing for your case as soon as possible.