Prostitution Defense Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
We Defend Those Accused of Every Type of Crime
Prostitution Lawyer in Phoenix
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Arizona does not take punishment for those who commit sex crimes lightly, and although prostitution is a less severe charge than most other sex crimes, it is still a serious criminal offense and may result in stiff penalties. As such, if you have been charged with a prostitution offense in Arizona, you need the help of an experienced Arizona prostitution lawyer and Phoenix criminal defense attorney.
At Belén Law Firm, our lawyers are skilled in handling sex crimes of all cases, including prostitution cases. Once an attorney-client relationship has been established, our Phoenix prostitution defense attorneys will walk you through the entire legal process, providing unmatched legal advice and working to build a strong defense for your case. To request a free consultation from the top Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Belén Law Firm, call 602-715-0908 today.
Is Prostitution Legal in Arizona?
No, the act of prostitution is not legal in the state of Arizona, or most of the United States, for that matter. In fact, prostitution is illegal everywhere in the country with the exception of 10 rural Nevada counties.
ARS § 13-3214
According to the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS § 13-3214), it is a crime to knowingly engage in the act of prostitution. In the state of Arizona, prostitution is defined as “knowingly engaging in sexual conduct with another person in exchange for money or any other valuable consideration.” It’s important to note that sexual conduct may refer to a number of different sexual acts, including but not limited to vaginal intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, and groping. Further, the valued payment might be anything from money to objects to even favors, such as a landlord agreeing to waive rent in exchange for a tenant’s consent to sex.
What Counts as Prostitution?
Prostitution charges can result from a number of different acts. Of course, the most obvious offense associated with prostitution is the act of engaging in, offering, or promising to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for money. Those who solicit prostitution, meaning the ones who offer money in return for sexual favors, are also committing a solicitation of prostitution offense in Arizona and may be charged as such. Pimping is another common term related to prostitution charges. This is when a person receives the earnings of a prostitute.
Other acts that may result in a prostitution charge include transporting for the purpose of prostitution and procuring or pandering, which means to lure, compel, or entice another person for the purposes of prostitution.
Also a form of prostitution, and one that is punished much more severely, is the crime of prostitution with someone who is under the age of consent in Arizona. This is known as child prostitution. In Arizona, child prostitution falls into one of three categories, including engaging in prostitution with a minor who:
- Is under 15 years of age
- Is 15, 16, or 17 years of age
- The person knows is 15, 16, 17 years of age
Is Prostitution a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
Whether a prostitution offense is a misdemeanor or a felony depends on a few different factors. In general, a prostitution charge or solicitation of prostitution charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor for the first few offenses. However, once a person has committed four or more subsequent violations, the charge is enhanced to a Class 5 felony with no chance of probation or the suspension of their sentence until the entirety of the sentence is serviced.
In addition, the enticement of prostitution is a Class 6 felony for a first offense, while procuring, pandering, and transporting are Class 5 felonies for a first offense. As to be expected, engaging in child prostitution is also a felony on all accounts.
What are the Penalties for Prostitution in Arizona?
As prostitution offenses generally fall under state jurisdiction, every state sets its own laws and penalties for the offense. A handful of states (9, to be exact) set harsher penalties for the customer soliciting prostitution, while only a couple set harsher penalties for the actual prostitute. The rest, including Arizona, punish both the prostitute and the customer equally.
For a first Phoenix prostitution offense, the offender will receive between 15 days to 6 months in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, and up to 3 years probation. For each additional offense, the penalty increases and results in lengthier jail time. Below are the penalties for the second and subsequent offenses of prostitution:
- Second Offense (Class 1 Misdemeanor):
- 30 days – 6 months in jail
- Fines of up to $2,500
- Up to 3 years probation
- Third Offense (Class 1 Misdemeanor):
- 60 days – 6 months in jail
- Fines of up to $2,500
- Up to 3 years probation
- Fourth Offense (Class 5 Felony):
- 180 days – 4 years in prison
- Fines of up to $2,500
Meanwhile, for the first prostitution offense of enticement, the offender will be charged with a Class 6 felony that is punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment. The Class 5 felony charges of procuring, pandering, and transporting may be punishable by up to 2 and a half years in state prison for a first offense.
The penalties for child prostitution are understandably harsher and will always be classified as a Class 2 felony. Prostitution with a minor below the age of 15 often carries lengthy prison terms. However, if the minor was between the ages of 15 and 17, the offender may be eligible for probation with a 180-day prison sentence that, with mandatory counseling, might be reduced to 90 days. It is also important to remember that while prostitution that takes place between two consenting adults does not require sex offender registration, engaging in child prostitution does.
No matter what offense you’ve been charged with, an Arizona prostitution lawyer like Belén can help.
Defenses Against Prostitution
It’s critical that those charged with prostitution obtain the help of a Phoenix prostitution defense lawyer as soon as possible to help drop or dismiss their charges or otherwise achieve a reduced sentence. A skilled Arizona prostitution lawyer like Belén Olmedo Guerra may present any number of defenses for your criminal charges, including the following:
- Insufficient evidence – Prosecutors much provide a preponderance of evidence to secure a prostitution conviction. If the prosecution hasn’t produced sufficient and trustworthy evidence that prostitution-related offenses occurred, your lawyer may employ this argument.
- Entrapment – Entrapment is a very common defense strategy. This occurs when law enforcement officers portray themselves as sex workers’ agents or pimps and lure law-abiding defendants into prostitution by persuading them to engage.
- Legal impossibility – Your Arizona prostitution lawyer may attempt to demonstrate that the claimed activities cannot be considered criminal. This defense is commonly used by lawyers when the defendant’s sexual exchanges take place over the internet.
- Lack of intent – The prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly and intentionally engaged in acts of prostitution. If they did not intend to engage in sexual conduct, this may be a viable defense.
Prostitution Defense Attorney Near Me
If you’ve been charged with prostitution in Phoenix or the surrounding areas, you need the help of Belén Olmedo Guerra, a top Phoenix sex crimes attorney. Call an experienced attorney at our Phoenix office for a free consultation at 602-715-0908 today. We are available 24/7 and offer flexible payment options, so don’t hesitate to call or complete our online intake form below.