Soliciting the services of a prostitute is illegal in the state, but fines and jail time may not be your only concerns. You also risk damaging personal and professional relationships and jeopardizing future opportunities. You probably want to resolve this matter as quickly and discreetly as possible. Fortunately, a skilled criminal lawyer could help.
Fulton County solicitation lawyers understand your concerns and could work with you to review your options, negotiate with the prosecutor’s office, and craft a proper defense.
A person commits unlawful solicitation, or pandering as it is called in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-6-12, when they request or arrange for another person to engage in prostitution with them or a third party. Prostitution, defined in O.C.G.A. § 16-6-9, is the performance or offering to perform a sexual act in exchange for compensation.
However, the parties do not need to complete a sexual interaction for authorities to pursue solicitation charges. This offense focuses on the discussion and planning, not whether the individuals finalized the deal. A suspect can face pandering charges even if the other person denies the request, changes their mind, or never intended on proceeding with the sexual act (e.g., soliciting undercover police officers). Solicitation does not require in-person interaction. Online discussions on websites, forums, and chat rooms can give rise to pandering convictions.
Seasoned Fulton County lawyers versed in solicitation law know how to use the facts of an individual’s situation to question the state’s case, argue for mitigation, and work out a favorable outcome for the defendant.
Many pandering offenders face misdemeanor charges, but the facts surrounding the request for sexual favors might justify a felony charge. In all cases, defendants may serve time in either county jail or state prison, pay fines, and establish a criminal record that can negatively impact their future.
O.C.G.A. § 16-6-13 outlines the criminal penalties for a solicitation conviction. As a high and aggravated misdemeanor, O.C.G.A. § 17-10-4 establishes the punishment for first-time offenders as a $5000 fine and jail time of no more than one year. It is within the judge’s discretion to assign probation or suspend a sentence in this instance.
Any subsequent solicitation charges are felonies and punishable by one to 10 years in prison and high fines. When occurring within 1,000 feet of places frequented by minors (e.g., schools, play areas, and places of worship), the accused faces fines of $2500. Solicitation of a minor escalates the charge to a felony offense with harsh penalties: incarceration in prison for 10 to 30 years and maximum fines of $100,000. Authorities also publish a notice of the conviction with a picture of the offender.
Being under suspicion for solicitation can cause embarrassment and awkward relationships, but a conviction creates a criminal record that tarnishes a person’s reputation and may negatively affect long-term opportunities, including:
If the solicitation involved a minor, the offender must register as a sex offender, which labels them for life and may limit where they can live, work, and much more.
The best way for those accused to counter solicitation allegations in Fulton County is to hire an attorney with experience in this area.
Solicitation charges may trigger a host of emotions, including fear and maybe even shame. Skilled attorneys understand the discomfort this situation may present and approach each case with discretion and care. Fulton County solicitation lawyers regularly handle cases of this nature and could treat you with the respect and individual attention you need. Call today.