In Arizona, it is unlawful for a person to knowingly engage in prostitution (ARS 13-3214). Prostitution is defined as “engaging in or agreeing or offering to engage in sexual conduct under a fee arraignment with any person for money or any other valuable consideration (ARS 13-3211).
The majority of solicitation/prostitution charges stem from an undercover police operation. Most commonly police pose as a prostitute online or an undercover police officer solicits services at locations like a truck stop or “street corner.” Police also run large prostitution stings during special events that draw large crowds locally and from out-of-state.
In most cases, solicitation of prostitution comes with a mandatory jail time as well as court-ordered classes and monetary fines. Because a conviction comes with such harsh penalties, if you’ve been arrested or charged with soliciting a prostitute in Phoenix, Arizona, contact the criminal defense attorneys with the Lerner and Rowe Law Group today.
Solicitation of Prostitution Penalties in Arizona
Below are summaries of the solicitation of prostitution laws for the state and two different cities in Maricopa County.
Per Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3214, solicitation of prostitution is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- First offenders can expect to receive a minimum sentence of 15 days in jail without eligibility for probation or suspension of execution of sentence until the entire sentence is served.
- For a second offense, the mandatory jail time increases to a minimum of 30 days without eligibility for probation or suspension of execution of sentence until the entire sentence is served.
- Third time offenders face even more jail time with a minimum sentence of 60 days without eligibility for probation or suspension of execution of sentence until the entire sentence is served. They must also complete a court-ordered education or treatment program.
Arizona solicitation charges get elevated to a Class 5 misdemeanor and penalties become more severe and if a person has been previously convicted of solicitation three or more times and gets charged with a subsequent violation. The jail sentence is also extended to a minimum of 180 days without the chance for probation or suspension of execution of sentence until the entire sentence is served.
Key point: This statute does not veto cities or towns from enacting and enforcing local ordinances. Meaning that cities and towns can enact laws to suppress and prohibit prostitution that provide punishment for misdemeanor violations that are at least as stringent as what is stated in ARS 13-3214.
The City of Phoenix has enacted a City Code § 23-52 prohibiting solicitation. The City Code has classified Solicitation as a Class 1 misdemeanor. First offenders can expect to receive a minimum of 15 days of jail time, as well as a court-ordered education or treatment program. Moreover, the judge can impose a fine of up to $2,500. For a second offense, the mandatory jail time increases to a minimum of 30 days, for a third offense 60 days; and for a fourth offense a minimum 180 days in jail.
If you’re arrested and charged for violation of Phoenix City Code, your case will be heard in the Phoenix Municipal Court. Our Phoenix criminal lawyers have handled hundreds of cases in this court and are familiar with the court’s staff, procedures, and judges.
Scottsdale has its own prohibition on solicitation, classifying the offense as a misdemeanor. The penalty for a first offense is 10 days of mandatory jail time. However, the punishment for second, third, and fourth offenses are similar to.
If you’re arrested for committing a crime in the City of Scottsdale, your case will be heard in the Scottsdale City Court. Our Scottsdale criminal lawyers have experience handling all manner of criminal cases before this court.
Defenses to a Solicitation of Prostitution Charge
There are defenses a criminal defense attorney can use to fight a prostitution charge in Arizona. Some of the possible defenses include:
- There was no exchange for value. It can be argued that the alleged solicitor was simply engaging in a conversation and had no real intent to to give money or anything of value in exchange for a sex act.
- Entrapment. In prostitution cases, police officers are legally permitted to go undercover as prostitutes or johns and perform “sting operations.” Despite the common misconception, police do not have to tell someone they are an officer when asked. But law enforcement is not allowed to entrap someone, which means to trick them into committing a crime he/she was not otherwise predisposed to committing. A criminal defense attorney may be able to argue entrapped or otherwise coerced the target into soliciting prostitution,
- The defendant was a sex trafficking victim. A person who commits an act of prostitution as a direct result of being a sex trafficking victim is not held criminally liable.
Facing a Solicitation Charge in Arizona?
Our criminal defense lawyers have helped numerous clients charged with solicitation in Arizona. We have a team of criminal attorneys who are ready to work with you to prepare a defense to any criminal charge. We offer free case consultations, and are available 24/7 to take your call. Call 602-667-7777 today!