Prostitution is a crime in this state, and anyone caught arranging to sell or buy sexual services could face prosecution. Although law enforcement often targets the patrons of prostitutes, individuals engaging in sex work also are subject to arrest.
If you face prostitution charges, an attorney at our firm could protect your rights and ensure the justice system treats you fairly. Call a New Haven prostitution lawyer at Ruane Attorneys as soon as you are arrested.
Legal Basis of Prostitution Charges
Connecticut General Statutes §53a-82 defines prostitution as engaging or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee. The sexual conduct does not need to involve penetration, and the fee does not need to be money. Agreeing to exchange sexual favors for anything of value could be considered prostitution under the law. Additionally, sexual contact or conduct does not need to occur; meaning the arrangement alone could lead to charges.
However, the law assumes that anyone under 16 who arranges sex for a fee is a victim of human trafficking. According to the law, a person younger than 16 cannot be charged with prostitution. Our New Haven attorneys can further explain the legal nuances and potential defenses for prostitution charges.
Defending Prostitution Charges in New Haven
Many sex workers have websites and advertise over the internet. Sometimes, law enforcement conducts surveillance of website traffic or other electronic communication as part of a sting operation. A local prostitution attorney could examine the search warrant authorizing the surveillance to ensure it meets legal requirements. Evidence of law enforcement misconduct could convince a prosecutor to dismiss a prostitution charge.
Entrapment could be another defense against a prostitution charge. Entrapment means the accused did not intend to commit a crime until an undercover law enforcement officer introduced the idea. When police conduct sting operations, they often step over the line of propriety and suggest purchasing sex. Such behavior could be entrapment.
A New Haven attorney could also argue that someone else forced the defendant to commit prostitution or that the defendant was under duress. Ruane Attorneys could review a person’s options for defending prostitution charges during a consultation.
Penalties for a Prostitution Conviction
Prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor, just one step below a felony charge. If an accused is convicted of prostitution, they face a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
However, Connecticut offers a program called Accelerated Rehabilitation (AR) that allows first offenders to participate in a diversion program rather than face trial. The defendant must complete an application for the program, and a judge may accept or reject it. If the judge accepts it, the defendant must not get arrested again within the time the judge sets. If a defendant complies with all the conditions, the charges are dismissed, and the case resolves without a stain on their record.
In some cases, a New Haven prostitution attorney could persuade a prosecutor to let the defendant enroll in a diversion program rather than face punishment through the court system.
Do Not Face Prostitution Charges Without a New Haven Attorney
If you were arrested for prostitution, do not try to handle the charges alone. You face harsh penalties if convicted, so it is best to consult legal counsel to protect yourself and your future.
A New Haven prostitution lawyer could examine your case and prepare the strongest defense possible under the circumstances. Learn more by calling Ruane Attorneys today.