Posted on July 15, 2023 in Sex Crimes
It is not illegal for two consenting adults in Arizona to engage in sexual acts. However, if one of those adults pays for sex with money or other compensation, that is illegal and could result in prostitution charges.
Police officers and law enforcement agencies often charge people with sex crimes when no crime was committed. Therefore, it is important to understand the Arizona prostitution laws and what to do if you are charged with prostitution in Phoenix, AZ.
The Arizona statutes contain several offenses related to prostitution. Each criminal charge has different legal elements the state must prove for a conviction.
Arizona Revised Code §13-3211 and §13-3214 make it illegal for someone to knowingly engage in sexual activity with someone in exchange for valuable consideration or money. In most cases, prostitution charges are filed as Class 1 misdemeanors.
However, if you have been convicted of prostitution three or more times, the prosecutor can increase the prostitution charge to a Class 5 felony. If the prostitution charge involves a minor, the offense can increase to a Class 4 or Class 2 felony.
Promoting, facilitating, or profiting from prostitution is also illegal in Arizona. You can be arrested and charged with pandering and pimping offenses if you:
Most pimping and pandering charges are Class 5 felonies. However, if the offense involves a minor, the charge could increase to a Class 4 or Class 2 felony.
Arizona criminal statutes include mandatory sentences for someone convicted of prostitution. The mandatory sentences for prostitution involving adults are:
The penalties for child prostitution or pimping and pandering are more severe. The sentencing guidelines for these charges depend on the felony level:
In addition to mandatory jail or prison sentences, fines may also be used as penalties for prostitution. Fines for prostitution convictions can be up to $150,000.
There are several defenses you might use if charged with prostitution. The facts of your case determine the defenses that might be valid in your case. Examples of defenses to prostitution charges include:
A law enforcement agency runs a sting operation to catch prostitutes and pimps. However, the court might drop the charges if a law enforcement officer entices or coaxes you into breaking the law.
The state must prove all of the legal elements of the crime for a conviction. The burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. If the state does not have sufficient evidence to convince a judge or jury there is no doubt you committed the crime, an attorney might be able to get the case dismissed.
Prostitution requires that someone pays or compensate you for sexual activity. The compensation must change hands. Therefore, if the state cannot prove that you received some consideration for sexual acts, they cannot prove you are guilty.
As with any criminal charges, your actions after being arrested for prostitution can impact your defense. Therefore, stop talking. Do not answer questions or make a statement to the police without an attorney present.
As soon as possible, contact a Phoenix prostitution defense lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer investigates the charges against you. They evaluate the evidence the state has proving its case.
Based on their investigation, an attorney will advise you whether you should fight the charges or try to enter a plea agreement. If it is not advisable to fight the charges, having an attorney negotiate a plea deal could result in a better deal than if you try to handle the prostitution charges yourself.
For more information, contact the sex crimes attorney Craig Orent. Give us a call at (480) 656-7301 or visit our law office at 11811 N Tatum Blvd UNIT 3031, Phoenix, AZ 85028. We offer a free case evaluation, so get the help you deserve today.