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Posted on April 21, 2020 in Sex Crimes

What is the Difference Between Escorts and Prostitution?

Both escorts and prostitutes spend time with a person in exchange for money. However, the activities engaged in during the time spent together is what defines whether the person is an escort or a prostitute.

Knowingly engaging in prostitution is illegal in Arizona. It does not fall under the classification of sex crimes. However, prostitution can result in severe penalties, depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

Escort vs. Prostitution – What is the Difference?

An escort spends time with a person in exchange for money. In most cases, the escort accompanies a client to a social function or other engagement. The escort may work under a contract for several days or weeks.

On the other hand, a prostitute is usually engaged for a very short period of time. The prostitute and the client do not attend functions or leave the premises.

Escorts sell their time. They are usually socially adept, attractive, and presentable. In other words, they are a suitable companion for presenting to friends, associates, and colleagues.

A prostitute is hired for a sexual act. A prostitute typically charges by the hour or by the specific sexual act. Escorts could engage in sexual acts, but that is not the purpose of the arrangement.

How Does Arizona Law Define Prostitution?

An entire section of the Arizona Revised Statutes is devoted to prostitution. Chapter 32 of Title 13 defines prostitution and describes the various criminal charges associated with prostitution in Arizona.

Prostitution is defined as agreeing to, offering to, or engaging in sexual conduct in exchange for money or other valuable consideration. Sexual conduct is defined as any indirect or direct manipulating of the breasts, genitals, or anus. Sexual conduct is also defined as oral sex, sexual intercourse, or sadomasochistic abuse.

A first-time conviction of prostitution is generally a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is up to six months in jail, fines up to $2,500, and up to three years of probation.

However, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 15 days for a first-time prostitution conviction. If a person has prior offenses for the same charge, the minimum jail time increases. Because prostitution is not defined as a sex crime, a person does not need to register as a sex offender unless the act involves a minor.

If a minor is involved, the prostitution charge becomes a felony. The severity of the punishment depends on the age of the minor and the circumstances of the criminal act. Additionally, the court could require the person to register as a sex offender.

Defenses to a Prostitution Charge

There are several possible defenses to a prostitution charge in Arizona. Entrapment is one of the most common defenses to prostitution. A police officer or law enforcement agent cannot coax or encourage a person to commit a crime.

Escorts are commonly falsely accused of prostitution because it is assumed that the escort engages in sexual activities as part of the arrangement. However, an escort only provides non-sexual companionship. There would need to be proof that the escort engaged in sexual conduct for payment or in exchange for something of value.

A lack of evidence of an actual crime could also be a defense in a prostitution case. An experienced attorney should review all evidence the state has against you to determine if the state can prove the legal requirements to obtain a conviction under Arizona’s prostitution statutes.

What Should you do if you are Arrested for Prostitution?

Do not panic. When you panic, you are more likely to say or do something that could be used against you. It can be difficult, but try to remain calm and pay close attention to what the officers are saying to you.

Do not make any statements or admissions. Do not answer questions without an attorney present. Regardless of what the police may tell you, you are entitled to an attorney during questioning.

Proving that you are guilty of prostitution in court requires evidence. The police knowing you may be guilty of prostitution and proving your guilt in court are two different matters. For that reason, a police officer may pressure you to make a statement or goad you into talking to him about the incident.

Avoid the urge to try to talk your way out of an arrest. You do not want to give the police officers additional evidence that could be used against you in court. It is best to remain silent except for asking for a criminal defense lawyer.

Prostitution in Arizona is not a minor crime. You do not want to go to court without legal representation.