If movies and the media are to be believed, the criminal act of prostitution is a sex crime that occurs only if a sexual favor is purchased using currency. This is, however, not the case in reality. Prostitution is actually performing, or agreeing to perform, a sexual activity for anything of value. Right away, there are two major stipulations in the law that are open to interpretation. Just what is an agreement – is it something written down or is word of mouth fine? And what is something of value? The definitions are kept intentionally vague to snag more alleged perpetrators.
The Illinois State laws are not restricted to just selling sexual acts but also broadened to those who purchase, or attempt to purchase, them. If you only offer a favor or money in exchange of sexual activity, it is known as solicitation. If you actually engage in a sexual act, it is known as patronizing. But the law gets vague again: it is illegal to remain in or enter an area where prostitution occurs with the intent of engaging in a sexual act. Essentially, you could get pegged with patronizing charges for loitering near an alleged brothel, even if you had no idea illicit activities were being performed there.
Lastly, promoting prostitution is typically a felony in all cases. Although the common term is “pimping,” promotion constitutes more than the media portrays. For example, merely suggesting that someone hire or become a prostitute can be seen as promotion, as well as a variety of other behaviors that do not explicitly deter people from engaging in prostitution.
Complicating Matters, Escalating Penalties
Prostitution crimes of any sort will become a felony – usually class 3 or higher – if a minor is involved. A penalty that could have been $1,000 could be more than double that, and what may have been two years of probation could jump to 4+ years in prison. As prostitution does not need to include the actual performance of a sexual act, your crime may be considered to have “involved a minor” if your arrest occurred within 1,000 feet of a schoolyard, regardless of the age of the involved parties. In summation, it can really feel as if the criminal justice system is using a stacked deck against you.
If you have been arrested for prostitution in Chicago, speak to our criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Mitch Furman today. Our team can craft a viable and reliable defense strategy on your behalf. Perhaps your arrest was unlawful? Did you have valid reason to believe the minor in your case was actually over the age of 18? Whatever details may surround your claims, we can thoroughly investigate them and protect your rights. Call 312.651.4206 today for a free consultation.