Virginia Solicitation and Prostitution Law
The Commonwealth of Virginia’s solicitation and prostitution laws are relatively strict, so being charged with prostitution, solicitation, or a related crime can have harsh penalties. If you are charged with any of these crimes, it is important that you have a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side to defend you against these charges.
What is Prostitution?
Virginia law defines prostitution as, “Any person who, for money or its equivalent, commits adultery, fornication or any act in violation of 18.2-361, or offers to commit adultery, fornication or any act in violation of 18.2-361 and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof.” So in order to be guilty of prostitution, the prosecutor must prove that someone either had sexual contact for money or offered to have sexual contact for money and then did a “substantial act” towards that end. For example, if someone offers to engage in sexual contact for money and then the “john” hands over money and he or she takes the money, that would be a substantial act in furtherance of prostitution. However, if someone just offers a sexual act for money and then walks away without expecting the other person to follow, it would not be prostitution because there was no substantial act that furthered the offer.
Prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. There may also be conditions wherein the person convicted is required to undergo mandatory testing for sexually transmitted infections, mandatory counseling, and other requirements.
What is Solicitation of Prostitution?
Solicitation of prostitution is defined in Part B of the same statute where prostitution is defined. The statute defines solicitation of prostitution in the following manner: “Any person who offers money or its equivalent to another for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts as enumerated above and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof.” Once again, an offer is not enough. In order to be guilty of solicitation of prostitution, the prosecutor must prove that there was a substantial act in furtherance of it.
As with prostitution itself, solicitation of prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable in the same ways that prostitution is.
Bawdy Place Laws
It is also against the law in Virginia to keep, live in, or visit a “bawdy place” for immoral purposes. The law defines a “bawdy place” as a building that is used for “lewdness, assignation or prostitution.” You can be charged under this statute for activity both inside and outside the structure. Notably, each day that the statute is violated counts as a separate offense, so if someone lives there for two weeks, they could face 14 charges against them.
Keeping or visiting a bawdy place is also a Class 1 misdemeanor and punishable the same as the above.
Leesburg, Virginia Felony and Misdemeanor Defense Attorneys
If you are charged with prostitution, soliciting, or any other felony or misdemeanor, you should contact a knowledgeable felony and misdemeanor attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced felony and misdemeanor defense attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP in Leesburg, Virginia helps clients in Loudoun County, Manassas and throughout Northern Virginia and can help you with your defense.