These two crimes are very similar and are often seen together. Prostitution is the actual exchanging of sexual acts for money while solicitation is the attempting to exchange sexual acts for money. Prostitution requires the sexual act to be done while solicitation only requires the agreement to be made. While it is uncommon to have one without the other, they both have different sub-categories with different penalties.
Ohio has two sections to soliciting a prostitute. The first is that you shall not solicit another person to engage in sex in return for money or some other form of monetary value, such as drugs. The second part is that you shall not solicit a prostitute if you have knowledge that you are HIV positive. For solicitation, it does not require the sexual act to take place, it only requires an agreement. Soliciting a prostitute is a third degree misdemeanor unless you are HIV positive in which case it is a third degree felony.
In cases involving solicitation, it is usually a battle of one person’s word against the other. However, there are other defenses available such as entrapment. Entrapment is where an undercover police officer poses as a prostitute and pressures someone into soliciting sex for money. Another defense is just a misunderstanding. Perhaps while at a bar talking to an attractive person, you think there is a mutual interest. You didn’t know this person was a prostitute and no exchange of money or an agreement occurred. The last and most obvious defense is there is simply a lack of evidence to prove you were in fact soliciting a prostitute.
Unlike some states, prostitution is still illegal in Ohio and has two main offenses. The first is compelling prostitution. Under the Ohio Revised Code 2907.21 this includes:
- Compels another person to engage in sexual activity for hire;
- Induces, procures, encourages, solicits, requests, or otherwise facilitates a minor or an individual the offender believes is a minor to participate in sexual activity for hire;
- Pays or agrees to pay a minor, or someone the offender believes is a minor, so the minor will participate in sexual activity, whether or not the offender is aware of the minor’s actual age;
- Pays a minor, or someone the offender believe is a minor, for having participated in sexual activity, whether or not the offender knew the minor’s age; or
- Allows a minor, or someone the offender believes to be a minor to participate in sexual activity for hire if the offender is a parent or guardian of the minor.
The second section is promoting prostitution. Under the Ohio Revised Code 2907.22 it includes:
- Establishes, maintains, operates, manages, supervises, controls or has an interest in a brothel;
- Supervises, manages, or controls the activities of a prostitute in engaging in sexual activity for hire
- Transports another person or causes another person to be transported across state or county boundaries in order to facilitate the other person participating in sexual activity for hire;
- Induces or procures another person to engage in sexual activity for hire.
Compelling prostitution typically is charged as a third degree felony and carries 1-5 years in prison with up to $10,000 in fines. If the person that is being compelled to prostitution is from the age 16-18, you are now subject to a second degree felony with 2-8 years of prison time with up to $15,000 in fines. If the person is under the age of 16, it is now a first degree felony with 3-10 years of prison time and up to $20,000 in fines. Compelling prostitution of a person over 18 is a fourth degree felony with 6-18 months in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Promoting prostitution of a minor is a third degree felony with 1-5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
If you are facing solicitation or prostitution charges, contact an experienced attorney at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder today.