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Facing Charges of Prostitution in Missouri

Prostitution
In 2016, American law enforcement officers arrested more than 38,000 people on prostitution-related charges. A total of 415 of those arrests occurred in Missouri. Missouri does not allow the exchange of money for sexual contact, and charges resulting from prostitution or patronizing prostitutes can run the gamut on severity.

Being charged with any kind of crime, including prostitution and patronizing, can be intimidating. This article details some of Missouri's laws surrounding these crimes, as well as what you can do about these charges.

Prostitution Laws

In Missouri, prostitution is a Class B misdemeanor. In addition to the sexual acts themselves, the charge may consist of offering or agreeing to offer sexual contact for money and other valuables.

An exception is made for cases in which the individual engaged in prostitution is knowingly infected with HIV. In this case, prostitution is a Class B felony. The consequences include up to 15 years of imprisonment. If you have multiple prostitution arrests in your past, the courts can mandate an HIV test.

If you are found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, you may face up to 6 months in jail and a fine. In some cases, the court will demand you complete a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program as well.

If you have a history of prostitution charges, you could be facing a Class D felony instead. This would leave you with up to 7 years in prison or a fine of either $10,000 or twice the amount of money you expected to gain from the transaction in question.

Patronizing Laws

Individuals accused of buying sexual favors face charges of patronizing. You may be charged with patronizing if you provide money or valuables in exchange for sexual contact or even if you offer or agree to do so.

Patronizing, much like prostitution, is a Class B misdemeanor. This means that being found guilty of these charges can leave you with six months in jail and a fine.

You will face even harsher penalties for patronizing if the individual offering sexual services is under the age of 18. It does not matter if you did not know the individual to be a minor at the time of the solicitation. The punishment may be a Class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,000) or a Class D felony, depending on the individual's age.

Defense Against Prostitution or Patronizing

Several legal defenses are available for individuals facing these charges. Working with a criminal defense attorney gives you the opportunity to argue your defense in court. Your attorney does their best to keep you out of jail.

It is important to defend yourself against charges whether they are on prostitution or patronizing. A conviction could impact your personal and professional life. For example, the state could revoke your teaching certificate.

You should also defend yourself against these charges, even if they are originally misdemeanors, because you may face stricter penalties if you have prior convictions. In fact, the misdemeanor charge could be propped up to a felony if your case involves extenuating circumstances.

Building a defense for your case involves a thorough investigation of the charges. When you hire a criminal defense attorney, he or she directs research to gather as much information about your case as possible. This may include an investigation into whether or not your case involved entrapment or another illegal maneuver on behalf of law enforcement.

If you are facing criminal charges based on solicitation or prostitution charges, you need a strong legal defense. David Naumann & Associates can defend you in court, representing your rights and best interests. Call our office today to learn more about your legal options.

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