Virginia Solicitation Lawyer

Solicitation is a criminal offense under Virginia law that can result when individuals agree to pay money in exchange for sex acts. Like prostitution, solicitation can have harsh ramifications for your personal and professional life.

Getting the assistance of a Virginia solicitation lawyer may be instrumental in protecting your rights and defending yourself from the consequences of a solicitation charge. To get started, contact a trusted criminal attorney to get started on your case today.

Solicitation of Prostitution in Virginia

Va. Code § 18.2-346 governs the criminal offenses of both prostitution and solicitation. Individuals who offer others money or something of value to engage in sexual activities and who take a significant step to carry out the transaction commit solicitation under state law.

This code section does not require that individuals engage in sexual activity for the offense to occur. However, a conviction does require an agreement between the parties to engage in prostitution, whether implicit or explicit. A solicitation lawyer in Virginia may be able to assess individual situations and determine whether adequate evidence of an agreement to commit a crime exists.

Any action that shows the willingness or intention of individuals to go through with the agreement can be evidence of a significant step toward completing the offense. Even if interrupted, handing another cash in expectation of receiving sexual favors is adequate to support a solicitation charge. Any indication that individuals fully intend to complete the crime may be enough evidence to support a conviction under this code section.

Solicitation Penalties and Consequences in Virginia

Solicitation, like prostitution, is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, which can result in a maximum one-year jail sentence, a maximum fine of $2,500, or both. As a Virginia solicitation lawyer may advise, individuals convicted of solicitation also will have a permanent criminal record that can adversely affect their ability to find jobs, housing, and more.

In some cases, solicitation of prostitution also can be a felony charge, mainly if the individuals solicited for sexual activities are under the age of 18. For instance, if the target of the solicitation is under 18, but at least 16, the charge becomes a Class 6 felony. If the target is under age 16, then the charge is a Class 5 felony.

A conviction for a Class 6 felony carries the potential for a prison sentence ranging from one to five years. For a Class 5 felony conviction, individuals may serve from one to ten years in prison. However, a judge or jury has discretion in these cases to sentence individuals to the same penalties as for a misdemeanor solicitation conviction.

Solicitation of Minors for Illicit Sex Acts

A closely related offense to solicitation of prostitution is using communications systems to solicit minors for various illicit sex acts. Va. Code § 18.2-374.3 prohibits adults from using any communications systems to solicit some children for specific sex crimes and, with lascivious intent, to participate in some sex acts. Communication systems include all common carriers, the U.S. mail, newspapers, radio communications, telephone, and electronic communications systems.

These offenses are Class 6 or Class 5 felonies, depending on various circumstances, including the age of the targeted minors. Enhanced penalties also apply when adults are at least seven years older than the child whom they solicited. For instance, this situation can lead to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Consult with a Virginia Solicitation Attorney

When pursuing solicitation charges, the prosecutor must provide evidence showing that you committed all necessary elements of the criminal offense for a conviction. A Virginia solicitation lawyer may be able to help you avoid a conviction or plead to reduced charges where the circumstances warrant it.

Together, you may be able to mount a defense that creates a more favorable result in your case. Instead of trying to handle a complicated legal situation on your own, getting the legal advice that you need may be wise.