Georgia has strict laws on prostitution and its related offenses. Severe punishments can accompany a conviction for engaging in prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, pandering, and solicitation.
In Georgia, any payment for a sexual act is considered prostitution, whether the payment consists of money, a gift, or the trade of items or other services. If you have been accused of prostitution, pimping, keeping a place of prostitution, pandering, or solicitation, contact an Atlanta Sex Crimes defense lawyer right away to protect your rights.
Prostitution and Sexual Offenses Associated With Prostitution
Title 16 of the Georgia Code defines prostitution and sexual offenses related to prostitution as follows:
- Prostitution: The exchange of money or any item or service of value for sexual acts including intercourse and sodomy. This includes gifts and favors.
- Keeping a place of prostitution: If you have or exercise control over a place that offers a secluded or sheltered area for committing prostitution or you knowingly allow the use of a place, including your home, for prostitution, you may be accused of keeping a place of prostitution. Even if you don’t make money at running the place of prostitution, if you allow it to happen in a building or on real estate you own, you may be convicted of keeping a place of prostitution.
- Pimping: You may be accused of pimping if you offer to find a prostitute for another person, arrange a meeting for the purpose of prostitution, send a person to a place of prostitution, accept money or any other valuable item or service from a prostitute or if you help others in committing prostitution.
- Pandering: If you ask someone to commit and act of prostitution for yourself or for another person, or you get other people together at one place so that others can “choose” a partner, you may be accused of pandering. You do not have to make money for yourself—you only need to set up the meetings—to be arrested for and possibly convicted of pandering.
- Solicitation: If you are looking for sexual services for hire, you are soliciting a prostitute. If you solicit someone under 17 years of age, solicitation is a felony. Many are caught in prostitution stings where a police officer—usually female—poses as a prostitute. Once you agree to an amount and meet the “prostitute” somewhere and money changes hands, you may be arrested.
- Masturbation for hire: If you stimulate the genitals of another person in any way through bodily contact or with an instrument in exchange for money or other valuables, you may be accused of masturbation for hire.
- Giving massages: If you offer a massage in a building or other structure that is used for lewd conduct, masturbation, or prostitution, you may be charged with a crime.
The state must be able to prove you were committing an act of prostitution or other sexual offense related to prostitution beyond a reasonable doubt. Hiring an experienced prostitution defense attorney can help to determine if the state’s evidence can meet that threshold.
The Modernization of the World’s Oldest Profession
Before the internet, prostitution was something that was relatively hidden from public view, typically available only in specific geographic locations. In this day and age, however, websites and mobile apps make it easier to arrange, and even pay for, sexual encounters.
Those same conveniences also make it easier for law enforcement to investigate sex crimes, to operate sting operations, and to implicate consenting adults in unfair charges of engaging in prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual assault, and other sex offenses. Oftentimes, law enforcement’s undercover online activities blur the lines between arranging a casual, consensual “hook-up” and engaging in allegedly illegal activity.
Defending Your Rights
At Schipper Law, we defend Atlanta-area residents and visitors against the wide range of prostitution-related criminal charges. Because of the blurred lines between “casual hook-ups” and prostitution, we fight aggressively to make sure consenting behavior between two adults does not get twisted into charges of criminal conduct that could destroy our client’s lives and reputations. We firmly believe what two consenting adults do in the privacy of the bedroom is their own business, and is no place for law enforcement to intrude.
Penalties You Could Face for Prostitution or Sexual Offenses Related to Prostitution
As noted above, the potential penalties for a conviction for prostitution and related offenses are severe. The crimes listed above are misdemeanors and/or “high and aggravated” misdemeanors under Georgia law. A sentence for these offenses can include jail time, fines, and probation.
If, however, your actions involved a person who is at least 16 years old but under 18 years old, including pandering, pimping or running a place of prostitution, then you may instead be charged with a felony. This charge could carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison with a five-year minimum and/or a fine of at least $2,500 but not more than $10,000. If the person allegedly involved is less than 16 years of age, the penalty is up to 30 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 10 years and/or a fine of up to $100,000. Felony convictions of sex crimes involving minors also carry mandatory registration as a sex offender as a consequence.
Additionally, if you are convicted of pandering, a notice will be published in a local newspaper in the legal notices section. The notice will contain your picture, name and your address. If your case is published, you will be charged for the cost of publication. Finally, if you are convicted of prostitution or other acts related to prostitution within 1,000 feet of a school, church, playground or recreation center, you may be fined up to $2,500.
Contact an Atlanta Prostitution Defense Lawyer at Schnipper Law
If you have been arrested for prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution, pandering, pimping, solicitation, masturbation for hire, or prostitution in conjunction with giving a massage, contact Schnipper Law at (404) 545-5845, an Atlanta prostitution defense attorney for a free consultation. Learn how to protect your rights, your name, and your reputation.