Defending Against Solicitation Charges
Rudyard Kipling described prostitution as “the world’s oldest profession.” Certainly history demonstrates that prostitution, as an activity, dates back hundreds, if not thousands of years. Today the laws of New York prohibit prostitution, as well as the solicitation of prostitutes. In this sense both parties accused of engaging in that particular business agreement are culpable for their actions and may be subject to criminal sanctions.
Prostitution Sting In Rockland County
Six people in Rockland County were recently busted in a prostitution sting. Iohud reported on the arrests and stated the police operation was set up in local hotels and motels which experienced a rise in the rate of prostitution. Once the police posted an online advertisement, they received 140 responses from potential solicitors in a span of four hours. Of the six arrests made, half of them were charged with patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor in New York.
The Patch reported on Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe as saying that the sting was all part of an effort to reduce the human trafficking associated with the market provided by these individuals. District Attorney Zugibe used his statements to enforce the idea that solicitation of a prostitute is not a victimless crime. Prostitution is its own crime under New York Penal Law §230.00. However, the general focus of law enforcements seems to focus more on the solicitors than the actual prostitutes. This is demonstrated in the fact that patronizing of a prostitute carries a higher penalty than the act of prostitution.
Entrapment as a Defense
The primary defense most people have to “patronizing a prostitute” is entrapment. In New York, entrapment is covered under New York Penal Law §40.05. This affirmative defense is far more complicated than a simple “they made me do it.” To use the defense of entrapment, the accused must prove that the police, or an agent of the government, actively induced them to engage in criminal activity when they themselves were not generally disposed to such activity. However, the New York courts hold that an undercover agent asking the accused if they want sex in exchange for money does not constitute active inducement. If an officer only provides the opportunity for a person to commit a crime, this is not entrapment.
If you are arrested for prostitution or patronizing a prostitute then you may be able to bring a claim for entrapment, but it is not likely. Police officers are typically trained to know what constitutes active inducement so that they do not cross that line. Note that, in the sting mentioned in the article, of the 140 responses only three resulted in patronizing of a prostitute arrests. With that said, there may be some procedural elements or mistakes made by police which can afford you with a defense. The advantage to some of these defenses over entrapment is that these are not affirmative defenses, so you do not possess the burden to prove your case in that regard. In the end, it will likely be beneficial to hire an experienced criminal law attorney to assist you with your claim. Phillip J. Murphy is one such criminal law attorney. Phillip J. Murphy is licensed to practice in New York and has been practicing law since 1989. Contact us today to discuss your options.