What is the Penalty for Prostitution in Arizona?

penalty for prostitutionIn Arizona, prostitution is a crime that carries the respective penalty. It does not fall under the category of sex crimes but the sanctions for those engaging in paid sexual services are serious.

Arizona Prostitution Laws

According to A.R.S. 13-3211, prostitution is defined as offering to or engaging in sexual conduct for a payment. Both the person paying for and the person being paid for the service will be committing a criminal act.

Depending on the nature of the offense or the circumstances, prostitution could lead to Class 1 misdemeanor or Class 5 felony charges.

Prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor whenever the offense is a first, second or third one. People who have committed four or more offenses will be facing felony charges.

A first-time offender will usually have to spend a minimum of 15 days in jail. The jail time increases to 30 days for second-time offenders and 60 days for third-time offenders. Those who have been found guilty of prostitution four or more times will have to spend at least 180 days in Arizona jail.

Pimping, Enticement and Procurement

When it comes to the sale of sexual services, there are several related crimes that are also sanctioned in Arizona.

The first one is pimping. As per A.R.S. 13-3209, a pimp is a person who is involved in pandering and who receives earnings from a prostitute. Both of these activities will lead to Class 5 felony charges. Pandering is defined as encouraging someone to engage in an act of prostitution, compelling them or placing another person in a house of prostitution.

Enticement is defined as inviting someone to engage in acts of prostitution. In a sense, this crime is similar to pandering. Very often, it’s impossible to tell one from the other but enticement carries a different sentence because it is a Class 6 felony in Arizona.

The final related crime is procurement.

Procurement is explained more thoroughly in A.R.S. 13-3203. The term refers to knowingly receiving money or valuables from prostitution-related activities. As you can see, the difference between pimping and procurement is also difficult to tell. Procurement is also a Class 5 felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 2.5 years.

Possible Defense Scenarios

While prostitution does not fall under the category of the heinous sex crimes, it will still have life-changing consequences for any person found guilty of such an offense.

If you are charged with prostitution, pimping, enticement or procurement, you will have to get in touch with an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney. Your life depends on the work your lawyer does to out together a solid defense strategy.

To prove that prostitution has occurred rather than a normal sexual encounter between two consenting individuals, a prosecutor will have to provide evidence of a payment occurring. Proving that money changed hands in relation to a sexual act can be very difficult and your lawyer could base the defense strategy on this fact.

Entrapment is another relatively common defense in the event of prostitution. If a law enforcement professional coerces an individual to do something they wouldn’t have done otherwise, entrapment can be established.

Mistake of fact could also be a viable defense scenario. Finally, a lawyer may attempt establishing the fact that an individual is a victim of sex trafficking rather than a willing provider of sexual services. In this case, the attorney will prove that sex acts were committed as a direct result of being forced to participate in a sex trafficking scheme.

Even if there’s sufficient evidence against the defendant, a lawyer could arrange for a plea bargain and a diminished sentence.

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