The often-sordid connection between prostitutes and their customers is an image that can difficult to erase for someone who has been arrested on such charges. The crime is one that not only causes embarrassment for those individuals, but can also lead to jail time and fines in the state of South Carolina.
Laying Down the Law
Palmetto State legislators, like others in similar circumstances have long taken a dim view of this offense. That’s why they’ve focused a number of different sections of the state’s Code of Laws on it, covering not only the prostitute and customer, but also the procurer (or pimp) that helps facilitate the act.
While portions directly deal with the prostitute, other areas of that section are focused on the alleged customer. The law deems that knowingly allowing or being part of an act of prostitution is illegal, as is procurement or solicitation for those purposes.
Other areas that are also connected to this section effectively relate to a customer picking up a prostitute in their car or meeting at a designated spot. That may be an individual’s residence, a rented room or other place or anywhere that’s agreed upon.
This segment is directed more at the procurer, who may possibly be using force to keep control of the prostitute. In many cases, they’re also receiving a portion of the prostitute’s earnings.
This third and final area offers the different punishments that can be assessed upon conviction of patronizing prostitutes. For those who have committed a first offense, the maximum fine will not be more than $200 or the time in jail will not be longer than 30 days.
Individuals who are convicted for a second time of this offense will see the maximum fine jump to $1,000 or the potential jail time increased to not more than six months.
Finally, for anyone that’s been convicted three or more times of patronizing a prostitute, the maximum fine will be $3,000 or imprisonment will last at least one year. In each of these cases, the possibility of the sentence combining both the fine and jail time exists.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
In the first two cases, the conviction will be a misdemeanor, but in the third, the charge is elevated to felony status. Another potential felony charge will be connected to an individual who patronizes a prostitute under the age of 18, which is considered criminal sexual contact with a minor.
The Issue of Entrapment
It’s important to remember that a legitimate defense can often be crafted if the arrest was in conjunction with some form of entrapment. In such situations, the person who ended up making the arrest actively encouraged the accused to break the law, which is illegal.
These types of circumstances exist when undercover law enforcement will specifically seek out an individual and offers sex for money. Knowing the potential problems with this particular approach, law enforcement usually tends to lean toward less blatant ways, but even that can constitute entrapment.
The Criminal Defense Lawyer to Contact
Therefore, if you or someone you know has been charged with patronizing a prostitute and are looking for quality legal representation, contact our criminal defense attorney at the Deaton Law Office. In practice since 2002, Rad Deaton will work hard to make sure that every possible legal avenue is pursued when it comes to your case, which means sometimes taking innovative approaches. Throughout it all, your counsel will be confidential in nature. Contact us today.