Like almost every other state in the U.S., South Carolina upholds strict laws against prostitution and solicitation—making it a crime to either offer sexual favors for money or offer money for sexual favors. Under S.C. Code §16-15-110, you could be sentenced to 30 days in jail and asked to pay a costly fine if you were to be convicted of a first-time prostitution offense. For a second offense, the penalties would be increased to six months in jail and an even stricter fine, and finally, a third offense could land you in jail for up to one year. That being said, it is highly recommended that you seek guidance from a
Lexington criminal attorney at the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC if you have either been accused of engaging in prostitution or offering money for sexual favors; there are a number of effective defense strategies that you could be implemented on your behalf.
When facing prostitution or solicitation charges in South Carolina, you should first determine whether or not your arrest has stemmed from police entrapment. Since a significant number of prostitution-related arrests are the product of undercover police operations, there is a chance that you have been illegally invited to commit a crime. For example, some law enforcement officers will pose as prostitutes so that they can catch the "Johns" in the act of soliciting sexual favors for money. While this is a legally legitimate way to catch potential offenders, they cannot, under any circumstances, entice an innocent bystander and subsequently arrest them for engaging in illegal behavior. This is known as entrapment, as it could be argued that the offender wouldn't have made the decision to commit a crime if they had not been encouraged to do so by a law enforcement officer.
While the police can lay the groundwork for an undercover sting operation, luring potential "Johns" with their mere presence, they cannot make a lawful arrest if they have encouraged someone, in any way, to commit a crime. Rather, the police must wait for the offender to make it apparent that they intend to engage in illicit activities (i.e. walking up to an undercover officer and propositioning them for sex). If an officer was to walk up to a passerby and offer them sex for money, this would be a blatant case of entrapment. It can be much more subtle, however, so it is highly recommended that you let a Lexington sex crime lawyer from the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC review the evidence involved in your case. Most law enforcement agencies will record the entire encounter, so our firm will make sure they did not overstep their boundaries.
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