July 17, 2024

Obligate Law

Professional Law Makers

Differences Between Prostitution Loitering and Solicitation of a Prostitute

2 min read
Differences Between Prostitution Loitering and Solicitation of a Prostitute

I recently was asked the question what is the difference between the criminal offenses of Prostitution Loitering and Solicitation of a Prostitute. Well the answer is very simple. For the most part they are the same type of offense. Meaning in every criminal offense there is what is called a mens rea and something called an actus rea. These are legalese terms, that are often preached in law school, but are hardly discussed outside of law school.

The mens rea means the intent of the crime, the actus rea means the actual act. So in a Solicitation and Loitering case the intent of the crime is to solicit a prostitute for a sexual act. The actus rea of these cases means actually exchanging money in exchange for a sexual act.

So if both of these offenses have the same mens rea, and actus rea, they how are they different. Well the answer is simple. In your typical Solicitation of a Prostitute case, the suspect or John typically contacts a Prostitute. They discuss a fee, in exchange for a sexual act. They John pays the fee, and the sexual act is performed. Solicitation of a Prostitute is a felony punishable by a jail sentence of more than 1 year.

In your typical Prostitution Loitering case the same set of facts typically apply. The suspect, or John will contact a Prostitute with the intent of paying for a sexual act. However the John may not actually get to the point where they physically hand over money, or actually receive the sex act. Therefore the Loitering charge was created to prosecute individuals who don’t get as far as the Solicitation charge. It was also created as a more ambiguous offense where it also contains situations where the John is wishy washy with the Prostitute.

For example when the John doesn’t commit to a price, or commit to a specific sex act, Prostitute Loitering might be charged. Or where the John is circling an area of high prostitution, but doesn’t actually engage in one. If the police can establish the John was going to solicite a prostitute, then this is a situation where the Loitering offense can be charged.

In my opinion the Loitering charge was created when the Prosecution doesn’t quite have enough evidence of solicitation. Maybe the case is week evidentiary wise, but there is still circumstantial evidence the John wanted to solicit a Prostitute. Obviously with this in mind the Loitering charge is more difficult to prove for a Prosecutor, due to the ambiguous language of the statute.

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