LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Patrick E. Stegall | Feb 6, 2013

Memphis Patronizing Prostitution Crimes

In Tennessee, patronizing prostitution is defined as soliciting or hiring another person with the intent that the other person engage in prostitution, or entering or remaining in a house of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. Most of these cases result from undercover police sting operations. Money does not need to change hands to show intent to engage in prostitution. Simply making a statement that you are willing to pay for sex will be enough to be charged. A Memphis sex crimes lawyer can review your case and inform you of your options.

There are actually three types of patronizing prostitution. The standard offense is a Class B misdemeanor punishable up to six months. The second type is a Class A misdemeanor punishable up to 11 months and 29 days when the crime was committed within 100 feet of a church or within one and a half miles of a school. “School" is defined as any public or private school that conducts classes in any grade from kindergarten to 12th grade. In addition, there is a mandatory minimum seven days in jail and a mandatory minimum $1000 fine. Patronizing near a church or school, then, is much more serious than standard patronizing.

The third and most serious type is patronizing prostitution from a person who is younger than 18 or has an intellectual disability. This is a Class E felony punishable from 1-6 years.

In Memphis courts, these offenses can be handled by an experienced Memphis criminal lawyer often without a permanent conviction. In many patronizing prostitution cases, the State will dismiss the case with court costs if the defendant attends a one-day class held by the court’s pre-trial services division. The classes are held about once a month, depending on the court’s docket, at the 201 Poplar Avenue auditorium. The fee is $200. After the case is dismissed and costs are paid, the charge can be expunged from the defendant’s record. Another option may be judicial diversion. If the defendant qualifies, he or she may be placed on probation for length of the sentence. Upon completion of probation and payment of all costs and fees, the charge will be dismissed and expunged.

Should the individual wish to fight their patronizing charge, it would be a good idea to look into the entrapment defense. Entrapment is when the police, acting either directly or through an agent, induced or persuaded an otherwise unwilling person to commit an unlawful act when the person was not predisposed to do so. However, successfully raising entrapment is not easy because the police are trained to avoid it.

In cases where the defendant was driving a vehicle at the time of the offense, the vehicle will be seized. The police have the authority to do this under Tennessee law which mandates seizure for vehicles used in the commission of a sexual offense. In order to get the vehicle back, a claim must be filed with the court stating the individual’s interest in the vehicle and requesting a hearing.

Patronizing prostitution in Tennessee is a serious crime with embarrassing and potentially long-lasting consequences. If you are charged with this offense, please contact Patrick Stegall, a Memphis patronizing prostitution defense lawyer. He can review your case, advise you of your options, and work to keep you out of jail and free of a conviction. Email Mr. Stegall at [email protected] or call him at 901-205-9894.

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