Prostitution in Maryland
Prostitution, the exchange of sex or sex acts for hire, is illegal in nearly every state, including Maryland. Prostitution and related crimes, such as human trafficking and involvement in houses of prostitution, are serious offenses under state law earning substantial criminal penalties.
Solicitation alone may result in a large fine and jail time, while more serious offenses such as receiving earnings of a prostitute can lead to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Further, the prostitution subtitle under Maryland law allows a person charged with prostitution or solicitation to also be charged with any other crime under the applicable law. For instance, a charge of assault may accompany a charge of solicitation of prostitution depending on the specific circumstances, thus increasing your criminal penalties and legal difficulties.
If you have been charged with prostitution in Maryland, you probably fear the devastating effects on your personal life as much as the legal consequences of your action. Given the seriousness of the charge of prostitution or solicitation, if you are facing such a charge, or believe you may be under investigation, you should contact an experienced attorney. A skilled Maryland prostitution lawyer can closely evaluate your case to work to build the best possible defense, mitigating any legal or personal ramifications, and even potentially beating the charges.
Charges Associated With Prostitution
The state of Maryland outlaws all aspects of prostitution. This includes selling your body, soliciting (called “assignation” in the state of Maryland), and many other acts. Here, we discuss a list of illegal acts that are associated with prostitution:
Human trafficking is the use of force, coercion, or fraud in order to use another individualistic for a commercial sex act. Human trafficking can be a misdemeanor or a felony charge, dependent on the circumstances. Misdemeanor offenses are subject to up to 10 years in prison and a $500 fine. A human trafficking charge can become a felony if the victim is a minor, or a person is forced/coerced to marry for the purpose of performing sex acts. A felony human trafficking charge can result in up to 25 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The state of Maryland considers the following to be acts of human trafficking:
- Taking/placing a person in a place of prostitution
- Receiving something of value to procure people for a place of prostitution
- Destroying/confiscating passports of another person for a prostitution related crime
- Persuading a person to go to a place of prostitution
- Knowingly benefiting financially from acts of human trafficking
- Parents/guardians consenting to the taking of a child for prostitution
- Engaging in intimidation towards another individual, where they believe that if they do not perform sexual acts, they will be harmed
House of prostitution
A house of prostitution is any place where individuals knowingly commit sex acts for financial compensation. Prostitution, assignation, or operating/renting a house of prostitution are all misdemeanor crimes that can result in up to 1 year in jail and a $500 fine. Often times, the houses of prostitution also act as a front for drug operations. The state of Maryland considers the following to be illegal acts associated with a house of prostitution:
- Knowingly engaging in prostitution
- Allowing a person to enter a building for prostitution purposes
- Operating a business/home for prostitution use
- Making appointments for a sex act, or “assignation.”
- Hiring a prostitute for sex acts
Receiving the earnings of a prostitute
Otherwise known as “pimping,” receiving the earnings from another individual that performs sex acts is a misdemeanor offense in the state of Maryland. This means the offender had the intent to:
- Promote prostitution or another sex crime
- Profit from prostitution or another sex crime
- Control or disguise the source of money earned from prostitution or another sex crime
The statute of limitations can be greatly extended with any felonies and misdemeanors where imprisonment occurs (like human trafficking). You can be prosecuted for these crimes, even if you have committed them many years ago.
If you face one or more of these charges it is crucial that you contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.
For more detail regarding these laws you can read the Maryland Official Code.