This post covers issues which one should understand after they have been arrested for solicitation or prostitution in Arkansas. Solicitation is offering to perform any sexual act in exchange for money. You can be charged with solicitation even if you never actually perform a sex act or receive any money. The law in Arkansas consider it a crime just to make the offer or to agree to someone else’s offer. For example, if you met a man in a bar who asked you how much you would charge for sex and you named a price then you can be charged with solicitation. A first offense is a class B misdemeanor which carries a potential penalty of fines and 90 days in jail. A second offense is a class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a year in jail and hefty fines.
Solicitation also includes scenarios such as massage parlors that provide “happy endings”, placing ads online for escort services, and standing on the street and engaging drivers. Police are happy to testify regarding common euphemisms for sex that are used in these situations. Even if you did not discuss sex in explicit terms you may still be charged.
Police must have probable cause to arrest Arkansas residents for solicitation or they risk violating search and seizure laws
The police must establish that they have a reasonable belief that a crime was committed in order to make an arrest. This is rooted in the Constitutional guarantee that you be free from unlawful search and seizure without cause. When you are placed under arrest then the police essentially seize your body. In reality, police do not always meet the probable cause standard and may risk having any evidence they obtained after your arrest getting thrown out of court. Evidence could include statements from you or any witnesses. For example, if you were standing on a street corner in a short skirt and high heels, that is insufficient to demonstrate probable cause to arrest you for solicitation.
Your attorney will need to do several things in order to determine whether or not your situation justifies filing a Motion to Suppress evidence. He or she will interview you, read all police reports and witness statements, collect and view any audio or video recordings available, and may visit the location of your arrest. The motions are very fact specific and it is important that your have qualified criminal defense counsel to assist you in your case.
If it appears the facts in your case warrant bringing a motion, your lawyer can bring a Motion to Suppress to try to keep any evidence discovered after your arrest out of the Arkansas Circuit Court. The motion hearing is in open court and involves the testimony of live witnesses. The police who arrested you and any other witnesses will testify and your lawyer will cross-examine them. The judge will determine whether or not there was probable cause to arrest you and whether any statements or evidence discovered after your arrest is inadmissible in court.
A Little Rock criminal defense attorney may take a solicitation charge to trial
Prostitution and solicitation cases are often built solely on the statements of the other party to the transaction. Because this crime can be committed through words alone it is often a “he said/she said” situation. If negotiations fail then you may want to assert your innocence in a jury trial. A panel of jurors would be chosen to hear the evidence in your case and determine if they believe beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. The police and any other witnesses will testify and your lawyer will cross-examine them in an effort to undermine their testimony. After the close of the prosecution’s case, your attorney may present a defense, which may include your testimony.
Solicitation cases are frequently built only on the testimony of a single witness and a Little Rock criminal defense attorney can offer you the best chance for a good result. Our lawyers also handle matters in Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas. Contact us today.