Prostitution is against the law in Illinois and patronizing a prostitute is a felony. However, soliciting someone for sex who is under the age of 18 can carry much more serious penalties. An individual may have been arrested without having any idea of the age of the suspected prostitute, and end up charged with a sex crime and forced to register as a sex offender.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution, talk to the experienced Illinois sex crimes defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland to fight the criminal sex charges against you.
Illinois Criminal Code for Patronizing a Minor for Prostitution
Under Illinois law, patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution is committed when any person engages in certain sexual acts with a person engaged in prostitution who is under the age of 18 or with a severe or profound intellectual disability.
In order for the prosecutor to convict an individual for patronizing a minor engage in prostitution, the state must prove each element of the offense.
Engages in Sexual Penetration, Touching, or Fondling
Patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution requires the defendant engages in sexual penetration, or touches or fondles the sex organs of one person by another for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.
Sexual penetration does not need any intent of gratification or arousal. It includes any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person and an object or the sex organ, mouth, or anus of another person (including cunnilingus, fellatio, or anal penetration).
Engages in Prostitution
Prostitution involves performing sexual acts for money, property, or anything of value. This is not limited to agreeing to pay money, but could also include giving the alleged prostitute clothing, drugs, or a place to stay if it is done in exchange for performing a sexual act.
Minor or Person With an Intellectual Disability
For the purposes of this law, a “minor” is anyone under the age of 18. The age of consent in Illinois is 17 years old, however, this age limit does not apply to minors engaged in prostitution. Even if the alleged “customer” is 18-years-old, having sex with a minor is a crime.
Patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution also applies to anyone engaged in prostitution with a severe or profound intellectual disability. Even if the individual is over the age of 18, because of their intellectual disability, they may be considered incapable of giving consent.
Penalties for Patronizing a Minor in Illinois
Anyone who commits patronizing a juvenile prostitute is guilty of a Class 3 Felony in Illinois. The penalties for a Class 3 felony conviction for patronizing a minor include from 2 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Patronizing a juvenile prostitute is a Class 2 Felony if the offense is committed within 1,000 feet of real property comprising a school. The potential penalties for a Class 2 felony conviction include between 3 to 7 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Anyone who is convicted of patronizing a juvenile prostitute with a prior criminal record involving prostitution can also face higher penalties. A second or subsequent violation of patronizing a juvenile prostitute, or any prior convictions for any of the following may be charged with a Class 2 felony:
- Solicitation of a sexual act;
- Promoting prostitution;
- Soliciting for a prostitute;
- Pimping or pandering; or
- Exploitation of a child.
Sex Offender Registration in Illinois
Patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution is a sex offense under Illinois law. This means anyone convicted of this offense is required to register as a sex offender. The Illinois State Police Sex Offender Registry requires convicted sex offenders to register and comply with all rules and regulations of the sex offender registry.
The sex offender registry in Illinois can be searched by the public to identify convicted sex offenders by name or location. These entries also include the individual's offense, photo, name, and address.
As a sex offender, the individual will be required to register with local law enforcement after their conviction if released on probation, or after they are released from parole or custody. Sex offenders have to re-register once every year for 10 years. Sex offenders also have to register anytime they move.
Failure to register as a sex offender is a criminal offense and could result in additional criminal charges. It may also require additional registration updates after release (every 90 days).
Defenses to Patronizing a Minor for Prostitution
Under Illinois law, it is an affirmative defense to the charge of patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution that the accused reasonably believed the person was of the age of 18 or older, or was not intellectually disabled. However, even if the individual was not a minor at the time, the defendant may still face criminal charges for patronizing a prostitute.
There may be a number of legal defenses available to a defendant charged with patronizing a minor for prostitution. The prosecutor may try and use the threat of an embarrassing sex crime and criminal record to get the defendant to plead guilty in exchange for probation or a lesser sentence. However, before you take a plea deal, talk to your Chicago/DuPage criminal defense attorneys about your rights and how you can fight to keep your record clear.
Contact Chicago/DuPage Criminal Defense Lawyers
A criminal charge of patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution can have long-ranging impacts on a person's life. It is important to contact criminal defense attorneys who understand the sensitive nature when defending against charges of patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution in Illinois.
The criminal defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland are knowledgeable, experienced, and are committed to advocating for every client. The attorneys of Dolci & Weiland understand the complexities of defending against a charge of patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution and are here to help. Contact us today at 630-261-9098 (DuPage County) or 312-238-9007 (Chicago Area).