Prostitution is not a new issue for Chicago and Illinois. Although the act of prostitution is illegal, a person who hires a prostitute is also guilty of a crime called "patronizing a prostitute." Like any sex crime, patronizing a prostitute is a serious offense that can have a profound impact on a person's life. If you are facing a charge of patronizing a prostitute in Illinois, Dolci & Weiland believes that it is important for you to understand both the definition of your charge and the penalties that you may face upon conviction.
Overview of Patronizing a Prostitute in Illinois
In Illinois, patronizing a prostitute is prohibited under statute ILCS 5/11-18. The Illinois criminal law states that an individual can be charged with patronizing a prostitute if the person commits any of the following acts with a person that is not his or her spouse:
- Engaging in an act of sexual penetration with a prostitute;
- Enters or remains in a place of prostitution with the intent to engage in an act or sexual penetration; or
- Engages in touching or fondling with a prostitute of the sex organs of one person by another person, with the intent to achieve sexual arousal or gratification.
Sexual penetration, for purposes of this law, includes any contact--no matter how slight--between the sex organ or anus of one person and the sex organ, mouth, or anus of another person.
Penalties for Patronizing a Prostitute in Illinois
A person who patronizes a prostitute can be found guilty of a Class 4 felony. Although the least severe of the felony charges, a Class 4 felony charge can still result in serious penalties if the person is found guilty of the charge--an individual charged with patronizing a prostitute can face imprisonment for up to three (3) years, along with a fine of up to $25,000.
Enhanced Penalties for a Charge of Patronizing a Prostitute
In some cases, a person who faces a charge of patronizing a prostitute can be guilty of a Class 3 felony. This includes circumstances where the prostitution was committed within 1,000 feet of a school, along with cases in which the person has already been convicted of:
- Patronizing a prostitute;
- Being a prostitute;
- Solicitation of a sexual act;
- Promoting prostitution;
- Promoting juvenile prostitution;
- Soliciting a prostitute;
- Soliciting a juvenile prostitute;
- Keeping a place of prostitution;
- Keeping a place of juvenile prostitution;
- Patronizing a juvenile prostitute;
- Juvenile pimping; or
- Exploitation of a child.
Being convicted of a Class 3 felony in Illinois can subject a person to a period of imprisonment between 5 and 10 years. In addition to a prison sentence, a person can face a charge of up to $25,000.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your charge, if you are convicted of patronizing a prostitute, it will remain on your criminal record for life, as convictions of patronizing a prostitute cannot be sealed.
Illinois Sex Offender Registration
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your charge of patronizing a prostitute, you could face what might be a punishment that is even more severe than a prison sentence--placement on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry. Any person who commits a prostitution crime with an individual who is under the age of 18 faces placement on the sex offender registry if found guilty of their charge. The sex offender registry is an online database that is accessible by anyone who searches for it and displays a sex offender's name, photo, and address, along with the nature of the person's charge.
Placement on the sex offender registry can have a devastating impact on a person's life. A person can have a difficult time finding a place to live and obtaining a job. Sex offenders listed on the registry are also prohibited from visiting places like public parks and schools. Perhaps the most impactful repercussion of being placed on the sex offender registry, however, is the social stigma that follows a person who has been labeled as a sex offender.
Potential Defenses to a Charge of Patronizing a Prostitute
If you have been arrested and charged with patronizing a prostitute, getting legal help from a criminal defense attorney is critical in defending against your charge. A criminal defense attorney is equipped with the knowledge of sex crimes in Illinois and may be able to assert a legal defense that could mitigate the penalties that you can face if you are convicted of your charge. In some cases, a legal defense can be so damaging to a prosecutor's case that the prosecutor will have no choice but to drop your case altogether.
Common defenses in a case involving a charge of patronizing a prostitute include:
- Mistake: you may not have known that the person that you engaged in sexual activities with was a prostitute. Intent is very important in a case involving patronizing a prostitute--if you believed that you were simply engaging in sexual intercourse with another person, this does not necessarily rise to the level of patronizing a prostitute.
- Mistaken identity: sometimes, a person can be found in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you were in or near an area where prostitution is particularly prevalent, you may have been charged with patronizing a prostitute even if you did no such thing.
Charged with Patronizing a Prostitute in Illinois? Contact Dolci & Weiland Today
If you've been charged with patronizing a prostitute in the state of Illinois, it's important to seek the representation you need to defend against your charge as soon as possible after your arrest. A charge of patronizing a prostitute should ever be fought on your own--the penalties following conviction are too severe to be handled by anyone other than a qualified criminal defense attorney.
The team of criminal defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland are passionate about providing top-notch representation for our clients and are standing by to help you fight against your charge. Don't wait until it is too late to secure the legal representation you need to fight against your case and have the best chance of having a positive outcome--to speak with a member of our legal team about your charge, fill out an online case evaluation form or call the office nearest to you today. For our downtown Chicago office, call (312) 238-9007, or for our DuPage location, contact (630) 261-9098.