The recent controversy surrounding Robert Kraft has a lot of people talking about prostitution charges. Hiring a prostitute doesn’t just affect the client and the sex worker; it may contribute to a larger sex trafficking ring that brings women to foreign countries against their will to perform sex work.
This is one of the reasons that solicitation, or buying services from a sex worker, comes with such big penalties. If you have recently been charged with solicitation in Minnesota, you may be worried about what is coming next.
Will you have to go to jail? Are there heavy fines involved? Will you have to register as a sex offender and have your crimes be listed on public registries?
Of all the penalties related to sex crimes, the sex offender registry might be the most intimidating. Learn what crimes qualify for this penalty and how you can avoid the consequences of being a registered sex offender in Minnesota.
How the Minnesota Sex Offender Registry Works
In 1994, a 7-year-old girl named Megan Kanka was raped and murdered in her home in New Jersey. The perpetrator was her neighbor. In response to the crime, the United States created “Megan’s Law,” which requires law enforcement officials to publicly disclose the names and information of registered sex offenders.
Each state has its own way of approaching the sex offender registry. In Minnesota, offenders will be sentenced to registering for a number of serious sex crimes. Offenders have to register for a minimum of 10 years, but can potentially be on the list their whole life.
Anyone, including employers and law enforcement officers, can access the state sex offender registry and find information on registrants. This information includes a list of their crimes, their address, and their photo.
As you might imagine, this tends to have a serious effect on the jobs you can get and the places where you can live. Many offenders have found themselves forced to move from their home or job due to its proximity to a school or daycare.
When Solicitation Can Put You on Minnesota’s Sex Offender Registry
If you are found guilty of solicitation, you will face some serious penalties. Fortunately, most offenders won’t have to register as a sex offender.
The only time you will have to register as a sex offender for solicitation is if the prostitute you hired was under the age of 18. Soliciting a minor for prostitution or sexual conduct are both crimes that will land you on the sex offender registry.
That’s right. Solicitation of a minor for sexual conduct is also a crime that qualifies for registration. Even if you did not physically give the minor money, you can face this charge.
Additionally, it’s important to know that this crime also includes attempting to lure a minor through the internet. So even if you didn’t hire a prostitute or even meet up with them in person, if they are underage, you might still find yourself charged.
Other Penalties for Minnesota Solicitation Charges
While a spot on the sex offender registry is a serious penalty, it’s not the only consequence you will face if you are convicted of solicitation.
The penalties for solicitation vary depending on the age of the prostitute and where the solicitation took place:
- If you solicited an adult prostitute in a private place, you may face a minimum fine of $500.
- If the crime occured in a public place, the minimum fine is increased to $1,500.
- If your car was involved in the crime, the crime will be listed on your driving record. At first, this record can only be accessed by law enforcement. If you are convicted a second time, however, the record becomes public.
- Offenders who are convicted twice in the span of two years will face fines of $1,500 and may have to complete 20 hours of community service.
The penalties dramatically increase if the prostitute is a minor. Offenders will face the following penalties in addition to mandated registration as a sex offender:
- If the prostitute was at least 16 years old but under the age of 18, you may face up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- If the prostitute was at least 13 years old but under the age of 16, you may face up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
- If the prostitute was under the age of 13, you may face up to 20 years in prison and up to $40,000 in fines.
Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, Minnesota laws heavily restrict the types of defense strategies you can use to defend against solicitation of a minor. If you have been accused of soliciting a prostitute, no matter how old they are, it’s time to start building a defense and fighting for your future.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).