Facing solicitation charges can be a harrowing experience, particularly in a state like Minnesota, where legal proceedings can be complex and the consequences severe. If you or someone you know has been accused of solicitation in Minnesota, it’s crucial to understand the charges, potential penalties, and available defenses.
What is Solicitation?
Solicitation involves the act of enticing, requesting, or encouraging someone to engage in illegal activities, often of a sexual nature. In Minnesota, solicitation charges typically relate to prostitution or other related offenses. Under Minnesota law, solicitation is considered a criminal offense and is taken seriously by law enforcement agencies and the judicial system.
Misdemeanor Offense for Seeking the Services of a Prostitute
At its fundamental level, you could potentially be charged with a misdemeanor for seeking the services of an adult prostitute (an individual over 18 years of age). This transgression is accompanied by a monetary penalty of $1,000 and the possibility of a prison term of no more than 90 days. In contrast to the majority of misdemeanors in Minnesota, there is a stipulated minimum fine of $500 for all convictions related to this violation. A conviction might also result in an extra penalty assessment charge ranging from $500 to $750.
Should this infarction occur in a public location, it escalates to a gross misdemeanor under Minnesota law. Law enforcement personnel frequently undertake sting operations in public spaces to apprehend individuals engaging in solicitation. Notably, the definition of a “public place” also includes privately-rented hotel rooms.
A subsequent prostitution-related offense is elevated to a gross misdemeanor status if it transpires within two years of a prior conviction. Those found guilty of gross misdemeanor solicitation face a monetary fine of $3,000 and the potential for imprisonment for up to 365 days. Convicted individuals must also remit a special penalty assessment fee and a minimum fine for a gross misdemeanor. The spectrum of the penalty assessment fee spans from $750 to $1,000.
Felony Charges for Seeking the Services of an Underage Individual
Engaging in solicitation with the intent of involving an individual under the age of 18 in sexual activities can result in facing felony charges of solicitation. The consequences of this offense become progressively more severe based on the minor’s age.
In instances where the minor is younger than 14 years old, you could incur a maximum monetary penalty of $40,000 and be subject to imprisonment for up to 20 years. Should the situation involve soliciting a minor aged between 14 and 15 years, the potential fines may reach up to $20,000, and the period of imprisonment can extend to a maximum of 10 years.
Similarly, if the solicitation pertains to an individual aged between 16 and 17, the potential fine might be as high as $10,000, and the prison term could span up to five years.
Available Defenses for Solicitation Charges
Mounting a robust defense is crucial if you face solicitation charges in Minnesota. Several defenses could be employed, such as demonstrating a lack of intent to commit an illegal activity. Entrapment, where law enforcement induces an individual to commit an offense they otherwise wouldn’t, is another potential defense.
A mistaken identity can also be a defense if doubt exists about your involvement. Demonstrating that you took reasonable steps to verify the age of the person involved can be crucial if you’re accused of soliciting a minor. Constitutional violations during arrest or investigation can lead to the suppression of evidence or the dismissal of charges.
Importance of Legal Representation
Facing solicitation charges demands the expertise of a skilled criminal defense attorney familiar with Minnesota’s legal landscape. Our office can assist in constructing a tailored defense strategy, ensuring your rights are upheld throughout the legal proceedings.
Navigating solicitation charges in Minnesota necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the charges, potential repercussions, and available defenses. If you or someone you know faces such charges, seeking legal representation promptly is essential. By working alongside an experienced attorney, you can navigate the complexities of the legal system and safeguard your rights effectively.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is 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 has been named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyser is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, and Super Lawyers.