Most people are familiar with the idea that it is illegal to offer money or gifts in exchange for sexual favors. However, Georgia has expanded upon this simple rule with their laws against solicitation. In fact, people who are accused and convicted of solicitation, or pandering as Georgia calls it, face enhanced penalties over the other party to the exchange. These penalties can affect not just a person’s freedom, but may also lead to the civil forfeiture of valuable items, and require a public notice of the conviction.
For all of these reasons, it is extremely important to present a powerful legal defense at every stage of the proceedings. DeKalb County solicitation lawyers work with those accused to provide this defense and protect their rights.
Legal Definition of Solicitation in Georgia
As mentioned above, there is no crime known as solicitation in Georgia law. Instead, the act of soliciting a person to perform a sex act in exchange for anything of value is known as “pandering” under Georgia Code 16-6-12.
The attempted exchange can be for the defendant’s own benefit, or for the benefit of a third party. Either way, the charges are the same. In simple terms, anyone who attempts to purchase sex for any purpose is guilty of pandering.
Potential Penalties for Pandering
Pandering is punished in three ways. First, a conviction for basic pandering is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. This means that a conviction may result in up to a year in jail as well as a fine of up to $5,000.00. If the solicited person is under the age of 18 but above 16, a conviction is a felony under Georgia Code 16-6-13.
A conviction will result in a minimum prison term of 5 years up to a maximum term of 20. A fine will also be imposed at a minimum level of $2,500.00. If the solicited person is under 16 years old, the minimum term increases to 10 years and the maximum increases to 30 years.
The second punishment is in the form of an article published in the local newspaper. Any conviction for pandering requires that the article outline the details of the act as well as contain a mug shot of the guilty party. Even if a person is sentenced to only probation, they are still required to take a sexually transmitted disease test, the results of which are sent to their spouse.
Lastly, a conviction that involves the use of money or a car may result in these items being declared contraband. It is extremely difficult to fight a civil forfeiture claim and rarely are these items returned.
Many of these cases are sting operations where a solicitation occurs online. Many times, the DeKalb County Police will run a fake advertisement on Backpage.com or a similar website. The solicitation will take place in a text message and when the person appears at the hotel, they are arrested.
These cases require special handling, and many times can be resolved in a dismissal or lesser charge.
Contact a DeKalb County Solicitation Attorney Today
A conviction for any crime, even pandering, is a serious matter that permanently changes a person’s life. Not only will the guilty party have a permanent criminal record, but they could also spend substantial time in jail, pay heavy fines and lose their vehicle.
DeKalb County solicitation attorneys are here to provide a defense giving clients a better chance of avoiding this fate. Many cases involving prostitution and solicitation are centered around unreliable witnesses and circumstantial evidence. As a result, they can be difficult for prosecutors to prove; even more so under powerful cross-examination.
Dedicated attorneys examine every aspect of the State’s case to determine the best possible avenue for defense for all those accused. Contact today to see how they are able to help you.