Is Soliciting a Prostitute a Felony in Wyoming?
As awareness of human tracking continues to increase, prosecutors across Wyoming are adopting a more laid-back approach to prosecuting some prostitution offenses.
However, those arrested for soliciting a prostitute are not among those receiving the benefit of this new approach.
In Wyoming, it remains a misdemeanor to solicit a prostitute. A conviction for soliciting a prostitute can carry many serious and potentially lifelong consequences, including the requirement to register as a sex offender.
What Is Soliciting a Prostitute?
In Wyoming, there are three crimes related to prostitution.
Prostitution, as defined by Wyoming Statutes Section 6-4-101, occurs when a person “knowingly or intentionally performs or permits, or offers or agrees to perform or permit an act of sexual intrusion… for money or other property.”
Wyoming Statutes Section 6-4-102 outlines the offense of solicitation of prostitution. The statute explains that soliciting a prostitute involves knowingly or intentionally paying, or offering or agreeing to pay money or other property to another person” with the intent of having them perform a sex act.
Importantly, there is no requirement that you exchange money or even have an explicit agreement. Courts look to the surrounding facts to determine whether there are “circumstances strongly corroborative” of a person’s intent to solicit a prostitute.
Both prostitution and soliciting a prostitute are misdemeanor offenses. In each case, a conviction carries a maximum punishment of six months in jail and a fine of up to $750.
The most serious prostitution offense in Wyoming, aside from human trafficking, is promoting prostitution. Promoting prostitution involves any of the following actions:
- Enticing or compelling another person to become a prostitute;
- Offering to obtain a prostitute for another person;
- Operating any location used for the purposes of prostitution; and
- Receiving money from a prostitute, knowing it was earned through prostitution.
Promoting prostitution is a felony, which carries a maximum punishment of three years in jail and a fine of not more than $3,000, or both. However, if you promote the prostitution of a person under 18 years old, the crime is punishable by a maximum of five years in jail and a fine of $5,000, or both.
Both the solicitation of a prostitute and the promotion of prostitution are registerable sex offenses in Wyoming if the person solicited was a minor under the age of 18.
If you face charges related to the solicitation of a prostitute in Wyoming, there are a few important defenses. A dedicated Wyoming prostitution lawyer can help you better understand the allegations against you and what defenses are available in your case.
Defenses to Soliciting a Prostitute Charges
A court cannot convict you of soliciting a prostitute unless the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to induce another to perform a sex act. Most often, solicitation cases are based on an undercover operation conducted by police officers. For example, a police officer may wait on the street pretending to be a prostitute.
While police officers are allowed to do this, they cannot convince you to commit a crime. This is called entrapment, and it is a legal defense to soliciting a prostitute. Thus, if an undercover officer approaches you asking if you are interested in paying them to commit a sex act, you may have a defense to any solicitation charges.
Another common defense to prostitution charges involves attacking the sufficiency of the evidence against you. The line between innocent flirting and soliciting a prostitute can be a thin one. In most solicitation cases, there is no exchange of money.
There may not even be an explicit agreement. Often, prosecutors’ evidence consists of vague statements that may show your intent to hire a prostitute. However, there may be another, non-criminal interpretation of your words that are just as likely true.
Essentially, by attacking the sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence, you argue that the government cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you actually intended to hire a prostitute.
Are You Facing Solicitation Charges in Wyoming?
If you face Wyoming prostitution charges, contact the dedicated criminal defense lawyers at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense. Cowboy Country Criminal Defense is a boutique criminal defense law firm based in Casper, Wyoming.
We represent clients charged with all types of prostitution offenses and other crimes, including sex offenses. We recognize that these cases involve more than your reputation and we do everything possible to secure the best result in every case.
As skilled negotiators, we are often able to secure favorable non-trial resolutions to our clients’ cases. However, with significant courtroom experience, we are equally prepared to fight you before the judge or jury. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated
Wyoming criminal defense lawyer at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, give us a call at 307-333-7884 today. You can also reach us through our online form, and we will be in touch shortly. We look forward to serving you.