Misdemeanor Solicitation of a Prostitute Charges in Detroit, Michigan

The City of Detroit takes prostitution and solicitation of prostitution seriously. Authorities will not hesitate to arrest someone who appears to be soliciting a prostitute and seize and attempt to forfeit a car allegedly used to effectuate an act or attempted act of prostitution.

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What is Solicitation?

Solicitation charges do not require a sex act. As long as the intent of the person is clear: the defendant must have offered something of value in exchange for sex, that is enough to complete the crime of solicitation. Undercover police officers, acting as “decoys,” are commonly inserted into certain areas of Detroit, which are known for prostitution issues. Residents who live in areas where prostitution has been an issue frequently report apparent prostitution activities to the police, and decoy officers are dispatched to catch people looking for prostitutes. These officers are trained, savvy, and they know exactly what conversation is needed to complete the act of solicitation.

False Allegations of Solicitation in Detroit, Michigan

Undercover officers posing as prostitutes in Detroit are notorious for exaggerating suspects’ conduct to justify solicitation charges (and seize vehicles for forfeiture). The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has represented many clients who have reported similar stories of untruthful and embellished claims of solicitation. In fact, it has been reported on multiple occasions that undercover officers flag down unsuspecting men, ask for directions or engage in other random conversations, and then purport that they were solicited.

Detroit City Ordinances and Penalty

It is unlawful for any person to accost, solicit, or invite another person in any public place by word, gesture, or other means, commit any act of prostitution. A violation is punishable by a minimum term of forty-five (45) days and a maximum term of ninety (90) days; and up to a five hundred dollar fine ($500.00). Detroit will seek to forfeit the vehicle and sell it at auction if the alleged solicitation occurred in or from a vehicle, unless a settlement can be negotiated.

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State Law and Penalty

Solicitation of prostitution under state law occurs when a person accosts, solicits, or invites another person, by word, gesture, or any other means, to commit prostitution or to do any other lewd or immoral act. A person convicted of a first offense of solicitation under the Michigan statute faces a possible 93 days in jail and a $500.00 fine or both, as well as forfeiture of a motor vehicle involved. A second offense carries a penalty of a possible 1 year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine and vehicle forfeiture. A third offense is a felony and carries a 2-year jail term and vehicle forfeiture.

Importantly, if the person solicited is under 18 years old, the penalty is a 5-year felony with a $10,000.00 fine.

Vehicle Forfeitures in Detroit Solicitation Cases

When someone is arrested and charged with solicitation, their vehicle will be seized by the police and towed to a secured lot. The standard practice in Detroit is to offer a quick “buy back” of the vehicle for a non-negotiable set price ($900.00). The person arrested is obviously in immediate need of getting their vehicle back, and they will pay almost any price to get it back as soon as possible. The vehicle owner is at a considerable disadvantage. They can fight the forfeiture, in which case, even if they win, they will not get the vehicle back for months. Most people cannot afford to be without their vehicle for months, and they are basically forced to pay the redemption amount, whether they are guilty of solicitation or not. An individual with a prior solicitation or prostitution conviction will have to pay a minimum of $1,800 to settle the forfeiture.

Between 2018 and 2019, Wayne County seized more than 2600 vehicles and pulled in more than $1.2 million in buy-back money.

Defenses to Solicitation

Solicitation cases are notoriously difficult to defend. Seasoned, well-trained decoy officers know precisely what they have to show in court to win. They are very good at what they do, and conversations with potential prostitution “customers” are sometimes broadcast to nearby backup officers by hidden radios, who will testify to what they heard. Furthermore, most people with solicitation charges are understandably embarrassed and want the case to go away as quickly and quietly as possible.

Despite these disadvantages, there are potential defenses that a savvy and well-experienced defense attorney can put forward to resolve such cases to the client’s satisfaction. Arguments such as mistake, misunderstanding, lack of intent, and false testimony by officers are possible defenses. In the final analysis, though, these cases remain challenging, and only the best, most experienced attorneys should be used to fend off such cases.  

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Defense Attorneys for Solicitation Charges in Detroit

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has attorneys with a wealth of experience in defending solicitation charges in Detroit, Michigan, and favorably resolving vehicle forfeitures. If you face allegations of solicitation, call us for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. We will explain how we can help you.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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