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.
What is Solicitation?
Solicitation charges in Detroit do not require a sex act. As long as the person’s intent 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 living in areas where prostitution has been an issue frequently report apparent prostitution activities to the police, and they use decoy officers to catch people looking for prostitutes. These trained, conniving officers know 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 solicitation claims. 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 falsely allege solicitation.
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, to commit any act of prostitution. Solicitation charges in Detroit are 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 prosecutors will seek to forfeit the vehicle and sell it at auction if the alleged solicitation occurred in or from a vehicle, unless the accused agrees to a negotiated settlement.
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 solicitation offense under the Michigan statute faces a possible 93 days in jail, a $500.00 fine, or both. They can also face the forfeiture of their car.
- A second offense carries a penalty of a possible 1 year in jail, 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, the penalty for solicitation charges in Detroit 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 in Detroit, 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 car 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 are basically forced to pay the redemption amount, whether guilty of solicitation or not. An individual with a prior solicitation or prostitution conviction must 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 what they must 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 in Detroit 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 prostitution and solicitation 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, these cases remain challenging, and the defendant should only use the best, most experienced attorneys to fend off such cases.
Defense Attorneys for Solicitation Charges in Detroit
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has Detroit defense 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.