Unfortunately, in Oklahoma agreeing to pay for a sexual act or getting paid for a sexual act is still considered a crime. Typically, the arrest or ticket will only net you a misdemeanor charge. However, there are a handful of prostitution and prostitution-related cases that are felony offenses.
In Oklahoma, the typical prostitution charges I regularly see and defend are:
- Solicitation of prostitution (john).
- Engaging in prostitution (prostitute).
- Felony engaging in prostitution within 1000 feet of a church, school, or child care facility.
- Aiding in prostitution (pimp).
- Maintaining a house of prostitution (massage parlors).
- Child prostitution. This is a felony offense.
- Violation of the computer Crimes Act. This is a felony offense.
- Use of a telecommunications device in commission of a felony.
- Human trafficking. This is a felony offense and often involves a federal charge.
What Happens If You Receive a Municipal Ticket for Solicitation of Prostitution
If you got stung attempting to hire a prostitute, there are a few possibilities of what happened and what will happen.
This is the most common in the City of Tulsa. Tulsa Police Department’s Special Investigative Division (SID) regularly conducts sting and reverse-sting operations, going after both prostitutes and the people who hire them (johns).
If you just received a municipal ticket for engaging or solicitation of prostitution (these terms are used interchangeably by the City of Tulsa for the tickets and charges), the ticket is the equivalent of an arrest and then immediate release with the promise to appear in court on the date on your ticket. If you or your attorney do not appear on that date, a warrant for your arrest will be issued by the court.
The police probably told you that this is no big deal, just go into court, plead no contest, you will be given a fine up to $500, and then it is over. LIE, LIE, LIE. They simply told you this to get you to not freak out either in their presence or hurt yourself immediately following their release. More often it is simply to calm you down and speed up the process and let them get back to setting up more unsuspecting guys. If you melt down or have a medical emergency, that takes time and diverts resources away from the sting operation.
What will happen if you go into court and attempt to plead “no contest” to these charges? The judge will inform you that is a very poor decision, and that if you want to proceed on your own with the plea, you will go to jail for a minimum sentence of 30 days! That announcement by the judge is in front of a courtroom full of people. At that comes after announcing the charge, and after you took time off from work to attend court, drive downtown, find the courthouse, find parking, and then find the courtroom.
Even if Hell froze over and the Judge allowed you to plead no contest and only gave you a fine plus court costs, that sentence serves is equivalent to a CONVICTION. It will be reported as a conviction on your criminal history that can be accessed by anyone—like your employer or your potential future employer—for fifteen dollars.
This is not a sales pitch by a cheap, unethical lawyer. I’m not setting up a high pressure, end-of-times story to get you to hire me right now. This is the truth. Don’t believe me? Go do it yourself and see what happens. After court, call me to set up an appointment. I don’t blame you; I don’t trust lawyers either, but I am telling you this for your education and to help you avoid needless anxiety, lost time from work, embarrassment, confusion, and fear.
You can avoid jail. You can avoid a conviction. You can avoid your family finding out. You can avoid your employer finding out. You can avoid a criminal history. All of this is possible.
Being Charged With Solicitation of Prostitution in County Court
If you were arrested and taken to the county jail and had to post a bond and were ordered back to the county courthouse, this is a state charge. The range of punishment is up to a year in jail, $1,000 fine, and court costs. There is a booking photo that can likely be found with Google, a blotter report that will likely be in the paper, and your name and case will be able to be found online. That is the bad news.
The good is news is that it’s possible to negotiate with the assigned ADA. Sometimes the result is a deferred sentence, meaning no finding of guilt, and case dismissed and expunged at the end of a probation period. In Tulsa County district court, those clients of mine who have no criminal history and are charged with misdemeanor prostitution charges regularly receive negotiated plea recommendations from the ADA. This will get my clients where they need to be. It is by no means automatic. I have to work the case to get it for the client, but it happens with a degree of regularity that isn’t available from city prosecutors. As a matter of fact, the city of Tulsa has no flexibility in resolving prostitution cases. The chief of the Criminal Division personally places a plea recommendation on each case to demand jail time—usually 10 to 15 days—even for first time offenders who have no criminal history. He will not allow his subordinates to touch his recommendations. We can still get you to a deferred sentence in city court; it is just more complicated and more time consuming.
But maybe we can find even better results. The above discussion assumes that after meeting with you, reviewing the police reports, reviewing the audio or video from the arrest, and meeting with the prosecutor I am not able to either find a legal basis for the prosecutor to dismiss the case or find an available defense that will result in a not guilty verdict at trial. In every case, working for the dismissal and outright win is where I start. Only after I have exhausted these other possibilities and receive authorization from you, the client, will I move forward with a plea offer.
10 Key Tips to Follow After a Prostitution or Solicitation Charge
- Do not tell your spouse, girlfriend, or significant other. EVER.
- Do not tell your friends.
- Do not tell your boss.
- Do not tell your co-workers.
- Do not tell a counselor.
- Meet with me BEFORE you make any decisions or communications.
- This is survivable.
- It is possible to avoid jail and a criminal record.
- Do not erase anything. Meet with me first.
- Get in here. Meet with me. Discuss the case. Get your questions answered. Get some peace of mind. Start sleeping at night. Start living your life again.