Indiana Defense of Criminal Prostitution Charges
Indiana attempts to criminalize prostitution on multiple fronts – it imposes penalties for those accused of selling, buying, and promoting prostitution. The state aggressively prosecutes allegations regarding all three aspects of prostitution. A charge under any of these related laws can carry serious, life-altering consequences. If you find yourself charged with any of these offenses in Indianapolis or anywhere in the Central Indiana area, you should seek the assistance of a seasoned criminal defense counsel, such as Chris Eskew of Eskew Law, as soon as possible. Having an aggressive defense attorney at your side at the beginning of your case may help you reach a more favorable outcome later on.
Prostitution Under Indiana Law
Ind. Code § 35-45-4-2 defines prostitution as knowingly or intentionally, for money or other property:
- Performing, or offering or agreeing to perform, sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct (which includes oral or anal sex, or penetration with an object); or
- Fondling, or offering or agreeing to fondle, the genitals of another person.
Under the code, prostitution is considered a Class A misdemeanor, unless the offender has two prior convictions for prostitution, at which point it is considered a Level 6 felony. Class A misdemeanors are punishable with up to one year of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $5,000. With respect to Level 6 felonies, these are punishable by up to two and a half years of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $10,000 as provided by Ind. Code § 35-50-2-7.
The statute also outlines two possible defenses to a prostitution charge. If the offender is a child less than eighteen years old, or is the victim or alleged victim of human trafficking as defined by Ind. Code § 35-42-3.5-1.
Patronizing and Promoting Institution
Indiana also criminalizes patronizing and promoting prostitution. Pursuant to Ind. Code § 35-45-4-3, a person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if he or she knowingly or intentionally pays, or offers or agrees to pay, money or other property to another person:
- For past or future engagement in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct with the paying person or any other person; or
- For having fondled, or on the understanding that the other person will fondle, the genitals of a paying person or any other person.
Similar to the crime of prostitution, the crime of patronizing prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the offender has two prior convictions for the same offense, at which point the crime is a Level 6 felony.
Also, under Ind. Code § 35-45-4-4, the state prohibits individuals from any conduct that seeks to promote prostitution. This covers:
Enticing or compelling another person to become a prostitute;
- Procuring or offering or agreeing to procure a person for another for the purpose of prostitution;
- Having control over the use of a place and permitting another person to use the place for prostitution;
- Receiving money or other property from a prostitute without lawful consideration, knowing it was earned in whole or in part from prostitution; or
- Conducting or directing another person to a place for the purpose of prostitution.
A conviction for promoting prostitution is a Level 5 felony punishable by a possible prison term of between one and six years, and a fine not exceeding $10,000, as provided by Ind. Code § 35-50-2-6. However, if the individual enticed or compelled is less than eighteen years old, it is a Level 4 felony punishable by a prison term lasting between two and twelve years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
These severe penalties can result from a conviction under these prostitution-related criminal statutes. If you are facing these charges in Indianapolis or the Central Indiana area, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Call Eskew Law at (317) 974-0177 or submit our online consultation request form. We will review your case and help you determine the best strategy for mounting an effective defense.