Published in Criminal Law by Chris Eskew on November 15, 2021.

Prostitution and Solicitation Laws in Indiana

With awareness increasing around the issue of sex trafficking, police and prosecutors have recently begun to take a hardline approach when it comes to prostitution offenses.

However, prostitution laws in Indiana are complex. And an arrest for solicitation or promotion of prostitution can be a very serious offense.

At Eskew Law our dedicated Indiana criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience representing clients facing prostitution-related charges. We understand the common defenses and how to best protect you against the allegations you face.

Is Prostitution Legal in Indiana?

Prostitution is the name given to a transaction involving the exchange of sex for money. Prostitution in Indiana includes any kind of sex act.

In Indiana, the sale of sex is illegal on all sides of the transaction. The typical prostitution crime involves three parties: the seller of sex, the buyer, and the promoter.

Indiana Prostitution Laws

Indiana Code section 35-45-4-2 provides that anyone who “performs, or offers or agrees to perform, sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct” in exchange for money or anything of value commits the offense of prostitution.

Thus, legally speaking, the government can only bring a prostitution charge against a person who is selling sex.

Prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

However, anyone with more than two prior convictions for prostitution-related offenses faces a Level 6 felony, punishable by up to 2.5 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Indiana Solicitation Laws

Solicitation is the term used to describe someone who buys sex. In Indiana, solicitation is referred to as “making an unlawful proposition.”

Under Indiana Code section 35-45-4-3, making an unlawful proposition occurs when “a person . . . knowingly or intentionally pays, or offers or agrees to pay, money or other property to another person” in exchange for sex.

It is not a defense if the seller of sex agreed to engage in prostitution or if the person purporting to be a prostitute is actually a police officer.

Solicitation is a Class A misdemeanor offense, punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000.

However, anyone with more than two prior convictions for prostitution-related offenses faces a Level 6 felony, punishable by up to 2.5 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Promoting Prostitution Laws in Indiana

Promoting prostitution, or more commonly referred to as pimping, is the most serious prostitution-related offense in Indiana.

Under Indiana Code section 35-45-4-4, anyone who “knowingly or intentionally entices or compels another person to become a prostitute” or operates a place used for prostitution violates the law against promoting prostitution.

Promoting prostitution is a Level 5 felony offense, punishable by a term of imprisonment between two and eight years and a fine of up to $10,000.

However, if the alleged prostitute is under 18, the offense is graded as a Level 4 felony. Level 4 felonies carry a punishment of between two to 12 years in prison, with an advisory sentence of six years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Defenses to an Indiana Prostitution Charge

There are two main defenses to a prostitution charge. The first involves insufficient evidence.

Before a judge or jury can find you guilty of prostitution, the government must prove you “knowingly and intentionally” engaged or attempted to engage in the sale or purchase of sex. For example, there can be a fine line between “flirting” and attempting to pay someone for sex.

The other defense is entrapment. Many prostitution arrests stem from an undercover operation where a police officer poses as a sex worker. However, it is against the law for police officers to induce someone to commit a crime.

That being the case, an undercover officer cannot initiate a conversation about sex-for-money. If they do, you should not be found guilty of a prostitution-related offense.

Have You Been Charged with a Violation of the Indiana Prostitution Laws?

If you face prostitution, solicitation, or promoting prostitution charges, contact the dedicated Indiana criminal defense lawyers at Eskew Law. At Eskew Law, we take a client-centered approach to every case we handle.

This means we cater our representation to your unique concerns and goals. We also make ourselves available to you throughout the duration of your case.

Whatever charges you face or what your prior record looks like, we can help. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give Eskew Law a call today. You can also reach us through our online form.

Author Photo
Chris Eskew

Chris Eskew is the founding partner of Eskew Law. With over 15 years of experience, he focuses his practice on criminal defense, DUI defense, and family law. Chris is known for his dedication to his clients, his strong advocacy skills, and his commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes in legal matters. He is well-respected within the legal community and has earned a reputation for providing personalized and effective representation.