Prostitution Defense Strategies Evolve

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Prior to the summer of 2013, men arrested and prosecuted here in Hawaii for hiring a prostitute usually had a simple and discreet solution to their legal problem, at least for a first offense.  Any defendant could have his lawyer offer a no contest plea in exchange for an alternative disposition known as a Deferred Acceptance.  It essentially meant that if the defendant stayed arrest and conviction free for a specified period of time, usually six months, the charge would be dismissed.  That option is no longer available, as the State has tried to get tougher on prostitution and what it considers to be human trafficking crimes.

Now it is tougher to avoid having a conviction on your record for prostitution as an accused customer.  Tougher, but not impossible.  The difference is in the details.

While any attorney can guide his client through a Deferred Acceptance plea, now, the only remaining way to avoid the stigma of suffering a prostitution conviction on your record as an accused customer is by preparing to fight the charges.  There are still advantages to be found by a seasoned trial lawyer.  Was this a sting?  Did law enforcement use surveillance?  Was money actually exchanged?  Was the undercover officer overzealous in closing the deal?

For providers, a Deferred Acceptance is still available.  However, conventional wisdom is that the risk of real jail time is greater, as is the possibility of being geographically restricted.  Additionally, the penalties increase for repeat convictions including the possibility of mandatory jail time.  Just as for hobbyists, providers can benefit from an experienced and aggressive trial lawyer can make the difference.

And who knows, if such a lawyer finds enough advantages to exploit, it’s theoretically possible that he can convince a prosecutor who now finds himself “surrounded”, to amend the charge to predate the deferral proscription.

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