When it comes to prostitution in Minnesota, the legal statutes are somewhat undefined and they are always changing, so there are a couple common avenues we always explore when putting together a legal defense. Today, we take a closer look at these three common defenses, and we explain why they are worth pursuing in each case.
Three Prostitution Defenses
Here’s a look at three defenses that a good criminal defense lawyer will look into when trying to form a narrative of events.
1. Entrapment – The first defense a lawyer may look into is entrapment. Entrapment occurs when a police officer or another government official entices a person to commit a crime that they otherwise would not commit. As you might imagine, entrapment can be a little difficult to prove in a court of law because you need to prove to that the action would not of otherwise happened, and sometimes judges or juries look at the police officer and the defendant and make assumptions without hearing the facts of the case.
Entrapment is also difficult to prove because an undercover officer does not need to identify himself as a police officer, even if the service provider asks them if they are, which can make it easy for the prosecution to argue that the actions of the provider were planned, not coerced or forced. However, sometimes police officers abuse their power and use it as a threat against a woman, which is why entrapment should always be explored.
2. Due Process – Another common defense in prostitution or solicitation cases is one that challenges the state’s procedural handling of the case. In any case, the ends can’t simply justify the means, and due process needs to be followed every step of the way. For example, a police officer can set up a sting operation, but once a crime has been committed, they need to identify themselves and complete the arrest. The officer cannot continue with the sexual encounter and then arrest the provider later, as that’s a constitutional violation of due process. Similarly, searches of suspected providers or entering a house or hotel room can only be done if police have obtained warrants and followed due process. If not, even if the provider was guilty of the crime, the case will be thrown out.
3. Probable Cause – As we mentioned above, the ends can’t simply justify the means, so an officer needs to have probable cause to conduct a search or make an arrest. A specific offer to engage in sexual contact for hire must be made, otherwise probable cause is not present. For example, if a provider gets in the car of an undercover agent and says “Let’s go somewhere quiet and have fun,” this would not constitute an explicit agreement or a violation of the prostitution statute. If probable cause does not exist, an officer cannot conduct a search or arrest.
If you or someone you know is facing charges and needs legal help, reach out to Avery Appelman and the lawyers at Appelman Law Firm today.