When is Prostitution a Felony?
Prostitution is a crime in Oklahoma, as it is in most states in the country. In most cases, it is considered to be a misdemeanor crime. There are, however, certain circumstances when prostitution will be charged as a felony crime with possible penalties, including time in prison.
Of course, before you can understand what makes the crime of prostitution a felony, you need to know exactly what is considered prostitution under the laws of Oklahoma. The relevant parts of the Oklahoma criminal code are section 21-1029 and 21-1030: Engaging In, Soliciting, or Procuring Prostitution.
What Is Considered Prostitution in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, prostitution is defined as giving or receiving (or making an appointment for) any sexual act with someone who is not a person’s spouse in exchange for money or something else of value.
The complete criminal code prohibits all of the following:
- Engaging in prostitution
- Soliciting, inducing, or enticing another person commit an act of prostitution
- Residing or remaining in a building or vehicle with the intent to commit an act of prostitution
- Aiding, abetting, or participating in any of the acts above
Misdemeanor Prostitution Penalties in Oklahoma
Committing any of the above acts is considered a misdemeanor crime. Punishment can include one, all, or a combination of imprisonment for a length of time between 30 days and one year, 40 to 80 hours of community service, and the following fines:
- $2,500 for the first conviction
- $5,000 for a second conviction
- $7,500 for third or subsequent conviction
Operating a house of prostitution (a brothel) is also a misdemeanor crime in Oklahoma. A house of prostitution is defined as any facility that is intended to function as a place for unlawful sexual intercourse. This crime is punishable by a fine of at least $2,000 for each offense.
Under special circumstances, Oklahoma law considers the act of prostitution to be a felony and offenders may also be automatically charged with related crimes.
Felony Prostitution Penalties in Oklahoma
A prostitution charge will automatically become a felony when any person is found to have engaged in prostitution while knowing they were infected with HIV. In this case, it is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Child prostitution is also a felony crime in Oklahoma. Child prostitution is defined as any act of prostitution involving a person under 16 years of age. This crime is punishable by up to ten years in prison and the following fines:
- Maximum of $5,000 for the first offense
- Maximum of $10,000 for the second offense
- Maximum of $15,000 for third or subsequent offense
According to Oklahoma law, for each act of child prostitution, there is also a presumption that the person involved was coerced by another into performing the act. This, then, violates Oklahoma’s human trafficking law which can mean additional charges being filed.
Contact an Experienced Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with any type of crime, it’s important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. When you make sure that you have the maximum amount of time to confer and prepare with your lawyer before you appear in court, you greatly enhance your chances of a favorable outcome.
An experienced Oklahoma criminal defense attorney will be able to explain the laws involved with your particular case and how they affect you. If you have been charged with any type of misdemeanor or felony crime in Oklahoma, it is critical that you start working on your defense now. Contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll be happy to examine your case and explain exactly what we can do for you.