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What is patronizing a prostitute and what are the consequences?

Like others in Pennsylvania, you may believe you cannot get in legal trouble for prostitution if you are not the one who is getting paid for sex. However, this is not the case. Being involved in one way or another with prostitutes may lead to criminal charges. One such offense is patronizing a prostitute.

Pennsylvania state law prohibits you from hiring anyone, whether a prostitute or not, to have sex or engage in other sexual activities with you. Doing so may be considered patronizing a prostitute. Additionally, entering or staying in a prostitution house, in order to engage in sexual activities may also constitute this offense.

The level of offense you may be charged with varies based on whether you have previously been convicted of patronizing a prostitute. State law specifies a first or second offense is a third degree misdemeanor. You may be charged with a second degree misdemeanor for a third offense. Fourth and subsequent offenses are charged as first degree misdemeanors. As is the case with prostitution itself, you may face a third degree felony charge if you patronize a prostitute and know you are human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, positive. This is also the case if you know you are displaying symptoms of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.

If you are convicted of patronizing a prostitute, you may face penalties such as prison time and fines. The specific consequences, like the level of offense you are charged with, depends on your prior record. A third degree misdemeanor conviction carries a maximum prison sentence of one year and a fine of up to $2,000. The penalties are enhanced to two years in prison and a fine of no more than $5,000 for a second degree misdemeanor conviction. If you are convicted of a first degree misdemeanor, you face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In the case of third degree felony convictions, the penalties are increased to a maximum of seven years in prison and a fine of no more than $15,000.

This post has provided an overview of patronizing a prostitute charges in Pennsylvania. Since the circumstances of each case may be unique, however, this should not be taken as legal advice. Rather, it should be considered only as general information.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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