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This week, our criminal lawyers discuss a young man’s concern about being caught in an undercover prostitution sting. Like, what’s going to happen now that he’s been arrested.

The Question: What happens when a 17 year old is caught hiring a prostitute as part of an undercover operation?

I am 17 and I decided to hire a prostitute, which turned out to be an undercover cop.

I was wondering if the fact that I told the prostitute that I was 17 before purchasing would help me or harm me in any way?

The Answer: The person can be charged with solicitation of prostitution. However, because they are 17 they could be charged as a minor. Also, if in Baltimore City they are no longer prosecuting most misdemeanors, so no charges.

Well, that indeed turned into quite the first-time experience with prostitution. We don’t judge here at JC Law and don’t need to know why hiring a prostitute at such a young age happened. Unfortunately, whether an adult or minor, in Maryland, prostitution and solicitation are illegal, a charge of solicitation is likely.

Had you been a minor prostituting yourself, then there is a slew of other outcomes. Authorities would investigate whether or not human trafficking was involved. Law enforcement also looks into other possible child sex crimes that occurred while prostituting.

And, police officers contact Child Protective Services to get the person the help and resources needed to ensure their safety and well-being.

However, this case involves a young man trying to find a consensual sexual encounter with a prostitute. Regrettably, the prostitute was an undercover officer, which instantaneously put this young man in legal trouble.

The fact that you’re a minor in the eyes of the law means you could be facing juvenile court and not adult court. That is probably the only benefit in telling the officer before purchasing that you were a juvenile.

Another benefit of the case going to juvenile court, a juvenile record is sealed when the defendant turns 21 years old. Meaning, the record of solicitation of prostitution charge is sealed automatically.

Now, it is not a guarantee that charges will be brought into juvenile court. That is ultimately up to a judge to decide if that is the case or not.

Finally, if this is your first criminal offense ever, then there is a higher likelihood the case gets moved to juvenile court because there is no prior criminal history.

A quick side note, if this happened in Baltimore City, then the charge is dropped. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby recently announced the city would stop prosecuting low-level offenses, such as prostitution and solicitation.

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Our automatic disclaimer: We’re lawyers, but not necessarily your lawyer, and do not represent the individual who asked this question. We’re providing this information for general educational purposes based on the publicly available information provided by the anonymous Internet user. Any number of details may change how this individual’s attorney may pursue this legal situation, differently from how we suppose above. If you have a similar question, then you should consult with a lawyer about your specific situation to get a “real” response!