It's a misdemeanor crime in Minnesota for a "prostitute" to intentionally engage in prostitution. A prostitute is defined as an individual who engages in prostitution by being hired, offering to be hired, or agreeing to being hired by another individual to engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact. The crime of prostitution essentially means agreeing to engage in sex for hire.
How do the police catch prostitutes and how can a prostitution defense attorney help? An officer will typically be dressed in plainclothes driving his unmarked personal vehicle in an area of town known for prostitution. A back-up officer will be watching. The plainclothes officer will stop his car near to the area where a suspected prostitute is standing. The prostitute will approach the car and the officer will roll down his window. A discussion will take place about whether the undercover officer is looking for a "date." If the officer says yes, the prostitute will ask how much he is willing to spend. The officer may say $20.00. The prostitute could become suspicious and ask him if he is a police officer. The officer will say no. The prostitute may even ask the undercover officer to expose himself to prove he is not a police officer, which he may do. She will then probably agree to perform oral sex for $20.00 and get into the car. At this point the crime is complete. The law does not require that there be a substantial act in in furtherance of the crime in order to be convicted. The prostitute has agreed to be hired to engage in sexual contact and will be arrested a short time later.
What about the officer denying he is a cop and exposing himself to the prostitute to prove it? Does that provide a defense to the prostitution charge? The due process clause of the U.S. constitution requires fundamental fairness and will prevent the conviction of even a predisposed person if the government conduct in participating in the crime is sufficiently outrageous. Unfortunately, this type of police conduct has been ruled by the Minnesota Supreme Court to be lawful and not sufficiently outrageous as to constitute a violation of the due-process clause.
There have been other situations, however, where the courts have ruled that police conduct was sufficiently outrageous as to constitute a violation of the due-process clause. One case involved an undercover police officer going to a sauna and initiating sexual contact with the defendant by massaging her breasts and asking her to massage his penis, which she did! This was not a case where the prostitute attempted to determine if the person was a police officer and the officer needed to comply with the request in order to gather more evidence. This time the Minnesota Court of Appeals determined that the government conduct by the officer was sufficiently outrageous as to constitute a violation of due process and the conviction was reversed.
If you, or someone you know, has been charged with agreeing to engage in sex for hire, you will need a strong defender of your rights and liberty. The facts of your case will need to be reviewed by a prostitution defense lawyer to determine the "Best Defense" including entrapment, lack of probable cause, and violation of due-process. Call Minneapolis prostitution defense attorney Robert J. Shane now for a free phone consultation at (612) 339-1024. Mr. Shane has over 30 years of criminal defense experience in sex for hire cases.