Have you been arrested for prostitution in Columbus, OH? The experienced criminal defense attorneys at James D. Owen, LLC can help you defend yourself. That’s the only way to minimize the consequences of your arrest and any criminal charges you might face. We offer a free initial case evaluation, so reach out to our Columbus law firm to arrange yours today.

Why Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer If I’m Charged With Prostitution in Columbus?

The stakes are high any time that you’re arrested or charged with a crime. That’s particularly true when that crime is prostitution. The government wants to crack down on these types of crimes, so they’ll invest a lot of time and resources into winning the case against you.

Fortunately, you have the right to defend yourself every step fo the way. A strong defense, led by a qualified Columbus criminal defense attorney, can be the difference between a conviction and walking away with your future intact.

At James D. Owen, LLC, our legal team has more than 25 years of experience defending clients against serious criminal matters – including prostitution – in central Ohio. Thanks to our dynamic strategies, in-depth understanding of the law, and fearlessness, we’re able to secure positive results for our clients – time and time again.

When you’re facing criminal prostitution charges, we’ll do everything in our power to get the charges dismissed, negotiate a favorable plea, or prevail at trial. That’s our promise to you. To learn more, all you have to do is give us a call today.

Understanding Prostitution Charges in Columbus, OH

Prostitution, generally speaking, refers to buying or selling sex. So, you can potentially face prostitution charges for having sex in exchange for compensation or paying another person to have sex. Sex crimes in Columbus are known as “prostitution,” “compelling prostitution,” “promoting prostitution,” and “soliciting prostitution.”


Under Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.25, it is a crime to engage in sexual activity for hire. For hire means that you receive compensation or a benefit of some sort in exchange for having sex or engaging in sexual activity.

Sexual activity can include sexual conduct or sexual contact (or both). Sexual conduct means vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, and oral sex. Sexual contact means touching the erogenous zone (e.g., butt, genitals, pubic reason, or female breast) of another person for a sexually gratifying purpose.

Prostitution occurs when a person has sex that they ordinarily wouldn’t. They engage in the act because they’re being paid (or compelled, as we’ll discuss below).

Compelling Prostitution

Under Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.21, there are two ways you can face charges for compelling prostitution. The first is if you knowingly compel another to engage in sexual activity for hire. In other words, you cause or encourage another person to engage in sex in exchange for compensation.

The second is if you knowingly induce, procure, encourage, solicit, request, or otherwise facilitate:

  • A minor to engage in sex for hire, whether or not you know they are a minor
  • Pay or agree to pay a minor (or a minor’s agent) so that they’ll engage in sexual activity
  • Pay a minor (or a minor’s agent) for having engaged in sexual activity because of a prior agreement, or
  • Allow a minor who is your child or who you have custody or control of to engage in sex for hire.

So, child prostitution laws in Ohio aren’t really concerned with whether you knew or believed a person was a minor. If you aided or facilitated a person who was a minor or who you believed to be a minor in having sex for money, you can face charges for compelling prostitution.

Compel means that the victim – the person being prostituted – has been overcome by “force, fear, duress, or intimidation.” In other words, the person is not acting of their own free will.

Promoting Prostitution

Under Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.22, you can face criminal charges for promoting prostitution if you knowingly:

  • Establish, manage, operate, control, or have an interest in a brothel or similar facility
  • Supervise or control the operations of a prostitute
  • Transport or cause a prostitute to be transported to facilitate sex for hire, or
  • Induce or procure another to prostitute themselves to further any goals of promotion.

So, promoting prostitution is designed to criminalize conduct that’s often referred to as “pimping.” 

Soliciting Prostitution

Under Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.24, it’s a crime to solicit another to engage in sexual activity for hire. More simply, it’s illegal to pay or attempt to pay another person to have sex. Section 2907.24 discusses both the solicitation of adults and the solicitation of minors.

Generally, it doesn’t matter whether or not you know someone is under the age of 18. If you proposition them and attempt to encourage them to have sex in exchange for compensation, you can face aggravated charges for solicitation under Ohio state law.

So, to recap, it is a crime to:

  • Have sex or engage in sexual activity in exchange for compensation,
  • Compel another person to engage in sexual activity in exchange for compensation, 
  • Promote or facilitate prostitution, and
  • Solicit sex in exchange for compensation.

These are all serious crimes. Convictions carry serious penalties. Increase the odds of avoiding a conviction by calling our experienced attorneys to help you assert a strong defense.

What Are the Penalties For Crimes of Prostitution in Ohio?

Crimes of prostitution can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the specific offense and relevant circumstances.

Prostitution: Prostitution is typically a third-degree misdemeanor, especially for a first offense. The maximum penalty for a third-degree misdemeanor is 60 days in jail and $500 in fines. However, prostitution can be aggravated to a fourth or fifth-degree felony if the defendant engaged in the conduct after testing positive for HIV.

Compelling Prostitution: The penalties for compelling prostitution depend on whether or not the victim was an adult or a minor.

  • Adults: For cases involving adults, the crime is typically a third-degree felony, punishable by 9 to 36 months in prison.
  • Child Age 16 or 17: For cases involving children between the ages of 16 and 17, compelling prostitution is a second-degree felony, which carries a minimum of two years in prison.
  • Child Under 16: When accused of compelling prostitution of a child less than 16 years old, you can be charged with a first-degree felony. That charge can carry 3 to 11 years in prison.

Promoting Prostitution: Promoting prostitution is typically a fourth-degree felony, which is punishable by 6 to 18 months in prison. In certain cases, the crime can be aggravated to a third-degree felony.

Solicitation: Solicitation is a third-degree misdemeanor, but can also be aggravated to a fourth-degree or fifth-degree felony if the defendant engages in the unlawful conduct after testing positive for HIV.

Loitering to Engage in Solicitation: This is also a third-degree misdemeanor in most cases. If you test positive for HIV before seeking sex for hire, you can face felony charges.

In addition to criminal penalties for prostitution, a conviction will also impose certain collateral consequences. These are social and civil penalties that can affect you for years to come after you’ve completed your sentence. This can include damage to reputation, loss of jobs and professional licenses, and even adverse decisions in family law cases.

Defending Prostitution Charges in Columbus, Ohio

State prosecutors will have the burden of proving that you’ve broken the law. The standard they have to meet is high. They have to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You can make the state’s job even more difficult by defending yourself every step of the way. 

Defenses that can be raised in criminal cases involving prostitution include:

  • You didn’t act knowingly or willingly
  • You acted under force or duress
  • You did not receive and were not offered compensation for engaging in sexual activity
  • You’ve been entrapped by the police
  • There was no agreement for sex for hire
  • There was no exchange of compensation, and
  • Violations of your Constitutional rights.

When you hire James D. Owen, LLC, our Columbus prostitution defense lawyers will investigate your alleged crime thoroughly. We’ll gather evidence, speak with witnesses, and comb through everything that’s handed over during discovery.

In addition to searching for ways to disprove the allegations against you, we’ll also scrutinize the state’s case and evidence. Our team will search for weaknesses and then attempt to exploit those areas in your favor. Attacking the state’s case is a critical component of any compelling criminal defense strategy. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Columbus Prostitution Defense Lawyers

Are you facing criminal prostitution charges in Columbus, OH? Contact James D. Owen, LLC to find out how our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you fight to protect your future. We offer a free initial case assessment, so give our Columbus law office a call to arrange yours today.

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