Virginia Law on Solicitation of Prostitution: Va. Code § 18.2-346(b)

What is Solicitation of Prostitution in Virginia?

Solicitation is described as “any person who offers money or its equivalent to another for purpose of engaging in sexual acts as enumerated [in subsection A] and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof shall be guilty of soliciation of prostitution and shall be guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Va. Code § 18.2-346(b)

How is Solicitation punished in Virginia?

Solicitation of prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. It carries maximum punishment of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If you are convicted, you also have to get a sexually transmitted disease blood test.

What does this mean for you?

Solicitation bans the act of promoting prostitution, solicitation of prostitution, and prostitution itself. Regardless of whether you are the party soliciting services or providing them, both people are punished under the law.

Much like Solicitation, prostitution is also a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Prostitution is when a person trades sexual favors, sexual contact for financial or some other compensation.

Another frequent charge to come out of these incidents is a charge under Va. Code 18.2-347 which is keeping, residing in, or frequenting a bawdy place.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to keep any bawdy place, or to reside in or at or visit, for immoral purposes, any such bawdy place. Each and every day such bawdy place shall be kept, resided in or visited, shall constitute a separate offense. As used in this code, a “bawdy place” shall mean any place within or without any building or structure which is used or is to be used for lewdness, assignation or prostitution.”

Va. Code 18.2-347

These charges can lead to other more serious charges, such as “pimping” or human trafficking which are punished much more severely.

Code Section Virginia Code §18.2-346 -18.2-359
What is Prohibited? Prostitution
either offering or accepting;
sexual activity;
in exchange for something of value; and
both parties had the intent to commit prostitution or solicitation.

Solicitation
See above.

Promoting Prostitution: owning, controlling, managing, supervising or otherwise keeping, alone or in association with another, a house of prostitution or a prostitution business;
Who Can be Prosecuted? Prostitute (supplier of services) Customer/”John” (solicitor of services) Pimp/Madame (liaison involved in the transaction)
Anyone involved in human trafficking
Penalties: Prostitution: class 1 misdemeanor penalties including mandatory STD testing such as hepatitis C and HIV and must enroll in mandatory mental health counseling and STD education.
What is Considered Payment? Money or anything of value in exchange for the sexual services is sufficient (i.e. property).
Definition of “Sexual Activity” Any kind of sexual relation including traditional sexual intercourse, oral sex, masturbation, touching in a sexual area or even on the buttocks.

Virginia has many other code sections that bans several different charges related to prostitution such as Va. Code 18.2-348 (Aiding prostitution or illicit sexual intercourse), 18.2-349 (Using vehicles to promote prostitution or unlawful sexual intercourse), 18.2-357 (receiving money from earnings of a male or female prostitute).

Fairfax county has its own prostitution and solicitation law enumerated in Code Section 28.1-4-6. The code is specific to massage parlors and it bans any massaging, touching, exposing erogenous areas. “It is unlawful for any person, in a massage establishment or during the course of an out-call massage transaction, to touch, with any part of his or her body or with any object, another person’s clothed or unclothed erogenous area.”

Should you hire an attorney?

As you can see from the several laws on this one subject, a charge can quickly snowball or other charges can be added on during and after investigation. It is extremely important to consult a Virginia defense attorney who is experienced in handling these charges throughout Northern Virginia.