An escort is a legitimate, recognized job where a person is paid to accompany an individual to social functions, events, or merely have a friendly conversation. Some people mistakenly use the term “escort” and “prostitute” interchangeably however, a person paid to accompany someone to a formal function or dinner, or to simply talk, is not a crime.
In some jurisdictions, escorts are carefully monitored and must maintain a license. For instance, in California, escorts need to file an application, submit photos for identification, and prove they are over the age of 18. This is not something new either. Escorting has been legal for a long time. If you look for Santa Monica escort agencies, you will find ones like this which have been offering escort services for decades.
But in all states (except in certain areas of Nevada) where prostitution is illegal, the line between escorting and prostitution is crossed if an agreement is made for an escort and client to exchange money for sex. Clients and escorts can be arrested if there is any evidence of that there was more going on than dinner and chatting.
The legal waters get murkier if a client and escort enter into a consensual sexual relationship. Legal problems can also arise if a client or escort get caught up in a sting operation where undercover law enforcement record what they believe is an illegal activity.
An attorney familiar with your specific case, state law, and local ordinances is crucial. It’s not unusual for judges to dismiss a case if an attorney can demonstrate that the client was a victim of entrapment, law enforcement overstepped their authority during the sting, or improperly or illegally collected evidence. COVID has also resulted in legal confusion as some jurisdictions struggle to determine if lockdowns also apply to escort services.
While escorts and escort agencies are legal in most states, each state’s laws pertaining to the escort industry are wildly different. This lack of consistency is why professional legal representation is so important if an arrest takes place.
Embarrassed by the nature of their arrest, some individuals won’t seek out legal assistance or fight the charges, hoping they can quietly plea the problem away. While someone convicted of solicitation or prostitution in one community may merely receive a fine, other jurisdictions are not so forgiving. A prosecutor may seek a felony conviction with jail time.
It’s important to remember that an attorney is not interested in judging a client’s behavior. His or her job is to represent the client and make sure the client’s rights are protected and the least amount of damage is done to his or her reputation. To do this, a lawyer will want to know if the client was entrapped, if his or her Miranda rights were read before interrogation, how the client was treated during the arrest and interrogation, what evidence was collected and exactly how was the evidence gathered. An attorney will also be scrutinizing the “chain of custody,” to see if any evidence was tampered with.
Remember, hiring an escort is not illegal, so seeking legal representation as soon as an arrest occurs is critical so that the facts of the case can be examined and a strategic defense can be mounted.