Is It Illegal to Talk to a Prostitute in IL?
If you’re like most people, you’ve seen your fair share of movies and television shows where police sting operations bust people for soliciting a prostitute. In these made-up dramas, it seems like a real defense to say that you were simply talking to the person, not trying to solicit them for sex.
This begs the real-world question: is it legal or illegal to simply talk to a prostitute? While it may not be illegal to converse with a prostitute, there is a point where the talking crosses a line into illegal territory. Here is what you need to know about solicitation of a prostitute in Illinois and when the line from talking crosses into breaking the law.
Is It Illegal to Talk to a Prostitute in Illinois?
It is not illegal to simply have a discussion with a prostitute in Illinois. In fact, you can stand outside and talk with them all day and never violate the law in the state. However, it’s vital to note that you do not want to give law enforcement a reason to suspect you are breaking the law and soliciting a prostitute – something that is very much illegal.
What Is Soliciting a Prostitute?
In the state of Illinois, talking to a prostitute shifts from an innocent act to a criminal one when you solicit them. What that means is: you offer them something of value, such as money, objects, or property, in exchange for a sexual act or sex itself. This can include acts of sexual penetration or the touching of sexual organs.
Under Illinois law, it is illegal to engage in this type of discussion. Doing so may make you guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor can send you to jail for up to one year and make you responsible for fines of as much as $2,500. You can also be subject to up to two years of probation.
If you solicit a prostitute who is under the age of 18, or if they are considered a person with an intellectual disability, then you can be charged with a Class 4 felony. This level of a felony is punishable by up to three years behind bars and fines of as much as $25,000. Being found guilty of this type of felony can have a big impact on your life, limiting future opportunities such as job prospects and licensures needed for some professional positions.
What About Patronizing a Prostitute?
Soliciting a prostitute and patronizing a prostitute may sound like the same thing, but they are not the same thing under Illinois law. Solicitation is the exchange of goods for a sexual act but patronizing means that you engage in sexual acts with a prostitute. That can include sexual penetration, fondling of sexual organs, or entering into an area where you will try to complete a sexual act.
This is a Class 4 felony in Illinois, which can result in the same penalties for soliciting a prostitute as mentioned above. However, if you patronize a prostitute within 1,000 feet of a school, then it is elevated to a Class 3 felony, which can send you to prison for up to five years and make you responsible to pay fines of as much as $25,000. If you have prior convictions, then a Class 3 felony can also be charged.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.