Chicago takes prostitution pretty seriously. Police frequently set up stings to catch prostitutes and their customers, so a significant number of people are arrested for prostitution each month.
Illinois Prostitution Defined
According to Illinois law, a prostitution conviction is possible for “any person who knowingly performs, offers or agrees to perform any act of sexual penetration (of the mouth, hands, or anus, however slight) or any touching or fondling of the sex organs of one person by another person for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification for any thing of value commits an act of prostitution.”
It’s a Class A misdemeanor, which means a conviction is punishable by up to 12 months of incarceration. If you’re convicted, you’re also facing up to $2,500 in fines.
You can even be picked up for soliciting others within the city of Chicago. The law is very clear when it says, “Any person who remains or wanders about in a public place and repeatedly beckons to, or repeatedly stops, or repeatedly attempts to stop, or repeatedly attempts to engage passersby in conversation, or repeatedly stops or attempts to stop motor vehicles, or repeatedly interferes with the free passage of other persons, for the purpose of pandering, prostitution, or solicitation shall be guilty of a violation of this section.”
This is a violation of city ordinance, so the penalties include a possible fine between $750 and $1,500. It also carries a possible penalty of imprisonment for 20 days to 6 months, as well as possible community service or a diversion program.
Even worse, though, the superintendent of police will make your name available to newspapers, radio stations and TV stations.
What to Do if You’re Arrested for Prostitution in Chicago
Because a conviction carries such serious penalties, it’s probably a good idea to talk to a prostitution lawyer in Chicago. Don’t admit or deny anything; you have the right to wait for your attorney before you answer any questions, so use it.
The judge may be lenient with you; if it’s your first offense and you have a clean record, he or she may even dismiss your case. However, if this is your second or subsequent time being arrested for prostitution within Chicago’s city limits, judges are less likely to cut you a break. It’s important that you let your lawyer know about the other times you’ve been to court so he can protect your rights and get the best possible outcome for your case.