As technology continues to make it easier for people to connect with one another, it’s no surprise that we’ve seen an uptick in the number of people arrested to soliciting a prostitute in Minnesota. It seems like every month we read a story in the Star-Tribune about another string that resulted in a number of solicitation arrests. We’ve defended plenty of solicitation cases for both the buyer and seller, and we’ve compiled some tips to help you avoid prostitution stings.
1. Don’t Tempt Yourself – Obviously the easiest way to avoid an arrest for solicitation is to avoid purchasing the services altogether, but paying for services only happens after you’ve looked for a provider. Similarly, if you’re on a diet, the easiest way to avoid eating donuts is to stay out of the bakery. Same idea here. If you’re worried about getting picked up for solicitation, don’t peruse listings on Craigslist or Backpage.com. Doing so will only pique your interest, so try not to tempt yourself.
2. Avoid Recorded Conversations – You can try to be sneaky by speaking in “code” all you want, but it won’t help your case if the prosecutor can hand the judge pages and pages or text messages that show you negotiating a price for a “trick” or “full service.” While the burden of proof lies with the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were purchasing sex, not an oil change, recorded messages only make it more difficult to fight your case. Be smart about what you text and email.
3. Don’t Go On BackPage.com – This point is similar to the first idea, but it’s clear that a large amount of law enforcement agencies in Minnesota use BackPage.com to lure in potential solicitors. A simple Google search of the word BackPage turns up two stories about prostitution arrests and one story of murder on the front page. If you’re dead set on purchasing services or companionship, it’s a wise decision to go through a more trusted source like a friend who has done something similar in the past. Again, as a disclaimer, we advise against tempting yourself by seeking more information.
4. Talk To An Attorney – This tip is more for individuals who have been arrested for solicitation. Finding out the person you were talking to was actually working with the cops can be surprising, but once the police get involved, invoke your right to remain silent. As we said before, the burden of proof lies with the police, so willingly opening up about the encounter will only give them more evidence in their case against you. Politely inform the police that you will not be answering any of their questions until you speak to an attorney. Once your lawyer learns the details of the case, they can advise you what to do from there.