In Missouri, it is a crime to engage in or offer or agree to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for something of value received by either party. Sexual conduct is defined as, “sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse or sexual contact.” Sexual intercourse is defined as, “any penetration, however slight, of the female genitalia by the penis.” Deviate sexual intercourse is defined as, “any sexual act involving the genitals of one person and the mouth, hand, tongue, or anus of another person; or any act involving the penetration, however slight, of the penis, the female genitalia, or the anus by a finger, instrument, or object done for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person or for the purpose of terrorizing the victim.” Sexual contact is, “any touching of another person with the genitals or any touching of the genitals or anus of another person or the breast of a female person, or such touching through the clothing, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire of any person or for the purpose of terrorizing the victim.” Something of value is, “any money or property, or any token, object or article exchangeable for money or property.” The penalty for prostitution is 30 days to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $500 (Class B Misdemeanor). If the person knows that he or she is infected with HIV prior to the prostitution, the crime is classified as a Class B Felony punishable to 5-15 years in prison. The use of a condom during the sexual intercourse is not a valid defense to the offense of prostitution. Patronizing Prostitution A person commits the offense of patronizing prostitution of he or she: (1) gives something of value to a person as compensation for having engaged in sexual conduct with any person; or (2) gives or agrees to give something of value to another person with the understand that such person or another person will engage in sexual conduct with any person; or (3) solicits or requests another to engage in sexual conduct with any person in return for something of value. Patronizing prostitution is a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable to 30 days to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $500. The penalty is elevated to a Class A Misdemeanor, with a punishment of up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine, if the person patronizes is less than 18 years old. Believing the individual the accused is patronized was older than 18 years of age is not a valid defense. In other words, “she looked older than she was” is not going to be a valid defense. We understand, this type of charge can be extremely embarrassing and pleading guilty just to get the charge to go away might be your first thought. But hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate your charges and guide you through what options are available. In some cases, you may be able to get the charges thrown out all together or at the least have your charges reduced. Contact Howard Haake at (314) 325-9868 or (636) 332-5555 for a free consultation regarding your prostitution/patronizing charge and learn what rights and remedies are best for your situation.