Have you Been Charged with Keeping a Place of Prostitution in Georgia?
Sexual crimes come with serious negative connotations. Often, people assume you are guilty before you even have a chance to speak. Our Georgia keeping a place of prostitution Attorneys at Lawson and Berry will never assume your guilt! We have over 50 combined years of criminal defense experience. We have successfully defended clients charged with sexual offenses and are prepared to assist with your case now. Call to schedule an appointment with one of our keeping a place of prostitution lawyers in Georgia.
Georgia Keeping a Place of Prostitution Laws
Prostitution and related crimes carry significant penalties and lasting consequences in Georgia.
O.C.G.A. §16-6-10 defines “keeping a place of prostitution” when
A person having or exercising control over the use of any place or conveyance which would offer seclusion or shelter for the practice of prostitution knowingly grants or permits the use of such place for prostitution.
Therefore there are multiple elements to keeping a place of prostitution:
- The defendant exercised control over the use of the location
- The house was maintained for the practice of prostitution
- Prostitution was practiced in the house
Georgia Case Law
In the 1900s, keeping a place of prostitution was also called keeping a lewd or disorderly house. The Court has ruled that keeping a disorderly house and keeping a house of prostitution are related statutes.
In the case of Ahn v. State, a massage business owner was charged with keeping a place of prostitution. Police officers had received numerous reports of prostitution regarding the New Spa Massage owned by Eun Jong Ahn. An undercover officer visited it for a massage. During the massage, the spa employee touched the officer's genitals and offered oral sex services for specified prices. The employee and Ahn were arrested thereafter. Documents were presented during trial showing that Ahn owned the business and the business license. Furthermore, the employee testified that Ahn hired her to be a prostitute at New Spa and would pressure the employee to offer sexual services to customers. Therefore, Ahn was charged and convicted of keeping a place of prostitution. 279 Ga. App. 501, (2012).
The Penalty for a Keeping a Place of Prostitution Conviction in Georgia
A person convicted of keeping a place of prostitution in Georgia will be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high or aggravated nature. The penalties imposed will depend on the specific circumstances of the case along with any prior criminal history. However, the punishment will likely include fines, jail time, community service, and the requirement to register with the Sex Offender Registry. In pandering cases in Georgia, the judge has the discretion to order all but 24 hours of the prison sentence to be stayed, suspended, or done via probation.
Keeping a place of prostitution could be elevated to a felony conviction if the situation involved the participation of people under 18 years of age. If the accomplices are under 16 years of age, the punishment will be 10-30 years in prison, a fine up to $100,000, or both. If the person is between 16 and 18 years old, then the punishment will be 5-20 years in prison, a fine between $2,500-$10,000, or both. O.C.G.A. §16-6-13
If the offense was committed within 1,000 feet of any school building, school grounds, place of worship, or playground used by people under 17 years, then the offender will also be fined an additional $2,500.
Another implication of a keeping a place of prostitution conviction is that they must register as a sex offender. The defendant will appear on the Georgia public offender database as well as the national sexual offender database. Sex offenders are prohibited from living near churches, schools, or other areas where minors congregate such as parks or pools.
Because of the seriousness of the potential consequences, it is critical that you hire a keeping a place of prostitution attorney in Georgia immediately.
Defenses to Keeping a Place of Prostitution in Georgia
The character of the people of the house is not enough to warrant a conviction: In the case of Wilkes v. State, the Court of Appeals ruled that proof of the general nature of the inhabitants of a house is merely corroborative evidence. Even though the girls that lived in the house had a bad reputation and it is reasonable to infer that fornication or adultery took place there, that was not enough. That evidence by itself was insufficient to warrant a conviction. 23 Ga. App. 727, (1919).
I did not own or have control over the house: Evidence demonstrating that you were not the owner nor did you have any control over the house would be greatly beneficial in your case. It could result in your case being dismissed. However, even if you are acquitted of keeping a place of prostitution, you could still be charged with another crime. That is why you need to hire a Georgia Keeping a Place of Prostitution Lawyer today to make sure all of your rights are protected.
Lack of Evidence: Your keeping a place of prostitution attorney in Georgia will investigate every area of your case especially whether there is enough proof for you to be charged or convicted of the crime. If the State does not have enough evidence or the evidence was not lawfully obtained, then your case can get thrown out.
No acts of prostitution were committed in the house: The statute requires that acts of prostitution were performed in the house. If there was activity in the house, but it was not sexual, then you cannot be convicted of keeping a place of prostitution. For example, in the case of U.S. v. Clavis, the defendants were accused of using the premises to distribute narcotics. Therefore, they could not be convicted of keeping a place of prostitution but they were charged with another crime. 956 F.2d. 1079, (1992).
It was a one-time thing: Keeping a place of prostitution is more than just one occurrence of prostitution being committed in the house. Evidence that it was only one occasion could result in your case being dismissed. The statute requires that the house is used for the practice of prostitution. However, this can be a complicated defense; therefore, you need an experienced keeping a place of prostitution Attorney in Georgia.
What Does Not Constitute a Defense
I did not engage in any acts or prostitution: According to the statute, merely permitting a house that you have control over to be used for prostitution is a crime. You do not have to be participating for it to be a criminal offense.
The keeping a place of prostitution lawyers in Georgia at Lawson and Barry will work to create a robust defense strategy in your case! You have rights and defenses available to you so call us now, and we can discuss your situation. Every second counts when charged with a crime of this nature. Call now to speak with a Georgia keeping a place of prostitution attorney.