Prostitution, Pimping, Pandering and Keeping a Place of Prostitution in Georgia
Prostitution Defense Lawyer in Atlanta & Alpharetta, Georgia
Tom Ford has successfully defended clients in the metropolitan Atlanta area as well as clientele throughout the State of Georgia and nationally in the areas of prostitution, pimping and pandering.
Prostitution Law in Georgia
In the state of Georgia prostitution is treated as a serious crime and a conviction can carry significant and long-lasting consequences. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 16-6-9, the crime of prostitution occurs when an individual performs, offers or agrees to perform any sexual act, including intercourse or sodomy, in exchange for money or other items of value. It is important to recognize that in Georgia an individual can be charged with the crime of prostitution even if the sexual does not actually take place, or if the money or other item of value is not exchanged.
Pimping Law in Georgia
In addition to prostitution, pimping and pandering are also criminal offenses in Georgia. Section 16-6-11 of the O.C.G.A. provides that pimping occurs when an individual:
- Offers or agrees to obtain a prostitute for someone else;
- Offers or agrees to arrange a meeting for the purpose of prostitution;
- Directs or transports a person somewhere for the purpose of prostitution;
- Receives money or other items of value from a prostitute; or
- Aids, counsels or commands another person in an act of prostitution.
Pandering Law in Georgia
A person can be charged with the crime of pandering when her or she solicits someone else to:
- Perform an act of prostitution on his or her own behalf;
- Perform an act of prostitution on behalf of a third person; or
- Assembles a group of people in a fixed place for the purpose of being solicited by others to perform an act of prostitution. (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-12).
Keeping a Place of Prostitution
It is also a crime to “keep a place of prostitution” – essentially using one’s property for the practice of prostitution, in the state of Georgia (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-10).
Punishments for Prostitution Offenses
In the state of Georgia, prostitution is generally classified as misdemeanor offense whereas pimping, pandering and keeping a place of prostitution are all classified as misdemeanors crimes of a “high or aggravated” nature. The penalties imposed for a misdemeanor conviction will depend upon the specific circumstances of the case as well as any prior criminal history, and can include fines, jail time, probation, community service and the requirement to register with the Georgia Sex Offender Registry. In certain situations, pandering, pimping and keeping a place of prostitution may be elevated to felony offenses, such as where the offense involves the participation of individual(s) who are under the age of 18. If these individual(s) are under16 years of age, the felony offense will be punishable by a period of 10-30 years in prison and a fine of not more than $100,000 or both. If the individual(s) are at least 16 but less than 18 years of age, the felony offense will be punishable by a period of 5-20 years in prison and a fine between $2,500 -$10,000 or both. (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-13).
A Typical Prostitution Case
A typical prostitution case under Georgia law generally is handled in this order:
- Arrest. If you have been arrested for prostitution, pimping pandering or keeping a place of prostitution you can expect to go through a booking process at the police station where you will be photographed and fingerprinted.
- Arraignment. The arraignment is your first court appearance. The judge or magistrate will announce the charges filed against you and inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney represent you. You will also have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest.
- Bail. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense or elect not to have a commitment hearing, the judge or magistrate will typically set your bail and release at the initial appearance. Paying bail allows you to leave jail while awaiting trial.
- Commitment or Committal Hearing. At your initial appearance, the judge will explain that you have the right to a commitment hearing if you have been charged with a felony offense. A commitment hearing is a pre-trial process where the prosecution must show that it has sufficient evidence to establish probable cause. After hearing from both sides the judge will determine whether the case should proceed to trial or if the charges against you should be dropped.
- Pre-Trial. Your attorney will identify witnesses and gather evidence to build your defense. Keep in mind that even if a trial date has been set, it may be pushed back. Trials can be delayed for many different reasons but delays typically occur when one or both parties need more time to gather evidence and prepare their case.
- Plea Bargaining. A plea bargain is a deal negotiated between the prosecution and the defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty and in return the prosecution agrees to lower or dismiss certain charges. While accepting a plea agreement will allow you to avoid a trial, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can advise you as to whether the plea is in your best interest.
- Trial. If your case proceeds to trial, the prosecution will need to prove that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The trial will begin with opening statements, followed by presentation of the evidence/witness testimony and closing arguments. After the closing arguments, the judge will give instructions to the jury. The jury will deliberate and reach a verdict (a decision) as to your guilt or innocence.
- Sentencing. If the jury returns a guilty verdict, the judge will determine your sentence. Hopefully, we will not make it to this stage. But if we do, Georgia law has sentencing guidelines for prostitution cases which are discussed above in the Punishments for Prostitution Offenses section.
Schedule a Consultation
Whether you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor crime, you need to speak with an experienced Atlanta prostitution defense attorney as soon as possible. The Ford Law Firm is a boutique criminal defense firm that fights to protect the rights of clients in the metropolitan Atlanta region, across the state of Georgia and beyond. We understand the serious nature of the charges you are facing and have the experience, knowledge and resources necessary to build a strong and persuasive defense. Contact our firm today at 404-835-3950 to schedule a consultation with a passionate and dedicated lawyer who knows how to handle prostitution cases.
Related Practice Areas
- Sex Crimes
- Child Exploitation
- Child Molestation
- Child Pornography
- Human Trafficking
- Internet Solicitation/Computer Sting Operation
- Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Battery
- Sexual Performance by a Minor
- Traveling to Meet a Minor