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Solicitation or Prostitution? Explaining the Charges

Solicitation or Prostitution: what is the difference between these two terms, and what do the charges mean? 

Some commonly held ideas about prostitution include that it takes place on the street, and that people who engage in illegal sex work are forced into the trade through poverty or sex trafficking. In reality many people who engage in illegal sex work are not forced into it and make contact with and vet clients via the internet. 

What’s the Difference Between Solicitation and Prostitution?

Solicitation and prostitution are two crimes that involve paying for sex and and offering sex for sale. The difference between the two charges lies in who is paying for sexual services and who is offering sexual services. 

In Massachusetts, solicitation is a charge that applies to the person who is paying for sex. Prostitution is charged as “engaging in sexual conduct for a fee.” Both of these crimes are misdemeanors.

What are the Punishments for Solicitation and Prostitution? 

Solicitation, ie paying for sex, actually brings more serious punishments than prostitution itself. Soliciting for a prostitute, or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee is punished by up to 2 and a half years in the house of corrections and a fine of up to $5000. Engaging in sexual conduct for a fee is punishable by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than one year and a fine of not more than $500.

Solicitation becomes extremely serious when it involves soliciting a minor under 18. It may be punished as a felony by imprisonment in state prison for up to 10 years, or imprisonment in the house of corrections for up to two and a half years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. 

Why Should I Hire a Criminal Law Attorney for Solicitation? 

The charges of solicitation or prostitution can be proven whether sexual conduct occurs or not

This is why you need to hire an experienced  Boston Criminal Defense Attorney immediately if you are charged with solicitation or engaging in sexual conduct for a fee. There are many situations where Law Enforcement could unreasonably interpret your behavior as criminal conduct, or excessively crack down on any behavior that could meet the definitions of the above charges. With an experienced Boston Solicitation and Prostitution Attorney by your side, you may be able to make a case that Law Enforcements’ version of events is not the correct one, or that Law Enforcement acted inappropriately and violated your rights.

Prostitution and solicitation charges can be extremely embarrassing charges that can have a lasting impact on your reputation. You don’t have to face the situation alone. Our prostitution and solicitation criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience fighting cases in state and federal court. We believe in the right to a fair trial and the opportunity to regain control of your life. Please contact us to learn more about how our Criminal Defense Team can assist you. 


Have you or a family member been charged or arrested? It’s important not to make mistakes early on in your case. Download our PDF on the top 3 things to do to help your defense or if you have been arrested by the State Police or FBI or you are the subject of an FBI Arrest Warrant.

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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

I have the power and the skill to be able to save people from themselves. I can be your guide during the darkness. I can hold your hand and navigate you out of the darkness into the light.

— Vikas Dhar
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