Oklahoma prostitution laws make it illegal to act as a prostitute, to hire a prostitute, or to enable others to engage in prostitution. Prostitution can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specifics of your case. Knowing what type of charges you’re facing is the first step toward building a strong defense.
When Is Prostitution a Misdemeanor?
In most cases, engaging in prostitution or solicitation in Oklahoma is considered a misdemeanor offense. For a first offense, penalties may include imprisonment for a period ranging from 30 days to one year, as well as the potential for court-ordered community services and fines of up to $2,500.
When Is Prostitution a Felony?
Prostitution becomes a felony when it involves circumstances that Oklahoma has designated to be more of a threat to public safety. We’ve outlined these circumstances below, but you can request a copy of our free guide, Fighting the Guilt Machine, if you’d like to learn more about how sex crimes in general are prosecuted in Oklahoma.
Felony Prostitution With an HIV Infection
Treatment options have improved so much in recent years that HIV is now regarded as a manageable chronic condition rather than an unavoidable death sentence. However, Oklahoma law still gives harsh punishments for engaging in prostitution while being aware of an HIV infection. This type of felony prostitution charge can result in imprisonment for a maximum of five years.
Felony Prostitution Near a School or Church
If you are charged with violating Oklahoma's prostitution laws within 1,000 feet of a school or church, this escalates the offense to a felony with penalties of imprisonment for no more than five years, mandatory court-ordered community service, and a fine of up to $2,500 for the first offense. Fines jump to $5,000 for the second offense and $7,500 for the third or subsequent offense.
Felony Child Prostitution
Oklahoma does not charge children with prostitution because it is assumed that they were pressured into the act by another party. However, hiring a child under the age of 18 for prostitution constitutes a felony. This charge carries the potential of up to 10 years of imprisonment, along with a fine of up to $5,000 for the first offense. Fines jump to $10,000 for the second offense and $15,000 for the third or subsequent offense.
Felony Charges for Reviewing the Services of a Prostitute
It is a felony to post evaluations of prostitution-related services on websites that facilitate, endorse, or encourage sexual services in exchange for payment. Specifically, this includes reviews on platforms like RubMaps. The penalty for this type of prostitution charge is imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, as well as a fine of up to $1,000 for the first offense. Fines jump to $2,500 for the second offense and $5,000 for the third or subsequent offense.
Why Do I Need a Tulsa Prostitution Lawyer?
Having a felony conviction on your criminal record is no laughing matter. Beyond the possibilities of fines and imprisonment, a conviction can put everything you’ve worked to accomplish at risk. At Berlin Defense, we fight to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. The Berlin Defense System, developed based on my experience over two decades of defending clients facing charges for sex crimes, is tailored to the specifics of each case to consistently deliver successful results.
Felony Prostitution Charges Can Limit Future Employment Opportunities
Felony convictions can make it difficult to find employment. Many employers conduct background checks and may be hesitant to hire individuals with felony records, especially for positions that require public trust or security clearances. Teachers, law enforcement officers, government workers, and health care professionals are just a few of the many people who can find that a felony prostitution conviction affects their ability to earn a living.
Felony Prostitution Charges Can Create Housing Issues
Finding housing can also be challenging when you have a felony conviction. Landlords may conduct background checks and deny housing to those with criminal records. Cases involving violations of Oklahoma prostitution laws near a school or church or with a person under age 18 are most likely to be problematic.
Felony Prostitution Charges Can Impact Child Custody and Visitation
A felony prostitution conviction can potentially affect child custody and visitation arrangements in family courts. Your child’s other parent could attempt to argue that your parental rights should be restricted due to the nature of your offense.
Felony Prostitution Charges Still Carry a Heavy Social Stigma
Felony convictions can carry a significant social stigma that can affect personal relationships and community standing. This is especially true for prostitution-related offenses involving minors or an HIV infection.