Solicitation of a Sexual Act
Under 720 ILCS 5 § 11-14.1, solicitation of a sexual act occurs when a person offers another person (who is not their spouse) money, property, jewelry, or anything of value in exchange for the performance of sexual acts, such as:
- Sexual penetration, which is legally defined as any contact between one individual’s sex organs or anus and an object or another individual’s sex organs or an intrusion of another individual’s body parts, an animal, or object into the sex organ of another person (i.e. oral sex, anal penetration, vaginal sex, etc.).
- Fondling or touching sex organs with the intent to arouse or sexually gratify
This is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year of imprisonment and $2,500 in fines. However, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony if you allegedly solicited a sexual act from:
- A person 17 years old or younger
- A person with a severe intellectual disability
A class 4 felony is punishable by 1-3 years of imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines. Felony convictions can also limit your civil liberties, ability to hold certain occupational licenses, and potential job opportunities. In defense against these felony charges, an attorney can argue that the alleged offender believed the other person to be 18 years old (or older) or to not be intellectually disabled.
Patronizing a Prostitute
It is important to note that soliciting a sexual act and patronizing a prostitute are two separate offenses. Solicitation involves the exchange of goods for sexual acts while patronizing a prostitute involves engaging in certain acts with a prostitute.
According to 720 ILCS 5 § 11-18, a person commits this offense when they knowingly perform any of the following actions with a prostitute:
- Engages in sexual penetration.
- Enters or loiters in an area in an attempt to engage in sexual penetration.
- Participates in any fondling of one another’s sex organs in an attempt to achieve sexual arousal or gratification.
Patronizing a prostitute is a Class 4 felony unless allegedly committed within 1,000 feet of a school. In this case, it is considered a Class 3 felony, which is punishable by 2-5 years of imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines. Alleged violators can also be charged with a Class 3 felony if they have been convicted of any solicitation or prostitution charges outlined in 720 ILCS 5 § 11 (i.e. pandering, pimping, solicitation of a sexual act, promoting juvenile prostitution, etc.).
Indecent Solicitation of an Adult
A person commits indecent solicitation of an adult when they knowingly arrange (via oral or written communication, including phone, computer, or other electronic communication methods) for a person (17 years or older) to commit an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a person:
- Under 13 years old
- Between 13-17 years old
Sexual conduct involves:
- touching or fondling of the sex organs, breast, or anus of either the accused party or alleged victim, or any part of a child under 13 years old, or
- transferring the accused’s semen onto the clothing or body of the alleged victim in an attempt to achieve sexual gratification or arousal (of the alleged offender or victim).
The penalties for arranging an act of sexual penetration are:
- Class X felony, when the victim is under 13 years old. A Class X felony is punishable by 6-30 years of imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines.
- Class 1 felony, when the victim is between 13 and 17 years old. A Class 1 felony is punishable by 4-15 and up to $25,000 in fines.
The penalties for arranging an act of sexual conduct are:
- Class 2 felony, when the victim is under 13 years old. A Class 2 felony is punishable by 3-7 years of imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines.
- Class A misdemeanor, when the victim is between 13 and 17 years old.
Indecent Solicitation of a Child
720 ILCS 5§ 11.6 defines indecent solicitation of a child as a person (17 years of age or older) knowingly solicits a child to perform an act of sexual penetration or conduct with the intent to commit:
- Aggravated criminal sexual assault
- Criminal sexual assault
- Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child
- Aggravated criminal sexual abuse
A person (17 years of age or older)) also commits this offense if they knowingly discuss sexual conduct or penetration acts with a child over the internet with the intent to commit the aforementioned criminal sexual offenses. In this section, soliciting means “to command, authorize, urge, incite, request, or advise another” whether that be on the phone, in person, in writing, online, or via an advertisement.
Beating a Solicitation Charge
To defend yourself against solicitation charges, it is important you retain an experienced attorney. Because of their legal knowledge and experience, they will know how to best advise you and what the best defense strategy is for your case specifically. Possible defenses strategies include arguing that:
- You did not act with intent. In some cases, your attorney can argue that you did not act knowingly or with criminal intent.
- You did not commit the crime. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to establish an alibi and argue that you did not commit the crime.
- You were entrapped. Sometimes, the police try to entrap and push alleged offenders into committing a crime that they wouldn’t have committed in other circumstances. Entrapment techniques can include having an undercover operative badger, persuade, emotionally blackmail, flatter, coerce, or mislead a person. For instance, Jane (an undercover police officer) poses as a prostitute. When John passes her, she tries to get him to solicit her. After his initial refusal, Jane shares that she really needs money for her son’s tuition and continues to prod him.
- There is insufficient evidence. The prosecution must prove that the accused committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney can work to prove that there is not enough evidence to substantiate their claims.