The legal definition of prostitution is the exchange of money or anything of value in return for fornication or sexual favors of any kind. The transaction does not have to take place in order for criminal charges to be brought forward, the simple agreement for such a transaction can be enough.
Prostitution Laws for South Carolina & Virginia
Prostitution might be called the world’s oldest profession, but that doesn’t mean it’s on the right side of the law. In fact, every member of a pay for sex transaction is in violation of the law in both South Carolina or Virginia. Not to mention the majority of other U.S. states, as well. The penalties for prostitution vary from state to state as well as depending on a variety of factors including number of previous charges, the side of the transaction an individual is on, and more.
South Carolina Overview
There are multiple different charges that can happen in South Carolina revolving around prostitution, and the penalties vary based on the situation and the specific crime actually being prosecuted.
Legal Definition of Prostitution – The act of exchanging money or valuables for fornication, agreeing to such, or residing in an area for the purpose of creating or fulfilling such an exchange.
Pandering and/or Pimping – Setting up any type of structure for the purpose of having others exchange sexual acts for income, transporting/arranging/directing anyone for the purpose of prostitution, or even renting or leasing a place that is “reasonably assumed” to be used for fornication for cash exchanges.
Patronizing – Playing the part of a “John,” meaning paying for the services of a prostitute, or even staying in the company of someone who would be guilty of illegal lewd acts.
So What’s the Punishment?
The punishment can be a fine, jail time, or a combination of both. The severity of the punishment will often depend on whether it is a first offense or a repeat offense. Punishments also become much more severe if a minor is involved in any way.
- 1st Offense: $200 fine, up to 30 days in sale, or both
- 2nd or More Offense: $1,000 fine, up to 6 months in sale, or both
If a minor is involved it becomes a felony and the fine goes up to $5,000, up to 10 years in prison, & are required to register as a sex offender.
Virginia’s laws on prostitution are extremely similar to South Carolina’s when it comes to legal definition. The penalties are where things differ greatly between the two states. While South Carolina differentiates between a first offense and a repeat offense, Virginia does not.
Punishment in Virginia
Prostitution is categorized as a “Class 1 Misdemeanor.” This is regardless if the arrest is first time or a multiple. This means mandatory STD testing, enrolling in mandatory mental health counseling, STD testing, as well as a fine of up to $2,500 total and/or up to a full year (12 months) in jail. This switches up to a felony if a minor is involved and punishments become much more severe.