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Police won’t take a time-out during Super Bowl: Soliciting Prostitution and Prostitution Arrests likely to Skyrocket in Arizona this Month

As proud Arizonans and football fans, the attorneys at Rowley Long & Simmons are excited that Super Bowl XLIX will be coming to the University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015. As the Super Bowl comes to Arizona, many legal risks come with it.

One of those risks comes in the form of sex workers.  Innocent people can unwittingly be associated with or accused of paying for or attempting to pay for sex. Arizona has some of the toughest penalties when it comes to sex crimes and prostitution. Just being accused of a sex crime can bring devastating to careers, reputations, and relationships. Law enforcement agencies, the Attorney General’s Office and county attorney’s offices throughout the state have announced they will be aggressively investigating and charging sexually related crimes occurring around the Super Bowl. This position by law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices could result in numerous innocent people being wrongly accused and charged with a crime.

There are a number of ways you can prevent being unfairly accused of a crime that could impact your job, reputation, or relationship with a loved one.  Here are a few important things to know to keep you safe:

  1. Know that prostitution is illegal – Regardless of what happens in Vegas or other parts of the country, prostitution is illegal in Arizona.  Arizona’s law enforcement agencies aggressively investigate these crimes and prosecutors routinely prosecute these crimes.  Don’t mistakenly believe that police will look the other way or will simply let you go with a warning.  They won’t!  If police believe you are trying to enter an agreement for sex, you will be arrested.
  1. Know that prostitution laws are broad – The laws in Arizona related to prostitution are broadly worded and open to the interpretation of the police officer or prosecutor. Even if money isn’t agreed to or exchanged, you can be charged with solicitation of prostitution or prostitution. Buying a meal for a person can be interpreted by police and prosecutors as an item of value that is part of a prostitution agreement resulting in a solicitation for prostitution or prostitution arrest.
  1. Know and understand the risks – Sex workers appear much older than they really are.  They are taught to say they are older than they are. A girl who says she is 19 or 20 could actually be as young as 13 or 14 years old.

In Arizona, it doesn’t matter if you thought the person was an adult.  If you have any sexual contact with a person that turns out to be less than 15 years-old, you will be charged with a crime that can carry a life sentence and lifetime as a registered sex offender.

Even if a person showed you a driver’s license that showed they were 21 and that person turned out to be under 15, you will be charged with child molestation, child rape, and may be charged with soliciting a minor for sex.

In Arizona, a person under the age of 15 cannot consent to sexual contact.

  1. Know police techniques – Police will use undercover officers and informants to catch people who try to pay for sex. If you think you can spot a cop, you’re wrong.  Cops can misrepresent who they are and are permitted to mislead a person to try to get an admission. They don’t have to answer your question truthfully even if you ask if they are police – especially if you ask if they are police. Police may use techniques which amount to entrapment. Police may misinterpret an innocent and harmless exchange as having criminal intent. These techniques may result in innocent people being accused of or charged with a crime.
  1. Know you will not be able to talk your way out of it – If a police officer believes you have committed a crime or intended to commit a crime, it is unlikely your explanations will change his or her mind, even if that explanation is reasonable and makes sense.
  1. Know where to get help – If you are afraid you might be accused, arrested, or charged with a sexual offense such as prostitution, or any crime, call an attorney who understands these cases, understands the techniques police use, and who is expert in representing and defending those accused of these types of crimes.

Rowley Long & Simmons has experienced criminal defense attorneys who can answer your questions and represent you or a loved one who has been accused of this, or any other, crime. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assist you. We hope you enjoy all the activities that are available during the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. We want all of the people who live in and visit Arizona to stay safe and protected.