New Prostitution Bill May Clear Some Records
A bill before the Arizona legislature may expunge a person’s criminal record if he or she was arrested for sex-related crimes such as prostitution while a minor. The person would also have to be ruled a sex trafficking victim. Currently, Arizona law stipulates such convictions remain on a person’s record. This often causes considerable frustration when the former victim applies for certain jobs. For example, Beth Jacobs had enjoyed many years of success as a professional social worker in Minnesota before moving to Arizona. It was here, in 2011, that Jacobs applied for a job as a sex crimes investigator. The application required a criminal background check, which reported that Jacobs had been arrested for prostitution on more than 20 occasions. She was immediately fired from the investigator position. However, she had been forced into prostitution at 16 and was unable to escape and re-start her life for six years. The bill would allow people such as Jacobs to proceed with their careers and lives without fear of legal or job-related repercussions. The bill is enjoying bipartisan support with Tucson Democratic State Representative Victoria Steele and Republican Senator Don Shooter both sponsoring the legislation.
Long-Lasting Effects Of A Prostitution Conviction
Currently, Arizona law mandates that prostitution convictions remain on a person’s record, even if the person may have been a victim. A person convicted of prostitution may face:
- Difficulty with job and rental applications.
- Exposure to, and possible conviction of, other crimes often associated with prostitution, such as drug trafficking and illicit pornography.
Common Myths About Prostitution Laws
There are quite a few common misconceptions regarding prostitution laws in the United States, such as:
- An undercover police officer must reveal his or her identity if asked, lest a conviction be thrown out of court. In reality, an undercover police officer may not have to do so, depending on the circumstances of the case.
- A customer, or “John,” is more likely to be arrested than a prostitute. In reality, a prostitute is several times more likely to be arrested.
- Prostitutes do not go to jail but only receive warnings or maybe small fines. While prostitution is not considered as serious a crime as murder, a conviction can result in incarceration and other penalties.
I Have Been Charged With Prostitution. What Can I Do?
Since it is easy to be convicted, it is imperative that you have excellent legal representation if you are arrested, whether you are accused of prostitution, pandering, solicitation or any other sexual crime. The attorneys at the Oswalt Law Group in Phoenix can help.