When is prostitution treated as a felony in Michigan?

For individuals charged with prostitution by Lansing, MI, law enforcement, the legal consequences are devastating to your reputation, employment, family, and freedom. If you or a loved one are facing this type of sex crime, it’s important to understand that certain factors can make what seems like a minor misdemeanor quickly escalate in severity. 

What’s the difference between misdemeanor and felony prostitution offenses in Michigan?

Anyone over the age of 16 in Michigan who gets caught committing acts related to prostitution typically gets charged. First-time offenders usually receive a misdemeanor charge that carries a jail sentence of up to 3 months in jail, a maximum possible $500 fine, and other related judgments the court deems necessary. This could include community service or counseling. 

Second offenders also get charged with a misdemeanor and could spend up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, and other related sentencing the judge feels is required. 

If you commit prostitution crimes a third time or more, Michigan law treats your actions as a felony. Defendants who get convicted could go to prison for up to two years, receive a $2,000 fine, and undergo any other related orders the court feels is appropriate for the charge. 

Any of these consequences can have long-term impacts on your life, but felony charges are particularly devastating and may not qualify for expungement later. This makes speaking with the experienced sex crime attorneys of Coontz Law vital for defending your rights, reputation, and freedom when charged with prostitution in Lansing, MI. 

Additional consequences you might face for hiring prostitutes in Lansing, MI

There are several different categories of prostitution-related criminal activity that also carry significant penalties in Michigan that you should also consider. To better understand how any of these circumstances could affect your criminal case, make sure to speak with a knowledgeable attorney familiar with this type of sex crime.

Assisting prostitution activities

If you are accused of assisting a prostitute or helping someone hire one, you also can face prostitution charges. The maximum penalties you could receive are the same as someone acting as a prostitute or hiring one. 

Forcing someone into prostitution

State law considers it a felony offense to encourage someone into prostitution using force, intimidation, coercion, fraud, or threats. Anyone convicted of this crime risks a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. 

Running a brothel

If you use a home or building to run a brothel (house of prostitution) in Lansing, MI, you commit a felony-level crime. A conviction could put you in prison for up to five years and/or receive a fine of up to $2,500.

Earn money from prostitution

If you take money from a prostitute’s earnings or receive funds from their pimp, this is a felony in Michigan. This crime can result in a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and stiff fines.

Transporting a prostitute

Individuals who transport prostitutes to their business are treated just as seriously as forcing someone to become a prostitute. In Michigan, this is a felony crime that not only could bring a 20-year prison sentence but also rack up separate federal charges if you transported them across state lines. 

Imprisoning a prostitute in a brothel

Forcing a prostitute to stay in your brothel (house of prostitution) over money owed or other debt is a felony under Michigan law. This crime has a mandatory 2 to 20-year prison sentence. 

Using minors under the age of 16 to work as prostitutes in your brothel 

Any minor under 16 years old to work or live in your brothel (house of prostitution) is a felony in the state of Michigan if this is your third or more conviction for this crime. You could spend up to two years in prison, pay a $2,000 fine, or both. Additional charges could also be filed depending on the circumstances of your offense. 

Take your prostitution charges seriously, contact a Lansing sex crimes lawyer 

Were you charged with prostitution or other related offense in Lansing, MI? Speak with the aggressive defensive attorneys of Coontz right away to understand the full implication of your charges and how to defend yourself best. Our legal team has extensive knowledge of Michigan sex crime laws and what defenses are best suited for the circumstances of your case. Contact Coontz Law right away if you face these crimes and avoid serious consequences that could impact your life and freedom.

Also, if you are a victim of human trafficking and are charged with a prostitution crime in Michigan, then you should definitely contact Coontz Law. We have a special passion for helping those who are exploited by others and then punished by the Government for having been exploited. We offer pro bono (i.e., free) Clean Slate expungement applications for human-trafficking victims seeking to get their prostitution convictions set aside. We also may be able to provide special help if you are facing criminal charges as a result of being a victim of human trafficking.