It’s illegal in Iowa to sell your services as a partner in a sex act. Prostitution in Iowa is an aggravated misdemeanor. If the State accuses you of a crime, you need an Iowa prostitution lawyer.
“Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.”
Justice Kennedy, Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) (quoting Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 850 (1992)).
Iowa Prostitution Lawyer
At Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, we defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things.
An Iowa prostitution lawyer might be able to help you avoid conviction. If a judge or jury acquits you, then you could save thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges. Similarly, if a judge or prosecutor dismisses the charges, you could go home to your family. Going home is better than going to jail.
Get out of trouble and get back to life. Call Katherine Sears at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC. You can set up a free consultation now at (515) 491 6128. A receptionist is available 24/7 to take your call.
The criminal defense lawyers at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, are based in Des Moines and Ankeny. They represent defendants throughout Polk County and the rest of Iowa.
What is Prostitution?
According to Iowa Code 725.1, prostitution is selling your services as a partner in a sex act. Offering to sell your services as a sex partner is also prostitution.
What is a sex act?
- Penetration of the penis into the vagina or anus.
- Contact between the mouth and genitalia or by contact between the genitalia of one person and the genitalia or anus of another person.
- Contact between the finger or hand of one person and the genitalia or anus of another person, except in the course of examination or treatment by a person licensed pursuant to chapter 148, 148C, 151, or 152.4.
- Ejaculation onto the person of another.
- By use of artificial sexual organs or substitutes therefor in contact with the genitalia or anus.
Defenses to Prostitution
Some possible prostitution defenses include:
Due Process / Right to Privacy
Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In our tradition the State is not omnipresent in the home. And there are other spheres of our lives and existence, outside the home, where the State should not be a dominant presence. Freedom extends beyond spatial bounds. Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct.
Justice Kennedy, Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 562 (2003).
Did you know that “homosexual conduct” used to be illegal in Texas?
In 2003, in the US Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court found that the Due Process clause included a “fundamental right” to privacy. The Court “counsel[ed] against attempts by the State, or a court, to define the meaning of the relationship or to set its boundaries absent injury to a person or abuse of an institution the law protects.”
While the Lawrence court explicitly acknowledged that Lawrence did “not involve public conduct or prostitution,” there is no apparent reason why the Lawrence Court’s reasoning would not extend to embrace prostitution. As Justice Scalia noticed, white-knuckling some pearls, the Lawrence decision represented “a massive disruption of the current social order” :
“State laws against [ . . . ] prostitution [ . . . ] are called into question by today’s [Lawrence] decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding.”
Justice Scalia, Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 590 (2003).
In Lawrence, Justice O’Connor declined to join in the majority opinion but nonetheless stated that she felt Texas’s sodomy law was an equal protection violation. As she noted, “some objectives, such as ‘a bare … desire to harm a politically unpopular group,’ are not legitimate state interests.” Lawrence at 580 (quoting U. S. Dep’t of Agric. v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528, 534 (1973)).
The Supreme Court has found it unconstitutional to discriminate against hippies (U. S. Dep’t of Agric. v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528 (1973)), to prohibit distributing contraceptives to unmarried people (Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972), and to require a home for mentally disabled persons to obtain a special use permit that wasn’t required of other residences, such as frat houses and apartments (City of Cleburne, Tex. v. Cleburne Living Ctr., 473 U.S. 432 (1985)).
All of these groups — hippies, sexually-active unmarried people, mentally disabled people, and prostitutes — are groups that the “mainstream” loves to revile. Iowa’s prostitution law arises from a bare desire to harm a politically unpopular group — prostitutes (and their clients.)
“Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate governmental interest under the Equal Protection Clause because legal classifications must not be ‘drawn for the purpose of disadvantaging the group burdened by the law.’ ” Lawrence at 583 (quoting Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996)).
Iowa’s gross criminalization of prostitution is directed at harming a politically unpopular group. If Iowa courts are willing to apply the “rational basis with bite” scrutiny that equal protection provisions demand, there’s reason to hope that Iowa’s unjust prostitution prohibition might finally end.
I can’t make any promises about outcomes, but if you’d like to fight your prostitution charges on all available constitutional law grounds, it’s an issue I’d be happy to argue at some length.
Sex between competent, consenting adults isn’t illegal. Why should payment change that?
To the extent that predicating consent on compensation is expressive conduct constituting political speech, I think there’s an argument to be made that prohibiting prostitution infringes on First Amendment safeguards, at least in some situations.
Can they prove it was you?
Were you somewhere else? If you were testifying in front of Congress at the time of the alleged offense, your prostitution lawyer will tell the jury about your alibi.
Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment, with some specific and well-delineated exceptions, guards you from warrantless searches and seizures.
Iowa Penalties for Prostitution
Prostitution is an aggravated misdemeanor. That means that Iowa’s legislators, in their infinite and worldly wisdom, determined that your decision to condition consent on financial gratification means you’re more dangerous than a drunk driver. (First offense drunk driving is a serious misdemeanor, which is a smaller offense than an aggravated misdemeanor is.)
If you plead guilty to prostitution, a judge could sentence you to up to two years in prison. You will pay fines of $855 – $8,540 (plus surcharges.)
Iowa charges related to prostitution
Finding clients for prostitutes, taking prostitutes’ earnings, or furnishing a place to be used for prostitution is a class D felony. If the prostitute involved is under 18, pimping is a class C felony. Iowa Code 725.2.
Persuading someone to become a prostitute or to return to prostitution is a class D felony. So is keeping, maintaining, or profiting from a place for prostitution. Iowa Code 725.3.
If the person is underage, pandering is a class C felony.
Rental or Sale of Hardcore Pornography
…I know, right? The first time you knowingly rent, sell, or offer to rent or sell “hard-core pornography,” it’s an aggravated misdemeanor. Second or subsequent violations are class D felonies. Iowa Code 728.4.
There’s a lot to unpack with this code section. Very succinctly, though, the First Amendment covers most “pornographic” material. I’d argue that we’re living in a time where the majority of “pornographic works,” when evaluated “as a whole,” have serious political or artistic value or are otherwise within the scope of First Amendment jurisprudence.
Des Moines Prostitution Lawyer
Call an Iowa prostitution defense attorney when you’re facing charges in the city of Des Moines Iowa or near Iowa State University.
A Des Moines prostitute lawyer can help ensure that your rights are respected when you’re accused of an offense in the greater Des Moines area.
This blog post is for informational purposes only. Don’t rely on it as legal advice. It may be out of date. It may not apply to your situation. Reading this site doesn’t make me your lawyer.
Consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. If you want to talk to us about your Iowa drug possessiot case, please contact us at (515) 491 6128. We’ll set up a time to talk.
What will happen if I’m charged?
When someone alleges that you committed intimidation, law enforcement will investigate. Then, if a judge finds probable cause, you could go to jail. Once in jail, you might be let out on bond. Pretrial release might let you out. You might not be let out at all.
Instead of sending you to jail, the judge might give you papers. Those papers will tell you when your court date is. After your arrest. police will read you your rights. Then, they will give you time to call an intimidation attorney or a law firm.
At an initial appearance, you will see a judge. The judge might schedule a preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing, you or your lawyer will ask questions. One or more witnesses will be under oath. After the questions, the judge will decide whether probable cause exists.
Your attorney might suggest waiving the preliminary hearing. Before deciding, consult your lawyer. Alternatively, the prosecutor might file the “trial information” before the preliminary hearing. If so, there won’t be a preliminary hearing.
Your attorney tell you about your next court date. After your preliminary hearing happens (or after you receive the trial information,) you will have an arraignment.
Police will give reports to the county attorney’s office. Then, the county attorney’s office will review the information. After the prosecutor reads the reports, they will decide what offenses to charge you with. For instance, a prosecutor might charge you with a misdemeanor. Alternatively, they could accuse you of a felony.
Your intimidation with a dangerous weapon lawyer will tell you what the government accused you of. Moreover, they will explain your rights. You also need to know how this could affect your criminal record. In short, they will tell you about the worst case scenario. A criminal lawyer will tell you more about the fines, terms of incarceration, and collateral consequences that might apply.
Your law firm will give you legal advice. Specifically, they will explain the pros and cons of taking your case to trial. After all, only you can decide whether or not to accept a plea offer.
Finally, if a jury convicts you, you can probably appeal. The court of appeals hears appellate arguments. So does the Iowa Supreme Court. Because they review legal issues, they might find a constitutional problem. That means that the law can be illegal. Alternatively, the district court might have treated a legal law illegally. However, the right to appeal does not apply to simple misdemeanors. Ask your criminal defense attorney for more information.
What should I know about lawyers generally?
Attorneys completed their bachelor’s or 4-year degrees. Thereafter, they went to law school. One example is Drake University Law School. That school is in Des Moines. Afterward, Iowa lawyers take the bar exam. Thereafter, a committee evaluates their character and fitness. The Iowa State Bar admits Iowa lawyers. The Iowa bar association regulates the legal profession.
Some lawyers and law firms do general practice. In light of that, they accept all kind of representation. In contrast, some lawyers specialize in particular areas of law. For example, a lawyer might do only civil practice. When a lawyer does civil work, they might handle divorces. Additionally, the Iowa lawyer might represent small claims cases. Further, a civil practice lawyer could do personal injury work. In another case, the lawyer might focus on family law or child custody.
Alternatively, some lawyers practice only criminal defense. Some lawyers get even more particular. For instance, a lawyer might take only domestic violence defense. Another lawyer might focus on sex crime, sexual abuse, operating while intoxicated, child endangerment, child abuse, indecent exposure, theft, possession of controlled substances, sex crimes, marijuana, DUI defense, controlled substance offenses, arson, criminal mischief, vehicular homicide, drug offenses, traffic violations, violent crime or drunk driving.
Many Iowa lawyers practice only in Iowa courts. The Iowa Code defines all Iowa crimes. The Iowa rules of criminal procedure control what happens in Iowa criminal justice cases.
Federal court is different. If you are facing federal charges for a federal criminal offense, make sure to let your Iowa lawyer know. Because Iowa federal courts are not state law courts in Iowa, your lawyer might refer you elsewhere. Federal prosecutors and federal judges use different procedural rules. Federal crimes are subject to federal sentencing.
What offenses exist in Iowa criminal law?
Criminal law offenses are misdemeanors or felonies. Class A felonies exist, but most people facing felony charges are facing a class B felony, a class C felony, or a class D felony. If you have questions about Iowa drug offenses, ask a lawyer.
What can an Iowa intimidation with a dangerous weapon lawyer do for me?
When accused, contact an attorney or law firm. Make sure to call one that works with Iowa criminal law.
If there’s a warrant out for your arrest, your Iowa unlawful assembly attorney can help. In that case, you will coordinate with law enforcement. Self-surrender won’t be as embarrassing as public arrest would be.
Your Iowa criminal lawyer will stay in touch with the county attorney’s office. That means they will let the prosecutor know whether you choose to exercise or waive your right to speedy trial. Further, counsel can provide some guidance. For example, you need to know whether it’s a good idea to consider a plea agreement or to go to trial. They will talk to you about whether a judge or jury is likely to find a particular witness credible.
Your criminal lawyer will let you know what sort of jail time you might be facing if convicted. Moreover, they can explain how conviction impacts criminal history. Finally, they can discuss whether or not the prosecutor might dismiss your charges.
Finally, there is a Victim Services Support Program available through the Iowa attorney general’s office.