In New York, solicitation is defined under New York Penal Code §230.04 as patronizing any person for prostitution.
In essence, any person who buys sex from another is guilty of patronizing. It does not matter if the exchange takes place, the attempt is enough to face charges. The offense is a class A misdemeanor, meaning a person can be sent to jail for up to one year.
Solicitation becomes more serious when the person hired is less than fifteen years old. According to New York Penal Code §230.05, this upgrades the charge to solicitation in the second degree which is a class E felony.
The most serious solicitation allegation involves the patronizing of a person under the age of eleven. This upgrades the charges to solicitation in the first degree under New York Penal Code §230.06. A conviction here is a class D felony and should be addressed with an Albany solicitation lawyer.
Defenses Allowed Under the Law
New York law specifically provides for an affirmative defense to patronizing charges involving a minor. Under New York Penal Code §230.07, a defendant can argue they had reason to believe that the person they were patronizing was not as young as alleged. As with any affirmative defense, it is the responsibility of the defendant to produce evidence to support their defense. However, this defense will not erase the charge entirely. It may simply reduce the severity of the charge to patronizing in the third degree.
Additionally, the law also states that a defendant cannot argue as a defense. New York Penal Code §230.10 provides that it is no defense to argue that the two parties to the act were the same sex, nor is a defense for a woman to argue that the seller of the sex was male.