Jul 12

Sometimes referred to as the world’s oldest profession, the practice of prostitution has a long-standing place in human history. Despite these historical roots, Illinois law prohibits the exchange of sexual acts for money or other things of value. If a person receives something of value in exchange for performing sexual penetration or other acts, then he or she is guilty of prostitution and subject to criminal penalties under Illinois law. 

What is the Definition of Sexual Penetration in Illinois?

720 ILCS 5/11-0.1 details the meaning of sexual penetration under Illinois law. This term refers to any contact or intrusion between:

  • A person’s sexual organs or anus; and
  • A physical object; or
  • Another person’s sexual organs or anus. 

Illinois law does not require evidence of ejaculation to prove that sexual penetration occurred. Examples of sexual penetration under Section 11-0.1, include but are not limited to:

  • Anal penetration;
  • Cunnilingus; and
  • Fellatio.

What is the Definition of Prostitution in Illinois?

720 ILCS 5/11-14 provides the Illinois definition of prostitution. Under this section, prostitution occurs whenever a person receives money, or anything else of value, in exchange for performing sexual acts.

In this context, sexual acts include:

  • Sexual penetration, as defined in the previous section; and
  • Touching or fondling a person’s sexual organs.

If the purpose of the act involved sexual arousal or gratification — and there was an exchange of money or other valuable consideration — then it qualifies as prostitution under Section 11-14. 

What are the Penalties for Prostitution in Illinois?

Section 11-14 also outlines the Illinois penalties for prostitution. Under Illinois law, this offense is typically a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, an offender can expect the penalties below:

  • Sentence Range — Confinement for a maximum of 364 days;
  • Criminal Fine — Traditionally capped at $2,500; and
  • Conditional Discharge — Probationary period for up to 24 months.

Are there Exceptions to Illinois Prostitution Laws?

There are several exceptions to Illinois prostitution laws within Section 11-14. First, there is an affirmative defense to prostitution for victims of sex trafficking and other forms of involuntary servitude. If these victims can show that they were forced to perform prostitution against their will, then it does not qualify as a crime in Illinois. 

Second, minor children under the age of 18 are immune from criminal prosecution for prostitution. A suspected prostitute under 18 years old is subject to temporary protective custody instead of criminal confinement or fines. 

Under the Juvenile Court Act, a law enforcement officer who detains an underage prostitute must immediately file a report with the Department of Children and Family Services State Central Register. Within 24 hours thereafter, the state initiates a child abuse investigation, in accordance with the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or by completing an online form.

(image courtesy of Lucas Favre)