Today, you can order practically anything from the comfort of your home. From books and electronics, to medicine and groceries, seemingly everything is a click away.

Even human companionship.

Is that companionship legal? The short answer is that it depends on what kind of companionship you’re looking for.

Is Paid Companionship Legal in Louisville?

If you merely need someone to accompany you to an event, talk with, or have them look after a loved one, the use of an escort is perfectly legal. Of course, the escort must be licensed or work for an escort service that is officially licensed by Jefferson County.

The second you or the escort offers sex for money is the second you’ve crossed the line into prostitution, which is a sex crime.

You don’t have to actually engage in a sexual act for the charge to stick. In fact, if you expose certain parts of your body or touch yourself in a sexual way in front of someone else, sex crime charges are possible.

In late November, police arrested and charged the owner of a Louisville spa with using her business as a front for an illegal prostitution service. While the advertised services of “rest and relaxation” were legal, things went south when undercover police were offered sexual favors in exchange for cash.

Just a few years ago, a former Louisville Metro police officer faced charges of soliciting prostitution after paying multiple escorts for sex on numerous occasions.

What Are the Penalties for Prostitution in Louisville?

Because it’s a crime in Kentucky to buy or sell sex, the person providing the service and the customer can both face charges.

Further, if your property is used as a site for prostitution, you can also face charges if you did nothing to prevent it. You could face charges even if you had no prior knowledge of it happening on your property.

Although it may be a misdemeanor or a felony, conviction of a sex crime is serious business.

In addition to 90 days in jail, you could be looking at hundreds of dollars in fines.

Along with a sex crime conviction comes a stigma that can be incredibly difficult to overcome.

You’ll have to register on the sex offender registry list, which is searchable and viewable by the public. Although each case will differ, you’ll most likely be required to remain registered on the list for 20 years.

Being a registered sex offender can inhibit your travel and greatly affects your ability to earn a living.

What Are Some Effective Defenses to Prostitution Charges?

Even though the prostitution laws of Kentucky are fairly straight forward, there are effective defense strategies to the charges.

Remember, Kentucky law states that anyone who engages, agrees or offers to engage in sex acts with someone else for a fee is considered to be committing prostitution.

However, there are defense strategies that can poke holes in the state’s ability to make the charges stick.

  • There was no agreement for sex. In many cases, a police officer will misunderstand what they are seeing. For example, police may mistake your conversation with a known prostitute to be an agreement for sex, when in actuality you were simply lost in the neighborhood.
  • There was no intent for sex. Just because you gave money or some other object to someone who is a prostitute doesn’t necessarily mean your intent was for a sex act. Also, simply nodding or waving to someone on a street corner is not enough to prove you’re guilt of prostitution.
  • No money changed hands. The exchange of money is a key component of a prostitution charge. Even if you have sexual relations with a known prostitute, no crime has occurred if money was not involved.
  • False allegations. Because the mere accusation of a sex crime can be devastating to someone’s reputation, it’s not unusual for a false claim to be made as a means of vengeance. If your defense attorney can prove the accuser has issues with you, your charges could be dismissed altogether.
  • Entrapment. There are many instances of police misconduct. Using this defense, your attorney will argue that under normal circumstances without police involvement, you would not have committed the offense.

A strong and aggressive defense is your best path towards avoiding the collateral consequences and shame that come with a sex crime conviction.

As soon as you’ve been made aware of the charges against you, your first step should be to call a qualified criminal defense attorney with a successful record of defending against such serious charges.

There’s simply too much at stake.