In Illinois, it's a crime whenever sexual acts -- such as sexual penetration or the touching of another's sex organs to cause sexual arousal -- are exchanged for anything of value. However, the specific charges brought against defendants are based on their roles as buyer, seller or promoter.
For example, the crime of "prostitution" only applies to the seller "who knowingly performs, offers or agrees to perform" the sex acts in exchange for anything of value (typically cash). Illinois reserves the crimes of "patronizing a prostitute" and "solicitation" for the buyers involved in the crime. It's also noteworthy that Illinois specifically exempts anyone under age 18 from prosecution under these laws.
Illinois also criminalizes the promotion of prostitution which targets those making a business out of the oldest profession. A person is guilty of promoting prostitution by knowingly:
- Advancing prostitution;
- Profiting from prostitution;
- Compelling another to become a prostitute; or
- Arranging or offering situations to allow another to practice prostitution.
Illinois Prostitution Laws: An Overview
For more information on Illinois prostitution laws, see the chart below.
Illinois Statutes Section 5/11-14 (prostitution)
Illinois Statutes Section 5/11-14.1 (solicitation of a sexual act)
Illinois Statutes Section 5/11-14.3 (promoting prostitution)
Illinois Statutes Section 5/11-14.4 (promoting juvenile prostitution)
Illinois Statutes Section 5/11-18 (patronizing a prostitute)
Illinois Statutes Section 5/11-18.1 (patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution)
Prostitution: This is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by less than 1 year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
Solicitation of a Sexual Act: This is a Class A misdemeanor punished as described above. If directed toward a person under age 18 or intellectually disabled, then this is a Class 4 Felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Promoting Prostitution: This is a Class 4 Felony punished as described above. If committed within 1,000 feet of a school, it's a Class 3 Felony punishable by 2-5 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Promoting Juvenile Prostitution: This is a Class 1 Felony punishable by between 4-15 years and up to $25,000 in fines. If committed within 1,000 feet of a school, it's a Class X Felony punishable by between 6-60 years in prison.
Patronizing a Prostitute: This is a Class 4 Felony punishable as described above. If committed within 1,000 feet of a school, it's a Class 3 Felony punishable as described above.
Patronizing a Minor Engaged in Prostitution: This is a Class 3 Felony punishable as described above. If committed within 1,000 feet of a school, it's a Class 2 Felony punishable by between 3-7 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Note that with first offenses, particularly where a defendant has an otherwise good record, a prosecutor may offer "deferred prosecution" which can delay a case subject to certain conditions. If those conditions are met, the charges could be dropped and the case dismissed.
Prostitution defenses can include:
- Age (one who is under age 18 is immune from prosecution for prostitution and solicitation)
- Lack of intent
- Invasion of privacy
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Related Resources for Illinois Prostitution Laws
Get Legal Help With Your Illinois Prostitution Case
Charges related to prostitution could have a long-lasting impact on you and your loved ones, even beyond your criminal case. However, even though you may have been arrested, that doesn't mean that the case against you is strong and, as noted above, you could be eligible for deferred prosecution. Before you make any decisions in your case, you should seek the advice of an expert Illinois criminal defense attorney.