The following blog is excerpted from a transcription of an interview with attorney Seth Okin in which he discusses prostitution charges in Maryland.
Seth Okin: Very public. The Maryland Judiciary Case Search is public record. All a person has to do is log in, check a little box, and type in any name that they want. You can even look yourself up if you want to get a good background. I can look myself up and get a good background of what’s going on for me, or anyone else could look me up. You could look up anyone that you want. People use that regularly for employment purposes because they always want to see who they are hiring and what is going on with their history. A lot of my clients worry about their staff finding out that they were charged with something. It will always be there any time anyone looks you up.
Seth Okin: Yeah, it’s on there. I can even look up my last traffic citation. It’s still there. I don’t know why I haven’t expunged it; I just haven’t gotten around to it. My case was thrown out but I can still go back in to see it there and I really need to expunge it. It is there for all the world to see. If someone is fortunate enough to get a disposition of probation before judgment, that would be expungeable. If they get an acquittal, it’s immediately expungeable. If it’s part of a status, then it can be expunged as soon as the status is completed or the statute of limitations runs, so for probation before judgment that would be three years.
Seth Okin: The only confidentiality that you get involves your conversations with your attorney. Other than that, when you go to court you are in a public forum where anyone and everyone could come in off the street to sit down, watch, and listen. They don’t have to be doing business at the court that day, they could simply be an observer of lawsuits and observe the court process. People who are trying to get their feet wet as private defense attorneys will sometimes come in to sit there and see what they can learn. Anybody can watch.
Seth Okin: Some common scenarios in which prostitution or solicitation charges arise is with Craigslist and other types of online ads. Then the person goes to meet someone, for example at a seedy hotel. These cases come up throughout Baltimore City and County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County. Typically you would be suspicious if you were asked to go to this particular hotel at this particular location, but people go anyway. Usually, that is a situation where either vice is watching or they have someone set up inside. Once you go in the room and discuss what’s going on, what you want, and talk about money or exchange money, the door gets busted open and a dozen cops run in there to arrest you on the spot. If the person is offering an amount of money that you would consider a little bit cheap for a sexual act, it is probably because you are about to get into trouble. It’s really not worth it. If the location seems odd or if the dollar amount is very low, chances are you are being set up.
Seth Okin is an aggressive criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged in Maryland. Call his Maryland law office to schedule a free consultation at (410) 782-0742.