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This guide is for women who have been arrested for prostitution in Chicago or anywhere else in Cook County. The information comes from me, Chris Shepherd, a Chicago prostitution lawyer since 2005, helping women through the same thing you are now facing. 

The guide on this page is a no-fluff primer on making it through a prostitution arrest with minimal impact to your record. These cases can be managed; if properly handled, you can go on with your life and put this behind you.

What Basics Should I Know About Chicago Prostitution Defense?

Prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 365 days in jail. Felony prostitution for repeat offenders has been eliminated in Illinois.

Prostitution charges require an agreement or understanding that sex is being exchanged for something of value, usually money. Being in a sexual relationship where you happen to receive financial assistance is notprostitution. Selling your time and companionship as an escort is not prostitution. You have a commodity, be it your physical beauty, charm or gift for conversation, and are legally capitalizing on it in a free market economy.

But most prostitution arrests don't involve these grey areas. As a Chicago prostitution attorney, most of the cases I see involve reckless advertisement online. Sites such as, and are target rich hunting grounds for law enforcement. Posts that explicitly market sex for cash attract unwanted attention and provide police with the evidence they need to prosecute you. Using code words like “roses” instead of dollars, and “donation” instead of payment, do not help at all.

What Are My Settlement Options?

You want the fastest, least expensive option that will keep your record clean, maintain your privacy and allow you to live your life without this haunting you down the road. Is there such an option?

Yes. There are settlement options in Chicago and throughout Cook County that can get prostitution charges dismissed without you having to plead guilty or suffer a conviction. I have personally obtained such arrangements through negotiations with prosecutors who understand that education, not punishment, is the best way to address a prostitution arrest.

Can I get you the same deal? It depends on several factors:

  • What courthouse are you assigned to and what judge presides in your courtroom? What prosecutor is on duty that day?
  • How is your criminal history like? Have you ever been arrested before?
  • What are the circumstances of the arrest? Did you resist arrest or were you nasty with arresting officers?
  • How strong is the evidence against you? Did you use your actual picture in your post? What statements did you make to police? Is there an undercover officer involved?
For more on this strategy, read my guide on Your Settlement Options.

How Do I Beat a Chicago Prostitution Case?

If settlement is not an option for you, can you fight and beat your case?

In general, this is an area of law rich with potential winning defenses. In all cases the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there was an agreement to perform a sexual act in exchange for something of value. This is not always easy, especially when you consider the nuance and grey areas in relationships between men and women or same-sex partners.

For just a few examples of these wining defenses to prostitution cases, check out my “Soliciting a Prostitute” page. The defenses in prostitution and soliciting a prostitute case are often very similar.

Call to Discuss Your Options

You've educated yourself on the basics and that's a good first step. But, the only way to get answers tailored to your unique case is to have a conversation with an expert. Let's talk about your case and discuss your options, with an emphasis on the quickest and least expensive way to reach your goals. 

I offer a free and confidential 15-minute consultation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling me at 312.296.4112 or contacting me online.

Serving clients throughout the Chicago metropolitan area including those in the following localities:

Cook County including Chicago, Arlington Heights, Cicero, Evanston, Palatine, Schaumburg, Skokie, and Tinley Park; DuPage County including Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, and Wheaton; Kane County including Aurora, Elgin, and Hoffman Estates; Kendall County including Yorkville and Oswego; Lake County including Buffalo Grove and Waukegan; and Will County including Bolingbrook and Joliet.