iStock_000011600190_LargeThe Uniform Code of Military Justice, by which all U.S. servicemen and women are required to abide, has undergone significant changes in recent years. Among the most notable changes are the updates to the military stance on prostitution and sexual activities in general.

Before 2005, soliciting a prostitute was not formally addressed in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Former president George W. Bush added a provision about solicitation of prostitutes in 2005, which can now be found in Article 138-34 of the UCMJ. This addition to the Uniform Code of Military Justice was enacted after the subject of military servicemen and prostitution was raised extensively in the media, calling attention to the fact that there was no formal punishment for hiring prostitutes.

Under the “Pandering and Prostitution” section, there are four provisions that must be true in order to be found guilty of patronizing a prostitute:

  • The accused had sexual intercourse with another person (not the accused’s spouse)
  • The accused compelled, induced, enticed, or procured such person to engage in an act of sexual intercourse in exchange for money or other compensation
  • The act was wrongful
  • The conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces

The maximum punishment for patronizing a prostitute is dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for up to one year. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to pursue a reduced charge or an outright case dismissal. There are also diversion programs available, both through the military and through San Diego County, that can minimize your punishment. A program like the Prostitution Impact Panel offers the chance for a dismissal or charge reduction in exchange for attending a class, paying a fee, and participating in mandatory HIV/AIDS counseling. Certain branches of the military also offer their own diversion programs for prostitution-related offenses.

If you have been accused of soliciting or patronizing a prostitute as a member of the military, it is extremely important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. There has been a great deal of attention on the issue of sexual conduct in the military of late, and as such, it is important to prepare your defense as soon as possible. These accusations can have a serious, detrimental effect on your military career, and a skilled attorney like Peter Blair is often necessary to combat these charges before the court martial. Call (619) 357-3977 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.