The Appellate Group

State v. Arguelles

State v. Arguelles, 2020 UT App 112 (Mortensen, J.)


A detective went undercover and solicited sex from the defendant. Subsequently, the State charged the defendant with a class A misdemeanor for sexual solicitation. The defendant moved to dismiss the case, arguing that she was entitled to be prosecuted only for a class B misdemeanor prostitution offense under the Shondel doctrine. The district court denied that motion. On interlocutory appeal, the Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • Under the first step of the Shondel doctrine, courts must compare the two statutes and determine if, at the time of the charged offense, the statutes were wholly duplicative as to the facts and elements of the crime. Here, class A misdemeanor sexual solicitation and class B misdemeanor prostitution were wholly duplicative of each other. Both offenses required that an individual (1) offer or agree to (2) participate in any sexual activity (3) with another individual (4) for a fee or the functional equivalent of a fee.
  • Under the second step of the Shondel doctrine, courts must determine if the two statutes have identical effective dates. At the time the defendant was charged, the offenses had different effective dates. Because the sexual solicitation statute was the later-enacted provision at the time of the charged offense, it is deemed to have impliedly repeated the earlier prostitution provision. Thus, there is no Shondel issue in this case at this time.

Read the full court opinion