Prostitution is illegal in almost all states. Even in states where it is legal in some forms, there are still significant regulations that apply. A person who violates state prostitution laws may find themselves charged with a crime. In most cases, the charge is a misdemeanor. If you’re accused of prostitution, a lawyer is critical to helping you assert your rights and minimize the charges against you.
Is prostitution illegal?
Yes, prostitution is illegal. In fact, Nevada is the only state in the United States that allows prostitution in any form. However, even in Nevada, legal prostitution is limited. In Nevada, there are only a handful of counties that allow prostitution. In all other counties, it is completely illegal. In some states, being an escort is allowed.
Even in counties in Nevada where prostitution is legal, there are significant controls and restrictions. There are limits on the locations where prostitution can lawfully occur. In addition, in Nevada, it is illegal to encourage or solicit anyone to engage in prostitution. Individuals who violate state prostitution laws may find themselves charged with a crime.
In the other 49 U.S. states, and in Nevada when activities are out of compliance with state law, prostitution is illegal. Prostitution is most often punishable as a misdemeanor offense. A misdemeanor is a criminal charge. The conviction appears on the person’s arrest record indefinitely or until it is expunged.
Prostitution is typically prosecuted under state law
Law enforcement typically uses state law to pursue prostitution violations. Each state passes its own law. Although the laws are often similar, there are significant differences.
If you’re facing a prostitution charge, you need to review the charges in the state where you’re accused of the offense. You need to defend against each element of the offense. Although the differences between states may seem minor, even a slight difference may be what’s necessary to successfully fight against the charges.
Do you need a lawyer if you’re accused of soliciting a prostitute?
Yes, you need a lawyer if you’re accused of soliciting a prostitute. There may be viable defenses, and an experienced attorney can help you pursue them. When you receive a prostitution conviction, the charge may impact your ability to get a job or volunteer with children. There is a certain stigma attached to a prostitution charge, and having the charge on your record can be frustrating and embarrassing for anyone. However, a charge is not the same thing as a conviction. If you’re charged with a crime, you have the right to defend yourself against the allegations. There are multiple ways that you can fight the charges against you.
Constitutional challnges to prostitution charges
One way that an attorney can help you fight a prostitution charge is by examining the legality of the charges against you. Prostitution charges often come from police stings. These stings may not always be legal. United States law and most state laws say that the police can’t entice or entrap anyone to commit a crime. If your charges are the result of an online or in-person sting, the police may be in violation of constitutional law.
In order to defend a prostitution charge on the grounds of constitutional law, you need to raise the defense before trial. Your attorney can assist you with filing a preliminary motion in order to ask the court to throw out the charges against you. The motion that you file in order to ask for dismissal of the charges is specific. For it to succeed, you must comply with drafting, service and notice requirements. An experienced attorney can help you take the necessary steps in order to assert your constitutional rights.
Defending prostitution charges with a plea bargain or deferral
Many states have deferral laws that may assist you if you’re facing a charge of prostitution. The state prosecution officials may allow you to plead guilty to a lesser charge. They may also allow you to plead guilty with the understanding that the case can become a non-public record after a period of probation. Deferral programs are designed as a kind of grace period for prostitution offenders.
Deferral programs and plea bargains are highly specific to the state and the local jurisdiction. Your attorney knows what may be available in your location. They can help you determine how to pursue a program if you qualify. Ultimately, your attorney helps you resolve the charges against you in the best possible way.