The “Oldest Profession”
Prostitution has many names. Known as the “oldest profession” in the world, prostitutes are also called streetwalkers, escorts, or call-girls. While it is illegal in every state other than Nevada, prostitution used to be completely legal. This particular occupation thrived during the eighteenth century well into the nineteenth. One reason why it was allowed was the fact that there wasn’t a legal definition of the act in most states. While many people condemned the practice, prostitution remained legal for decades. Brothels were found all along the coasts and soon became common in more rural areas.
Soliciting a Prostitute
In most states, it is now illegal to solicit a prostitute or to ask for money for sexual favors. A person who exchanges money or other forms of compensation for sexual services is often called a “John”. Charges can be filed against a person accused of soliciting sex for money. Simply exchanging money or agreeing to the exchange is often enough for the police to make an arrest. The moment that a man or woman agrees to pay for a sexual service is the moment it becomes a crime. The sex act does not have to be committed for either party to be arrested.
Federal Law Regarding Prostitution
The federal government typically allows each state to determine the punishment for prostitution. However, they will protect minors from escorts and will address any trafficking concerns no matter what state the act occurs in. The Mann Act has made it illegal to transport an individual across state lines or from country to country with the intent that the person will engage in any type of illegal sexual activity such as prostitution.
Prostitution and solicitation are both punishable in most states, even for the first offense, by fines and jail time. Repeat offenders will be subject to higher penalties. Prostitution tracking violations at the federal level can bring about high fines and prison sentences up to ten years.
The Laws of Nevada
The only current United States jurisdiction that allows legal prostitution is Nevada. However, only certain areas of the state allow prostitution. It is illegal in the following Nevada counties: Washoe, Douglas, Clark, Pershing, Eureka, and Lincoln. The capital of Nevada, Carson City, also prohibits prostitution. At the moment only eight counties allow prostitution in the form of brothels. Street prostitution, also known as pandering, is still illegal in Nevada.
Third-Parties and Prostitution
Many states consider prostitution a form of disorderly conduct. In some states, the prosecutor only has to prove that the prostitute agreed to provide sexual favors in exchange for some form of compensation, either directly or through a third-party.
Pimping, the act of providing a prostitute to an individual while collecting part of their earnings, is just one behavior that is illegal in almost all states. It is illegal to reside in a house that is being used as a brothel, lease a home for the intent of prostitution, take or purchase a man or woman against their will for prostitution, allow a minor to enter a home used for prostitution, or bring anyone to a home that is being used for prostitution purposes.
Hiring a Professional Lawyer
Being convicted of either solicitation or prostitution cannot only put you in jail, but it can also cause a social stigma that can follow you for years to come. If you have been convicted of solicitation or prostitution, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney who understands the current laws concerning these acts. There are many defenses that your lawyer can put into place that may allow you to take a plea bargain and avoid jail time.