Prostitution & Solicitation
Las Vegas Prostitution Charges Defense Lawyers
Is prostitution legal in Nevada? In most cases, no. However, Nevada does allow prostitution in certain counties, but with strict regulations. Otherwise, according to Nevada’s prostitution and solicitation laws, individuals convicted of illegal prostitution or pandering face tough criminal penalties.
While prostitution is allowed in state-licensed brothels (within select Nevada counties), engaging in prostitution or solicitation in places like Las Vegas can lead to a criminal record, fines, potential jail time, and more. Unfortunately, many tourists unknowingly get caught up in Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department prostitution stings (i.e., soliciting sex services from an undercover officer).
With that in mind, if you’ve been arrested for breaking Nevada’s prostitution and solicitation laws while in Las Vegas, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At The Vegas Lawyers (“TVL”), we understand what’s at risk and can help you navigate the nightmare of prostitution and solicitation charges. Call us today at (702) 707-7000 for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced prostitution and solicitation charges defense lawyer.
What Is The Difference Between Prostitution And Solicitation?
Prostitution is the crime of exchanging sexual acts for money or something of value. It’s important to note, the sexual act does not necessarily have to be intercourse. Oral sex in exchange for money would constitute an act of prostitution. Prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas, the Strip and Clark County.
Solicitation is a type of prostitution crime that focuses on the conduct of the person paying for the sexual act. In other words, a tourist paying for sex could be charged with solicitation rather than prostitution. Whereas the person offering the sexual act would be charged with prostitution.
Generally, prostitution in a licensed brothel is legal (with restrictions) in specific counties within Nevada.
Where Is Prostitution Legal In Nevada?
Currently, regulated prostitution is legal in the following counties in Nevada:
- Nye County
- Esmeralda County
- Storey County
- Churchill County
- Elko County (only in specific areas)
- Humbolt County (only in specific areas)
- Lander County
- Mineral County
- White Pine County (restricted to Ely)
- Lyon County (restricted to Mound House)
It’s essential to note that the counties listed above only allow regulated prostitution within a licensed brothel. Any acts of prostitution or solicitation committed outside of a brothel are a violation of Nevada’s prostitution and solicitation laws. That includes massage facilities offering sex services (i.e., “happy ending”), advertising prostitution services on the street, and illegal escort services.
Is Prostitution Legal In Las Vegas?
No, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas. However, individuals can travel a few hours outside Las Vegas to Nye County (Pahrump) to engage in regulated prostitution activities.
If you’re a tourist staying at a resort on the Strip and you see advertisements for escort services or you get chatted up by what might seem like an overly friendly local, keep in mind that paying for a sexual act in Las Vegas is a crime. The Las Vegas police routinely arrests both tourists and locals for prostitution related charges.
Understanding the difference between a prostitution crime in Nevada and legal acts of prostitution can be challenging, especially for tourists. Under Nev. Rev. Stat. § 201.295, engaging in sexual intercourse, sexual touching for purposes of arousal, or oral-genital contact in exchange for a fee (i.e., money, monetary consideration, drugs, or anything of value) is considered prostitution.
Further, as noted earlier, solicitation of prostitution in Nevada involves offering sex services for money or agreeing to engage in prostitution. An individual can be charged with solicitation by merely attempting to participate in unlawful prostitution.
Prostitution vs. sex for money, what’s the difference? Prostitution includes the act of exchanging sex for money. However, it also encompasses much more. Generally, any act of exchanging something of value for sexual gratification (including touching, oral sex, and any other form of penetrative sex) is considered prostitution.
State legislatures intentionally leave the definition of prostitution v. sex for money very broad so that prosecutors can apply charges based on the overall circumstances of each case. Unfortunately, many unsuspecting individuals don’t understand the gravity of prostitution crimes in Nevada. As a result, they face criminal charges, fines, and possible jail time when apprehended by the police.
Other than regulated acts of prostitution allowed under Nevada brothel laws, houses of prostitution in Nevada must adhere to additional laws and regulations such as the following:
- Employees engaging in prostitution must be over 18 years old, regularly submit to STD testing, and work under their own free will.
- Licensed houses of prostitution must not be within 1200 feet of a school or place of worship (i.e., Church, Mosque, Synagogue, etc.).
- Advertisement must be in accordance with local and state laws.
- All prostitutes must require the use of condoms.
Otherwise known as “pimping,” pandering crimes involve the act of “hiring” someone to be a prostitute and setting up arrangements for prostitutes to meet individuals (“johns”) in search of sex for money.
Generally, receiving tips, commission, or any other form of payment for arranging prostitution related transactions is unlawful in Nevada. If you’ve been charged with a pandering crime in Nevada, it’s in your best interest to consult with a pandering lawyer as soon as possible.
Prostitution v. escort services, is there any difference? According to the law, there’s a big difference. Generally, an escort is only allowed to “accompany” another individual in a private or public setting – without the involvement of sexual acts. If an escort breaches this law and engages in prostitution in Las Vegas, he or she risks criminal charges and the forfeiture of their escort license. The same goes for exotic dancers. They’re prohibited from engaging in acts of prostitution under any circumstances.
Of course, Las Vegas being “sin city,” there are certainly escorts and strippers that will accept money for sexual acts. However, understand that if you choose to engage in this type of activity, you’re participating in a crime.
What Are the Possible Penalties for Prostitution and Solicitation?
Both the penalties for prostitution and the penalties for solicitation are nearly identical.
- Misdemeanor penalties for prostitution and solicitation – Up to 6-months jails time and/or possible fines up to $1K per infraction.
- Felony penalties for solicitation – Soliciting sex services from a minor is a category E felony offense that can lead to up to 4-years in prison and potential fines not exceeding $5K.
- Second-Offense Felony Solicitation – A second-time felony solicitation conviction is a category D felony, carrying potential penalties of 1 – 4 years imprisonment and fines up to $5K.
- Third or More Felony Solicitation – A third-time (or more) felony solicitation conviction is a category C felony carrying possible penalties of 1 – 5 years imprisonment and up to $10K in fines. Further, convicted individuals don’t qualify for probation or suspended sentences.
Depending on the circumstances, fighting a prostitution charge isn’t an easy task. However, an experienced lawyer for prostitution can drastically increase the chances of dismissed or significantly decreased charges.
The prosecution is more likely to dismiss 1st-time prostitution charges if the defendant adheres to certain terms like completing 25 hours of community service, paying fines up to $250, attending an AIDS awareness class, and staying out of legal trouble until their case is closed.
However, if the prosecution is not open to dismissing charges, a savvy attorney for prostitution charges can potentially negotiate decreased charges (i.e., trespassing or disorderly conduct). Contact TVL today to speak with a proven lawyer for prostitution charges in Nevada.
Prostitution and solicitation charges don’t always equate to a conviction. That’s especially true if you work with an experienced attorney. Generally, a few of the most common prostitution defenses include but are not limited to entrapment, illegal police search, and lack of overtness. Learn more about each below.
- Lack of Overtness – Generally, if the defendant’s intentions to commit an act of unlawful prostitution or solicitation are unclear, it can be challenging for the prosecution to prove a case. If the defendant’s actions, words, etc., have a lack of overtness, it’s not considered a criminal act. For example, Lucky meets a local at the bar in a casino on the Strip and offers to buy her a drink believing this will help facilitate sex. Is this a crime? No. It’s impossible for the prosecution to prove that Lucky intended to commit a crime. On the other hand, if Lucky handed the local a casino chip and requested a sexual act in exchange, that would be an easier case to prove.
- Entrapment – Suppose a law enforcement agent tricks an individual into engaging in illegal prostitution when they were not otherwise inclined to do so. In that case, an attorney can argue that the police illegally entrapped the defendant into breaking the law.
- Illegal Police Search – The 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants all citizens protection from illegal police search and seizure. That means that illegally obtained evidence of prostitution or solicitation is not admissible in court – which will likely lead to dismissed or decreased charges.
Yes. Arrests and convictions for prostitution and solicitation will show up on a background check. However, if the case is dismissed, defendants can immediately petition for a criminal prostitution record seal. On the other hand, individuals convicted of prostitution must wait a specific amount of time (depending on the charges) to seek prostitution record sealing.
Depending on the details of the case, individuals suspected of prostitution or solicitation in Nevada may face more charges including, but not limited to open and gross lewdness, battery, sexual assault, and trick-rolling. Take a look at a brief definition of each below.
- Open and Gross Lewdness – Having sex or committing sexual acts in a public place (NRS 201.210). Penalties for 1st-time offenders can include jail time (up to 1-year), possible fines up to $2k, and registration as a sex offender.
- Battery – When an encounter with a prostitute becomes violent (See Battery -NRS 2–.481), the offender may also face misdemeanor or felony battery charges (depending on the severity of the crime).
- Sexual Assault / Rape – Defendants charged with raping (NRS 200.366) a prostitute face extensive prison time (up to life) and registration as a sex offender in Nevada.
- Trick-Rolling – Suppose a prostitute steals a “John’s” wallet or valuables. In that case, they may be charged with robbery (NRS 200.386), if force was involved, or larceny (NRS 205.270). A conviction can lead to extensive fines and prison time.
- Pandering and Sex Trafficking (NRS 201.300) – An individual who “induces” another to engage in prostitution or become a prostitute or enter a place where prostitution is practiced, encouraged, or allowed is guilty of pandering in Nevada – which is a category C felony. This law is mainly aimed at sex traffickers and pimps. It typically does not apply to “customers.” Additionally, a person is guilty of sex trafficking in Nevada if they engage in the following acts:
- Persuading, recruiting, causing, providing, etc., a child to engage in prostitution or enter a place where prostitution is practiced, encouraged, or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct in Nevada.
- Causing, recruiting, persuading, etc., any person (by any means) to engage in prostitution or enter a place where prostitution is practiced while knowing that threats, violence, force, etc., will be used that forces the victim to comply.
- Using threats, intimidation, force, etc. (while in a position of authority or having legal charge) to compel a person to engage in prostitution in Nevada.
- It’s essential to know that consent of a victim to either of the crimes listed above is not a viable defense to pandering or sex trafficking charges in Nevada.
- Living From The Earnings Of A Prostitute (“Pimping”) – Anyone who consciously accepts, receives, or appropriates any resource of value (without consideration) from a prostitute is guilty of living from the earnings of a prostitute in violation of NRS 201.320. Individuals who violate this statute without using force or threats of physical force face a category C felony. However, if the offender uses force or threats of force, they face a category B felony.
- Engaging In Prostitution Or Solicitation For Prostitution (NRS 201.354) – It’s illegal for anyone to engage in prostitution other than inside a licensed house of prostitution. However, solicitation is strictly prohibited regardless of where it occurs. That includes instances where an undercover peace officer or someone assisting a peace officer poses as a child to lure potential offenders. Generally, prostitution is a misdemeanor crime. It can lead to fines and potential jail time after repeated offenses. However, Nevada treats customers engaging in acts of unlawful prostitution or solicitation a bit differently. That’s especially true if the customer is caught soliciting a child for prostitution. In that case, they face a felony conviction, prison time, heavy fines, and lifetime registry on the Nevada Sex Offenders List. It’s important to note that if the prosecution receives credible evidence that the individual charged with prostitution is a victim of sex trafficking, they are more inclined to drop the charges.
- Engaging In Prostitution Or Solicitation After A Positive HIV Test (NRS 201.358) – Anyone who tests positive for “HIV” (via a test approved by the State Board of Health) while working as a prostitute (legally or illegally) can be charged with a category B felony. The minimum prison sentence for category B felonies in Nevada is two years. Furthermore, convicted offenders face fines up to $10,000.
- Placing A Person In House Of Prostitution (NRS 201.360) – This crime focuses on licensed and unlicensed prostitution houses in Nevada. It explicitly prohibits placing a person in the custody of a third person with the intent that the third person engages in prostitution or compels the victim to live with them or someone else while engaging in prostitution. It also criminalizes offering or receiving gifts, rewards, or other resources to place a person anywhere with the purpose of engaging in prostitution and accepting earning from or living with a prostitute. Finally, enticing or recruiting a person in any way to become enslaved in a house of prostitution is a crime. Individuals who violate this law can be charged with a category C or B felony. The exact charges depend on whether the offender used physical force or the threat of physical force to place someone in a house of prostitution (and a few other factors).
- Advancing Prostitution (NRS 201.395) – According to NRS 201.395, anyone who owns, operates, manages, leases, or otherwise controls a business or private property and knows or should know that illegal prostitution is happening on their premises or at their business is guilty of advancing prostitution. Advancing prostitution is a category C felony in Nevada that can lead to mandatory prison time and high fines.
- Unlawful Advertising Of Prostitution (NRS 201.430) – Advertising prostitution in Nevada is permissible, but licensed houses of prostitution must obey strict guidelines. For instance, owners, operators, managers, etc., are not allowed to advertise their houses of prostitution in counties where prostitution is illegal. Furthermore, they are prohibited from advertising their services in any public theater, highway, or public street of any city (even if the city permits prostitution). Individuals found guilty of unlawful advertising risk jail time and fines.
Getting your charges dismissed or decreased usually requires the help of an attorney who has intimate knowledge of the laws on prostitution and solicitation in Nevada. Our defense lawyers understand the gravity of prostitution charges and the negative effect they can have on your professional and personal life.
Don’t risk a criminal record, jail time, and fines by entrusting a mediocre attorney. The social stigma with prostitution charges are significant and can follow you for a lifetime. Don’t gamble with your choice of lawyer. Contact The Vegas Lawyers today for your free initial consultation with our outstanding legal team. Call us today at (702) 707-7000.