An arrest for prostitution or solicitation can be stressful and humiliating because of the social stigma attached to sex crimes. Being charged with these crimes can damage a person’s reputation in the community and destroy their family. A conviction for many sex crimes will end up on a person’s criminal record and can lead to long-term consequences.
You need an experienced defense attorney to fight for your rights if you are facing sex crime charges in Mercer County, New Jersey. Contact Keith Oliver Criminal Law today to learn more about your legal options. You can discuss your case with a prostitution and solicitation defense lawyer from our firm in a free and confidential consultation.
Is Prostitution Legal in New Jersey?
No. Under New Jersey law, prostitution is illegal. This law prohibits engaging in, offering, or accepting an offer of sexual activity in exchange for money or something of economic value. It is not necessary to actually engage in a sexual act to be found guilty.
New Jersey Prostitution and Solicitation Laws
Under New Jersey prostitution laws, a person commits a crime if they:
- Engage in prostitution as a patron
- Engage in prostitution by personally offering sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value
- Promote prostitution
- Promote prostitution of a child under 18, either knowingly or unknowingly
- Promote prostitution of their child or anyone under their care
- Compel another person to promote or engage in prostitution
- Promote prostitution of their spouse
- Engages in prostitution with a person under 18 or solicits or requests a child under 18 to engage in sexual activity
A person promotes prostitution if they:
- Own, control, manage, or otherwise keep a prostitution business
- Procure an inmate for a prostitution business
- Encourage, induce, or otherwise purposely cause another person to become or remain a prostitute
- Solicit someone to patronize a prostitute
- Procure a prostitute for a patron
- Transport a person into or within the state for the purpose of making that person work as a prostitute or procure or pay for transportation for that purpose
Penalties for Prostitution and Solicitation in New Jersey
The penalties for prostitution and solicitation in New Jersey depend on the circumstances and factors related to the alleged offense.
Working as a prostitute is typically a disorderly person’s offense (misdemeanor), punishable by time in jail and fines. However, a second or subsequent conviction is a fourth-degree indictable offense (felony) with stiffer penalties.
Soliciting a prostitute is also a disorderly person’s offense, except second and third convictions are fourth-degree indictable offenses, and a fourth conviction is a third-degree indictable offense. If a person uses a motor vehicle to solicit a prostitute, they can lose their driving privilege for six months.
Promoting prostitution is either a third-degree or fourth-degree indictable offense depending on the circumstances. Convictions for these crimes can carry penalties including time in prison and hefty fines.
The following are fourth-degree indictable offenses punishable by no more than 18 months in prison:
- Owning, controlling, managing, or otherwise keeping a prostitution business
- Procuring an inmate for a prostitution business
- Encouraging, inducing, or otherwise purposely causing another person to become or remain a prostitute
- Transporting a person into or within the state for the purpose of making that person work as a prostitute or procuring or paying for transportation for that purpose
- Knowingly leasing or otherwise permitting a place to be regularly used for prostitution or to promote prostitution or failing to attempt to reduce the use by removing the tenant, notifying law enforcement, or other legal means
Knowingly promoting prostitution of a child under 18 or knowingly promoting prostitution of the offender’s child, ward, or someone else they care for is a first-degree indictable offense. A conviction carries a penalty of between 10 and 20 years in prison.
Knowingly engaging in prostitution with someone under 18, entering or remaining in a house of prostitution to engage in sexual activity with a child under 18, or soliciting or requesting a child under 18 to engage in sexual activity is a second-degree indictable offense. A conviction is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.
Promoting the prostitution of the offender’s spouse or compelling another person to promote or participate in prostitution is a third-degree indictable offense, for which the punishment is 3 to 5 years in prison.
Megan’s Law requires anyone convicted of, found not guilty because of insanity of, or adjudicated delinquent for knowingly promoting prostitution of a child or attempting to commit this offense to register as a sex offender.
Common Defenses Against Prostitution and Solicitation
You should not hesitate to hire a prostitution defense lawyer from Keith Oliver Criminal Law if you are facing sex crimes charges in Mercer County. We can immediately review your case and explain your legal options during a free and confidential consultation. We can then create a strategy to defend your rights and seek to reduce or dismiss the charges against you.
Some potential defenses against prostitution and solicitation charges include the following:
- Mistaken identity – Your attorney could provide evidence that a witness incorrectly identified you as the perpetrator. A solid alibi or evidence showing you were somewhere else during the crime could prove you are not guilty of the charges.
- Entrapment – Police officers often conduct sting operations to catch people in the act of soliciting prostitution. However, police misconduct and errors can lead to the arrest of an innocent person. Evidence and eyewitness testimony might establish entrapment.
- Forced to commit the crime – Someone charged with working as a prostitute can use the defense that they are the victim of human trafficking. If another person forced or coerced you into prostitution, it can be a good defense strategy.
- Insufficient evidence – Sometimes, there isn’t enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If so, the court will likely find you not guilty.
Talk to an Experienced Solicitation and Prostitution Lawyer in Mercer County Today
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we have a track record of successfully defending clients against various criminal charges, including sex crimes. You can depend on a sex crimes defense lawyer from our firm to fight for your rights and safeguard your reputation.
Call or contact us online now for a free and confidential consultation if you were arrested or charged with prostitution or solicitation in Mercer County.