Solicitation of prostitution is a crime throughout New Jersey. There is a common conception that casinos go hand-in-hand with vice: drinking, prostitution, drug use, and other “dangers” to society. Whether this conception is true or not, it often leads to increased police efforts to catch these kinds of crimes in casinos.
If you were arrested for soliciting a prostitute in an Atlantic City casino, you could face serious fines and potential jail time for the offense. Talk to a lawyer today about getting your charges dropped and dismissed. For help with your case and to schedule a free legal consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych’s Atlantic City casino solicitation defense attorneys at (609) 616-4956.
Arrested for Solicitation of Prostitution in an Atlantic City Casino
The crime of solicitation is contained within the same statute as crimes for acting as a prostitute as well as crimes for acting as a pimp. You may be confused as to which crimes police charged you with, so it is important to understand the distinct crimes contained in this statute and what crimes are considered mere solicitation offenses.
N.J.S.A. § 2C:34-1 contains all criminal statutes related to prostitution. Subsection a of this statute defines terms like “prostitution,” “sexual activity,” and other terms related to these offenses. The important takeaway from this subsection is that “prostitution” is defined to include any “sexual activity with another person in exchange for something of economic value, or the offer or acceptance of an offer.” That means that the offense of prostitution applies to both johns and prostitutes and the crime applies whether you merely agree to commit the proposed act or whether you actually commit the act.
This means that many johns will be arrested for “prostitution” for merely agreeing to exchange money for sex. Even though the term “prostitution” is used, this includes the crime of solicitation.
Note that there is also an additional offense within this statute for solicitation of prostitution from someone under 18. This is a more serious offense.
Penalties for Soliciting a Prostitute in NJ
The basic crime of soliciting a prostitute can lead to jail time and high fines, but it is classified as New Jersey’s equivalent of a misdemeanor offense. New Jersey divides its crimes into “indictable crimes” and “disorderly persons offenses” instead of “felonies” and “misdemeanors” as most states do. The crime of solicitation is usually a disorderly persons offense, but it can be enhanced under certain circumstances.
For a first-time offender, the crime of solicitation is charged as a disorderly persons offense. This carries the potential of up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000, as well as any court costs and fees. This offense is a relatively low-level criminal offense, but the crime can still lead to jail time and stay on your criminal record.
Repeat offenders are charged more harshly. A second or third conviction for solicitation is charged as a fourth degree crime, instead. This means up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000. For a fourth or later offense, the crime is a third degree crime carrying 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
Any time a vehicle is involved in the solicitation, you can also have your license suspended for 6 months. This can include driving up to solicit a prostitute outside a casino or taking a prostitute back to your car.
For solicitation of an underaged prostitute, the offense is more serious. This is a second degree crime – the second highest level of crime available in New Jersey. This crime is punished by 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
Defenses for Solicitation of Prostitution
Solicitation is one of the crimes that most often sees claims of “entrapment” as a defense. Entrapment is a defense whereby the defendant claims that they had no intent to commit the crime, and it was only because a police officer or undercover cop pushed them into committing the crime that they did anything wrong.
Many solicitation arrests come from sting operations where informants or undercover officers pose as prostitutes to arrest the john for solicitation. These kinds of arrests can be seen as entrapment if the undercover officer or cooperating prostitute went out of their way to solicit the defendant. However, if the defendant was in a place known for prostitution, it is likely they went there of their own volition with the intent to solicit, and the defense is not likely to work.
If there is no defense available in your case, your defense attorney may still be able to get the charges dismissed. There are many opportunities to handle low-level offenses by performing community service, seeking treatment and counseling, and performing other crime-reduction programs in exchange for dropping the charges. Talk to a criminal defense attorney about your options to participate in these kinds of programs.
Our Atlantic City Defense Lawyers for Solicitation in a Casino Offer Free Legal Consultations
If you were arrested for solicitation of prostitution in an Atlantic City casino, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our Atlantic City casino solicitation defense lawyers offer free legal consultations to help you understand the charges you face and the potential defenses available. To schedule a free consultation, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.