In New Jersey and much of the United States, prostitution is a serious crime that carries severe penalties. Loitering for the purpose of prostitution, which entails no actual sex work but rather showing interest in making a transaction involving prostitution in a public place, is also a crime. In New Jersey, loitering for the purpose of prostitution can carry consequences including fines, jail time, loss of a license or license suspension, property forfeiture, and more.
Loitering for the purpose of prostitution is a type of disorderly persons offense. If you have been charged with this offense in the state of New Jersey, you should contact a lawyer from the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon as possible. Call (609) 616-4956 at your earliest convenience.
Understanding Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution in New Jersey
According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:34-1.1, a person is guilty of loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution if they wander or prowl in a public place with the purpose of engaging in or promoting prostitution. They must be in a public place, and it must be clear that they are engaging in conduct that shows that they are involved in prostitution.
Beckoning or stopping pedestrians or motorists a repeated number of times, attempting to engage passers-by in conversation, or repeatedly stopping or attempting to stop cars is considered conduct that shows that the purpose is to engage in prostitution or promoting prostitution. Both patrons and sex workers are subject to charges for loitering for the purpose of prostitution.
Loitering for the purpose of prostitution in New Jersey is a type of disorderly persons offense. It is possible to charge someone with this offense if the prosecution can prove that the defendant was in a public place at the time. A public place is defined as being any place that the public has access to, which can include streets, sidewalks, parks, parking lots, transportation facilities, or public libraries. Loitering that happens in a motor vehicle in any public place is considered to be public.
The prosecution must also prove that the defendant was loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or promoting prostitution and that they engaged in words or behavior that was intended to attract potential customers.
Penalties for Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution
As a disorderly persons offense, the penalty for loitering for the purpose of prostitution is usually a county jail sentence of six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Other possible penalties include property forfeiture, removal from office, community service, and professional license suspension or cancellation. If a motor vehicle was involved in the offense, then it is possible for the defendant’s license to be suspended for up to 2 years. It is a misdemeanor offense.
Offenses Related to Loitering for the Purposes of Prostitution
Charges of loitering for the purposes of prostitution are closely related to charges of prostitution and other similar charges. It is important to have an understanding all of them, as it is possible to face multiple charges at once.
In New Jersey, prostitution is defined as sexual activity that happens with another person in exchange some type of economic value. There are two types of prostitution. One is known as the “traditional” kind, which happens when someone personally offers some type of sexual activity in exchange for something of value. The other kind of prostitution applies to the person offering something of value in exchange for sex acts. One is for the sex worker and the other is for the client or “john.”
Promoting prostitution is a similar charge in New Jersey. It can entail operating a brothel, recruiting prostitutes to work at a brothel, brokering prostitution deals, transporting sex workers in and around New Jersey to perform sex work, encouraging other people to be sex workers, or otherwise facilitating the prostitution of other people.
More serious charges can be issued against people who promote persons under the age of 18 as prostitutes, and even more severe offenses if they promote their own child as a prostitute. It is also a crime to coerce someone into being a prostitute or to promote your own spouse as a prostitute.
Possible Defenses for Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution
It is possible for someone who is facing a charge of loitering for the purpose of prostitution to defend themselves against the charge by using an accident defense. With this defense, the defendant claims that their behavior was only perceived to be an attempt to make a transaction involving the sale of sexual services. The defendant may claim that they were lost and were asking for directions or had some other valid reason to be speaking with passing pedestrians and motorists in a public place.
In some cases, a defendant may use an entrapment defense. To successfully use an entrapment defense, a defendant must prove that law enforcement coerced them into engaging in behavior that they normally would not have engaged in as part of a sting operation.
Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving Atlantic City, New Jersey
Loitering for the purpose of prostitution is a serious charge. Allow an attorney to help you craft a defense for yourself, negotiate less severe penalties, and guide you through the nuances of the criminal justice system. Get in touch with the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon as possible to set up a free consultation to talk about your case. Call (609) 616-4956 today.