In an effort to stop prostitution, most police departments and prosecutors focus their efforts on arresting and prosecuting the “johns” who hire prostitutes. While they may arrest and try prostitutes, too, many efforts to stop the sex trade treat sex workers (male and female) as victims. Because the crime of prostitution includes offering or accepting an offer of sexual services, you can still be arrested for prostitution as a “customer,” even if you do not actually engage in any sexual conduct.
Any prostitution charges carry the possibility of significant fines, jail time, and may even include a drivers’ license suspension. If you were arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution in New Jersey, talk to one of our attorneys today. The Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent people accused of crime throughout Atlantic City and South Jersey.
Criminal Charges for Hiring a Prostitute in NJ
Though the crime itself is called “prostitution,” it covers all roles and actions associated with prostitution. This means that whether you were the prostitute, the one hiring the prostitute (the “john”), or the one running the prostitute (the “pimp”), the same charges may apply. If you have been charged with any of the below crimes, it is crucial to contact an experienced NJ prostitution lawyer immediately.
Prostitution under N.J.S.A. § 2C:34-1(b) broadly covers a few different types of conduct, including:
- Engaging in prostitution as a patron;
- Promoting prostitution;
- Promoting prostitution of a child under 18;
- Promoting prostitution of one’s own child;
- Compelling another to participate in or promote prostitution;
- Promoting prostitution of one’s spouse;
- Hiring a prostitute under 18 years-old or staying in a house of prostitution to engage in sexual activity with someone under 18 years-old; or
- Offering sexual activity in exchange for something of value.
Part of this definition relies upon a few specific, legal definitions. The first is “prostitution,” which we’ve mentioned includes the offer or the acceptance of an offer for sexual acts. More specifically, § 2C:34-1(a)’s definition of “prostitution” includes any of the following:
- “[S]exual activity in exchange for something of economic value,”
- The offer to engage in sexual activity for something of value, or
- The acceptance of such an offer.
This covers both the act of having sex with a prostitute, offering services, or accepting services.
“Sexual activity,” in this context, includes nearly any sex acts. § 2C:34-1 broadly defines “sexual activity” to include:
- Genital-genital sex;
- Oral-genital sex;
- Anal-genital sex;
- Oral-anal contact;
- Touching the genitals, buttocks, or breasts;
- “Sadistic or masochistic abuse”; and
- “Other deviate sexual relations.”
The definition also specifies that the law does not make a distinction between whether the actors are the same or opposite sex – it’s all illegal.
Punishments for Solicitation of Prostitution
Depending on which conduct you are charged with, the punishments are different. Starting from the harshest punishment, N.J.S.A. § 2C:34-1(c) allows the following punishments:
First Degree Crime
A first degree crime in New Jersey is punished with 10-20 years in prison and fines up to $200,000. This is the punishment for promoting prostitution for a child under 18 or your own child.
Second Degree Crime
A second degree crime in New Jersey is punished with 5-10 years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines. This punishment is used for violations of subsection (b)(7) above, hiring a prostitute under 18 years-old.
Third Degree Crime
This covers offenses under paragraph (5) or (6) above, compelling another to engage in prostitution or promoting the prostitution of one’s spouse. Alternatively, certain types of promotion of prostitution are also third degree crimes. This is punished by 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
Fourth Degree Crime
This covers certain types of promotion of prostitution only. This is punished with up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Disorderly Persons Offense
This covers any offense under subsection (1). This means that any solicitation of prostitution falls under this category. A disorderly persons offense is punished by up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $500.
Solicitation of a prostitution is a disorderly persons offense only for your first conviction. For a second or third conviction, it is upgraded to a fourth degree crime with harsher penalties. For a fourth offense, the offense is upgraded to a third degree crime. Any time you solicit a prostitute using a car, you may also face a drivers’ license suspension. This punishment means a 6-month drivers’ license suspension, with no room to reduce or increase the punishment.
Atlantic City Prostitution Attorney
The Atlantic City sexual offense lawyers may be able to help you with your prostitution charges. If you were arrested for soliciting a prostitute, talk to an attorney right away. Because you could face jail time and high fines for solicitation, you need an experienced South Jersey defense attorney on your side. Call (609) 616-4956 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our lawyers.