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NYC Prostitution Defense Lawyers

January 3, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

Sex work is a complicated industry with many gray areas of legality in the United States. If you are charged with a crime regarding your use of or work for escort services, the overarching criminal problem is prostitution. Prostitution is defined differently in different state statutes, and there are also different punishments depending on the state. In New York, prostitution is a class B misdemeanor. If you have been arrested for allegedly selling sexual relations with your body, you could face up to ninety days in jail should you be convicted. Unfortunately, most jails that house misdemeanor offenders are not very pleasant places to spend any length of time, let alone three months.

Some people might be part of a high-end escort agency that operates in all manners like a legal business. They may have a website presence, record transactions through client credit cards, and have perfectly reasonable legal paperwork. Some people might also work as independent service providers who own their own businesses and offer services on a client-to-client basis. Some people, especially those who have to engage in survival sex work, find work through much more dangerous interactions with strangers on the streets.

No matter what form the act and the business takes, you’ll still face the same basic criminal charge.

Prostitution in New York

Prostitution is defined simply and clearly in the state of New York. If you charge money to engage in sexual conduct with another individual, you can be found guilty of prostitution. It doesn’t matter how large the fee was or what sexual conduct was offered or given. All that matters is that money was exchanged for some kind of sexual contact.

This does lead to the question of what counts as sexual conduct. Many people who are arrested for prostitution are arrested with fairly clear sexual conduct allegations. But there’s also a gray area. Erotic dancing and stripping is legal. If the customer pays to touch parts of your body while you dance, does that count as prostitution? If you’re working at a strip club and you allow a client to rub their genitals against you while you give a lap dance, does that count as prostitution?

The biggest problem with the New York law is that it doesn’t define what sexual conduct is. It’s entirely up to the judge to decide whether the perpetrator was engaging in sexual conduct. When the law has been applied in convictions in the past, though, judges tend to agree that sexual intercourse, masturbation, anal sexual conduct, and oral sexual conduct are all unequivocally part of this umbrella.

Every case is different and has unique circumstances and nuance. That’s why it’s so important to get in contact with a criminal defense attorney if you’re accused of prostitution. Since prostitution is such a murky gray area in New York law, your defense attorney may be able to find precedents for similar situations in which the charges were dropped. Even if the sexual conduct is indisputable, a defense attorney can still consider the environment in which the conduct happened, the agreement made between the parties, and the circumstances that led to the prostitution occurring in the first place.

There is no one-size-fits-all rule for prostitution cases. Since stripping and lap dances are legal, there’s a much deeper gray area regarding sexual conduct than you might expect. Every case requires detailed review, study, and analysis. It’s essential that you speak with a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in prostitution-related defenses. They will have the context and nuance to discuss your options and mount an ideal criminal defense.

Prostitution Charges

These are all prostitution charges that can be brought up when you are charged with prostitution in New York. Many states have similar statutes and outlined penalties.

  • Third degree prostitution
  • Second degree prostitution
  • First degree prostitution
  • Fourth degree promotion of prostitution
  • Third degree promotion of prostitution
  • Second degree promotion of prostitution
  • First degree promotion of prostitution
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Engaging in prostitution in a school zone
  • Sex trafficking

Prostitution offenses are related to prostituting oneself or being engaged in the selling of another person’s body. New York has another section of its penal code with offenses regarding the patronization of a prostitute.

Many cases of prostitution are classed as a Class B misdemeanor in New York. But if you engage in prostitution in a school zone, that becomes a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in prison. People who are convicted of prostitution might also be required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act. Some jobs might be impacted by a prostitution conviction, especially if you work with children.

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