Spodek Law Group, is a prostitution criminal defense law firm, based out of NYC and Long Island. We can help both clients accused of soliciting, or engaging in, prostitution – fight back against wrongful criminal charges. New York prostitution laws are aimed at several offenses that stem of the illegal act of participating, or agreeing to participate, in sexual conduct in exchange for money. It is a Class B misdemeanor. New York also criminalizes other offenses related to prostitution, such as promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution and sex trafficking.
Penal Code 230.00
Prostitution is a common crime, with over 70% of women in female prisons beginning with prostitution. New York prostitution laws classify crimes of prostitution based on how severe the crime is. Most prostitution laws are lenient. Prostitutes who go through the legal system, can be found guilty and if convicted – may serve up to 3 months in jail, and pay fines. If you’re facing prostitution charges, you need an experienced NYC prostitution defense lawyer on your side. Our attorneys can argue that the arrest was the result of entrapment, invasion of privacy, or some other illegal discriminatory investigative tactic.
Penal Code 230.02
Patronizing a person for prostitution is defined as paying a fee to another person in compensation for such a person, or third person, engaging in sexual conduct with him/her. It is done with the agreement that a fee will be paid – with an understanding that in return, a person will pay for sexual conduct. One of the defenses our prostitution lawyers in NYC use, is to find out if an agreement had been made. If the prosecutor cannot prove there was a clear agreement/understanding – that payment will be made for sex, then the case will be either dismissed or significantly reduced.
Penal Code 230.03 – Prostitution in a school zone
A person can be found guilty of prostitution in a school zone, when the person commits an act of prostitution – in a school zone, or a place where children are coming for education. If prostitution is done within the direct of view children attending school, then the person committing the act can be charged with Penal Code 230.03 violation. School zone means any building, structure, playground, or land, which is within the property line of a public or private school, or any park, or private land, which is immediately adjacent to the boundary line of such a school. This form of prostitution is a class A misdemeanor.
Penal Code 230.04 – Patronizing a person for prostitution in 3rd degree
A person is guilty of patronizing a person for prostitution in the third degree, when the individual patronizes a person for prostitution. If you are soliciting a prostitute, you can be charged with a class A misdemeanor.
Patronizing in the 2nd degree – If a person, 18 years old or more, patronizes a person for prostitution who is less than fifteen years old – then the person can be charged with patronizing prostitution in the second degree. This is a class E felony. If the person who is patronized less than 11 years old, or if the person patronized is less than 13 years old, then the person who did the patronizing can be charged with prostitution in the first degree – which is a class D felony.
Today, prostitution is illegal in the 49 states in the US. It is only legal in Nevada, and it is strictly regulated in that state.
In early Colonial America, prostitution was not strictly seen as a crime, per se. What was actually illegal, was for a woman to loiter around on the streets, which is considered “vagrancy.” At the time, selling sex in itself wasn’t really illegal, but women who were arrested as vagrants were generally seen to be offering that service as part of the package.
Arguments Surrounding Prostitution
The Progressive movement in the US, which sought to improve the quality of life in the nation through education and increasing social controls on the poor, was part of the movement towards cracking down on prostitution and criminalizing it. During the Prohibition movement, which lasted from 1919 to 1933, prostitution in the cities increased, bringing with it the rampant spread of venereal diseases. The criminalization of prostitution increased from that time, but it came with a tricky moral argument.
Men and Women and Views on Prostitution
Women who work as prostitutes are generally viewed as “fallen women” who live lives of quiet desperation. The men who pay for the services of these women, however, are generally free from social judgement. This view, while seemingly an old-fashioned take on the crime, arguably continues on to this day. The many views and arguments regarding prostitution continue on to this day, with many levels of ambiguity involved.
Should Prostitution Be Decriminalized?
Given that prostitutes can be arrested for the crime of selling themselves for money, many arguments have arisen surrounding the issue. As society has evolved, free-thinking arguments in favor of decriminalizing prostitution have come to the fore.
One view is that prostitutes (who, historically, have usually been women) should have the right to have ownership over their bodies and behave as they see fit. This argument views the criminalization of the act of selling sex for money as a paternalistic view of the women (or men) who engage in prostitution. The customers of prostitutes usually escape from the act unscathed, which seems unfair, according to this argument, as they are keeping the commercial aspect of the business going.
The other argument for legalization involves the thinking that if the act were legalized, it could be more carefully regulated for the protection of sex workers, as well as freeing up some of the police force’s time. The states could also receive income from the practice.
Deep down, however, the American view of prostitution as a immoral act continues, as the government and the country as a whole is loathe to be seen as supporting a commercial situation viewed as degrading to all concerned.
And so, the world’s “oldest profession,” selling sex for money, continues on as an illegal act in 49 states in the union.
The Basics on Prostitution
Prostitution is when one party either engages or offers to engage in sexual activities with another party in exchange for money. It’s important to note that the sexual activities don’t need to occur for a crime to take place. If one person verbally agrees to perform sexual activities with another for money, then they’ve already committed prostitution.
What Constitutes Prostitution in a School Zone?
Although what would qualify as prostitution in a school zone seems self-explanatory based on the title, there are nuances to this charge that are important to understand.
The first important point is the definition of a school zone. A school zone will obviously encompass anything within the property of a school, including buildings, fields and other land. It also typically includes any public areas that are immediately adjacent to the school’s property boundary line. For example, if there’s a park right next to the school, that would also be considered a school zone. This can be true even if the land is private property. However, the exact definition of a school zone can vary depending on the location.
For a person to be guilty of committing prostitution in a school zone, the crime must meet a few requirements. It must be apparent enough that the area is a school zone for a reasonable person to realize that. If it’s unclear that the area is a school zone, the defendant could use that in their defense.
In most areas, the crime must occur either while school is in session or when there are likely to be minors around who could see the crime take place. If the crime occurred at 2 a.m., it’s unlikely that a charge of prostitution in a school zone would stick, because there weren’t any students or other minors around at that time.
Penalties for Prostitution in a School Zone
Prostitution is usually a misdemeanor. Even though prostitution in a school zone is more severe, it tends to still be a misdemeanor. It may be a gross misdemeanor or a higher-class misdemeanor. For example, if the city charges prostitution as a class B misdemeanor, it may charge prostitution in a school zone as a class A misdemeanor.
Preparing a Defense for Prostitution in a School Zone
With prostitution in a school zone, there are essentially two routes you can go with your defense.
The first is to fight the prostitution charge. If you can create reasonable doubt that any prostitution took place, you may be able to get the case dropped or get a verdict of not guilty.
The second is to argue that the prostitution didn’t occur in a school zone. If there’s strong evidence to support the prostitution charge, then it may be best to argue against it occurring in a school zone to get less penalties.
Regardless of the situation, it’s always best to consult with an experienced defense lawyer who can represent you. They can evaluate the facts of the case to put together the best defense strategy. They can represent you if your prostitution in a school zone charge goes to trial, and also try to negotiate plea deals for you.
What is Promoting Prostitution?
Promoting prostitution can refer any number of illegal activities intended to facilitate acts of prostitution and generate some sort of profit as a result. Clearly, this is a very broad description of the crime. Numerous different activities fall under the umbrella of promoting prostitution.
Different Means of Promoting Prostitution
Anyone who hires or entices others to become prostitutes or to use the service of prostitutes or runs a prostitution business such as an escort service is pimping. Pimping is an obvious means of promoting prostitution. A person might not even be directly involved with the actions of the business. He/she could run the operation but delegate all the work to subordinates. This matters not in the eyes of the law. The person would still be actively engaged in a prostitution business and generating revenue from such an endeavor.
Even a “third-party” could be charged under this statute depending on the circumstances. A person who knowingly rents out a property to individuals who commit acts of prostitution may very well be charged. Generally, any person who is assisting the acts and crimes of prostitution offenses could be charged under this statute.
How strong the prosecution’s case against an individual depends on the evidence presented. A person who is recorded offering to bring someone a prostitute for an agreed upon monetary amount would be facing a difficult time in court. Prosecuting a landlord whose property as used for someone else’s prostitution venture may prove more difficult.
Misdemeanor or Felony
Promoting prostitution can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the exact actions performed by the accused. In the state of New York, someone who “advances or profits from prostitution” commits a class A misdemeanor. If this action takes place in a school zone, however, the crime increases to the level of a class E felony. If someone “advances or profits from prostitution of a person less than 13 years old” or when a person over the age of 21 does “advances or profits” from someone less than 15 years of age, the crime reaches the level of a class B felony.
Both a misdemeanor and a felony mean a permanent criminal record. With felony convictions, significant jail time is possible. Hiring the best attorney – one most capable of defending against the charges – is advised.
Defending Promoting Prostitution Charges
Attorneys could combat the charges through arguing and proving entrapment, lack of sufficient evidence, and more. For those found guilty, an attorney may be able to petition the court for lenient sentencing. Ultimately, anyone accuses of prostitution crimes must retain the best counsel. With a reputable criminal defense attorney, the defendant might overcome the charges he/she faces.
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