Prostitution, as most realize, is a very common criminal activity throughout the United States. The Borough of Queens is hardly exempt from instances of prostitution. Gray areas of the law allow persons involved with prostitution to escape prosecution, but the ability to elude authorities may prove to be a form of delaying the inevitable. Both those who sell sexual services and those who seek to procure such services may find themselves involved in a sting. Following a sting comes arraignment and criminal charges.
While prostitution charges may not be felonies, the crimes are serious. Carrying a conviction on one’s record for prostitution-related offenses does not exactly look good on a background check. And no matter how much time passes between the arrest and conviction and the present day, the charges could instill very unwanted and unhelpful impressions in other people’s minds.
This is to say nothing of the prostitution charges leading to someone being labeled a “convicted criminal.”
Prostitution Laws in New York State
Prostitution, per the legal code of the state of New York, is defined as ” a person engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct” with someone else for a fee. Under the law, this is a class B misdemeanor.
“Patronizing a person for prostitution” entails paying or agreeing to pay someone for sexual favors or soliciting another person for sex. This particular offense is a class A misdemeanor in New York.
A class A misdemeanor carries with it much more significant potential penalties if found guilty. A class A misdemeanor for patronizing a prostitute carries a maximum of one year in jail and/or a maximum of a $1,000 fine. With a class B misdemeanor conviction, the defendant looks at a maximum of three months in jail and/or a maximum of a $500 fine.
Depending on the specifics of the circumstances, the penalties for prostitution in New York can be much more severe. Patronizing a prostitute who is younger than 14 years of age would be a Class E felony, a felony that carries a 2 to 5-year prison term.
Felonious Prostitution Charges
The typical prostitution cases are usually misdemeanors, but certain types of prostitution offenses — as noted — can rise to the level of a severe felony. Anyone facing felony charges may also be facing a rather lengthy stay in state prison. That statement alone shows why it is critical to procure the best criminal defense.
“Prostitution in a school zone,” for example, raises the standard class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor. So, the same crime now comes with more significant penalties due to the proximity of the alleged crime near a school zone.
Promoting and patronizing prostitutes can be misdemeanors or felony offenses. The charges take on more serious implications when minors are involved.
Promoting prostitution involves, essentially, taking actions to garner a profit from prostitution. Promoting prostitution can be in the fourth, third, second, or first degree. Generally, the specific “degree charges” depend on the age of the person involved. Promoting prostitution in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor, but the other charges are felonies.
Patronizing a person for prostitution is also listed as fourth, second, or third-degree crimes. Fourth-degree crimes would be a class A misdemeanor. The other charges fall under the delineation of felonies. Again, the age of the prostitute factors into how severe the felony is. Additionally, a person may be charged with “patronizing a person for prostitution” or “aggravated patronizing a minor for prostitution.”
Felonies come with far more serious punishments. This alone means retaining the best attorney for a defense takes on imperative importance. In New York, prostitution felonies are further categorized as non-violent felonies. This does not necessarily mean the penalties are less significant. A conviction of, say, “Aggravated patronizing a minor for prostitution in the first degree” or “promoting prostitution” in the first degree would be class B non-violent felonies and can lead to a prison term of three to twenty-five years.
The various other classes of felonies also come with the potential for prison time upon conviction. Developing a strong defense becomes critical when looking at prison time and a felony conviction.
Defending Prostitution Charges
The appropriate defense for charges related to prostitution can be decided upon a careful review of the circumstances surrounding the incident. One common defense is entrapment. Entrapment entails scenarios in which law enforcement coerces someone to commit a criminal act.
Regardless of the approach to defending prostitution charges, the attorney handling the case should be someone who understands the complexities of defending various different prostitution-related charges.
Being charged with prostitution or soliciting prostitution is an incredibly dire and serious situation. Contacting the right Queens prostitution defense lawyers likely will be of paramount importance to those looking at possible jail time in the event of a conviction.