Prostitution and related charges

Crimes against the world's oldest profession are codified in New York Penal Code Article 230.The laws against prostitution that are codified in this article are aimed at targeting prostitutes, their pimps, as well as the people who patronize prostitutes. If you find yourself accused of any prostitution-related crime, you must contact an experienced New York City criminal defense lawyer immediately.

A person is guilty of Prostitution when the person "engages or agrees to offer to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee." Prostitution is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. The point of emphasis with regard to this charge is that it is not necessary for sexual conduct to be initiated or completed. A person can be convicted of Prostitution just by agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee.

When it comes to allegations of patronizing prostitution, there are three degrees that encompass this concept. The degree of Patronizing a Prostitute that a person can be charged with depends on the age of the prostitute. As per the New York Penal Code, "a person patronizes a prostitute when: (i) pursuant to a prior understanding, he pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him; (ii) he pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person or a third person will engage in sexual conduct with him; or (iii) he solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him in return for a fee."

Pursuant to the Penal Code, a "'person who is patronized' means the person with whom the accused person engaged in sexual conduct or was to have engaged in sexual conduct pursuant to the understanding, or the person who was solicited or requested by the defendant to engage in sexual conduct."

Patronizing a Prostitute in its most basic form is Patronizing a Prostitute in the Third Degree, which is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. A person is guilty of this anytime he patronizes a prostitute.

If a person patronizes a prostitute and he is over the age of 18 and the prostitute is under the age of 14, then he is guilty of Patronizing a Prostitute in the Second Degree. This is a class E felony which is punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

If a person patronizes a prostitute and the prostitute is under the age of 11, then he is guilty of Patronizing a Prostitute in the First Degree, which is a class D felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison.

For the charges of Patronizing a Prostitute in the First and Second Degree, it is an affirmative defense that the person did not have "reasonable grounds" to know the true age of the prostitute.

In addition to Prostitution and Patronizing Prostitution charges, there are also charges for "Promoting Prostitution." These set of laws are made to target pimps. Promoting Prostitution in its most basic form, is Promoting Prostitution in the Fourth Degree, which is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. The most common charge for Promoting Prostitution in the Fourth Degree is when a person "advances or profits from prostitution."

As the person's role in the organization increases (such as if he's a "manager" of an organization that promotes prostitution) the degree of Promoting Prostitution can rise. The same is true as the age of the prostitute is lower. Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree is a class D felony, punishable by up to 7 years in jail. Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree is a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in jail. Promoting Prostitution in the First Degree is a class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. In addition, there are more serious charges which can include "Sex Trafficking."

Prostitution, patronizing prostitution, and promoting prostitution are crimes. Feel free to contact John Buza, a former Manhattan prosecutor, for a free consultation if you, or a loved one, is accused any crime involving prostitution.