Is Prostitution Legal in Nevada? Las Vegas Lawyer Explains
Prostitution is illegal in most parts of the United States, and both prostitutes and those who seek to pay for sex can be charged with a crime. However, in the state of Nevada, the rules are a little different.
There are many circumstances in Nevada in which prostitution is illegal. However, under specific circumstances, as long as the rules are followed, prostitution is not unlawful when it takes place in a brothel.
It is important to understand the rules for brothels as well as circumstances in which prostitution can result in criminal charges. If you are accused of a criminal act in connection with prostitution or solicitation, you also need to know what your rights are, what defenses are available to you, and how you can respond to serious charges.
LV Criminal Defense is here to help. A Vegas criminal defense attorney at our firm can provide you with personalized advice on responding to charges connected with prostitution or other sex crimes.
We have the knowledge and experience to advocate for your interests and develop a legal strategy aimed at protecting your future, so give us a call today.
Where Is Prostitution illegal in Nevada?
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In the state of Nevada, counties that have a population below 700,000 are permitted to authorize the operation of brothels within the county where prostitution can lawfully take place. Because the county where Las Vegas is located, Clark County, has more than 700,000 people living within it, prostitution is not permitted with Las Vegas or immediately surrounding Vegas.
Some individual counties also have laws that prohibit brothels as well. For example, Reno, NV is located within Washoe County and Washoe County does not permit brothels or prostitution so prostitution is illegal in Reno and immediate surrounding areas as well.
While this means the most popular tourist destinations in Nevada do not allow legal prostitution, there are still plenty of counties where prostitution is allowed and where brothels operate. In fact, there are currently 19 brothels operating within the state of Nevada. This is a significant decrease from the 1980’s when the number of brothels in Nevada peaked and there were a total of 36 different brothels operating in the state. Still, since Nevada is the only place in the U.S. where brothels and prostitution are legal, even 19 brothels is a significant number.
The 19 brothels that operate are spread across eight different counties in Nevada. There are an additional four counties within the state that have laws allowing for brothels, but none operate in the area.
When brothels operate, they must follow strict safety rules set by state law. Sex workers who provide services within the brothels must require that patrons who use their services utilize condoms. Sex workers are required to submit to monthly blood testing to check for HIV and syphilis and workers are also required to undergo regular STD testing for other sexually transmitted diseases. States are not permitted to employ any sex worker until that worker’s test results demonstrate the worker is free of infectious syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia and other related STDs.
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Those applying to run a brothel must disclose where their financing is coming from and who will be managing the facility. Background checks are also required.
As long as the rules are complied with, those who engage in prostitution or who seek the services of a prostitute within a legally-operating brothel will not face criminal charges. However, those who solicit prostitutes or engage in prostitution in impermissible locations outside of brothels, or anyone who attempts to coerce someone to become a prostitution or to go to a place of prostitution, could be charged with a serious crime.
Are Escorts Legal in Vegas?
While brothels are not allowed to operate in Las Vegas, visitors to Vegas will likely notice they receive many flyers offering escort services. While these flyers may strongly imply that sex is on the offering, the flyers never explicitly state that the escort is a prostitute or that a client can pay for sex. The flyers cannot state this, because advertising the services of a prostitute or engaging in prostitution could result in legal trouble.
Escort services, on the other hand, can legally operate and there are even regulations within Clark County that establish specific guidelines for the operation of escrow services. Escorts are different from prostitutes, and are defined as persons who accompany others for hire in either public settings or private settings. Escorts are not supposed to engage in prostitution, and Clark County requires that escorts be licensed and possess work cards. If escorts engage in sexual conduct for money, they could be at risk of losing their license to work and could even face criminal charges.
This means that while you can hire an escort to spend time with you, including to come to your hotel to talk or to go to dinner with you, you should not solicit an escort for sex – and escorts should not offer sex in exchange for money. Trying to buy sex from an escort could result in solicitation charges and escorts offering sex for money could be charged with prostitution.
There are routine undercover stings that catch people, especially tourists, trying to solicit escorts for sex or that catch escorts who violate the law and provide sex. If you are caught up in a sting, you should contact a Las Vegas sexual crimes attorney.
Getting Help from a Vegas Defense Attorney
Our expert prostitution lawyers at LV Criminal Defense can provide you with legal representation if you have been charged with a crime in connection with solicitation or prostitution.
We can fight to help you protect your reputation, resolve charges as quickly as possible, and avoid or limit the consequences you face as a result of your involvement with the criminal justice system. Give us a call today to find out more.