Crimes related to Sex Workers and Prostitution in Las Vegas, Nevada (NRS 201)
There is a mistaken assumption that prostitution is legal in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada’s two largest cities. Ads for “girls direct to your room,” people handing out flyers on sidewalks in front of hotels which contain photos of scantily clad women, and countless sex shops, massage parlors, and strip clubs reinforce this belief. In reality, prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department cracks down on people involved in any way with prostitution to help debunk the myth that prostitution is legal in Las Vegas, Nevada. There is also growing awareness of the relationship between sex workers, prostitution, and sex trafficking that is bringing more scrutiny onto prostitution-related offenses in Las Vegas.
Prostitution offenses, whether misdemeanors or felonies, are serious. They can be personally and professionally embarrassing and costly. A qualified Las Vegas criminal attorney can handle your case in the most discreet and effective way possible.
Sentences for Prostitution-related Crimes in Nevada
Soliciting a prostitute and engaging in prostitution are misdemeanor offenses. These carry up to 6 months in county jail and $1,000 in penalties. In some instances, community service and an AIDs awareness course may also be required.
Pandering is a felony that can bring up to 5 years in a Nevada prison along with fines up to $10,000. Learn how pandering is different from “pimping.” Pandering has heightened penalties because it encourages people into the business of prostitution, when law enforcement is trying to reduce those numbers.
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HIV Testing for Prostitution Arrests
People arrested for engaging in prostitution are required to submit to an HIV test. The results are used in later arrests because engaging in prostitution after being notified of a positive test result is a felony crime in Nevada.
Evidence in Prostitution Cases
Eyewitness testimony is the most common form of evidence used to convict in prostitution-related cases in Las Vegas. Just like on television, the police really do use “sting” operations where undercover police officers act as prostitutes or “johns” to catch people in the act of making deals to exchange sex for money.
Defenses to Prostitution Crimes in Nevada
There are three main defenses to prostitution or solicitation for prostitution charges in Nevada. It is best to hire a lawyer if you are arrested for prostitution or a related crime in Las Vegas because a criminal defense lawyer can present defenses and also work to reduce or dismiss the charges completely.
- Mistake: If one party mistakenly believes that he will not have to pay for sex because he does not realize that he is associating with a prostitute, he has not solicited for prostitution.
- Overtness: If the “deal” to exchange money for sex is not specific and actionable, the parties have not engaged in prostitution.
- Entrapment: In cases involving an undercover police officer, a person may be pushed into doing something they would not otherwise do because the officer wants to make an arrest.
Plea Bargaining for Prostitution Cases in Las Vegas
For first time offenders, there is a good chance that the prosecutor will agree to reduce or dismiss the charges in exchange for certain things. This typically includes:
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- Community service;
- AIDs awareness class;
- Agreement to stay out of legal trouble until the case closes.
If the court will not agree to drop the charges entirely, the person charged with a prostitution offense may have the charge reduced to something like trespassing.
There is no requirement that repeat offenders get more than a misdemeanor charge. Instead, the courts use other methods to try to deter repeat offenders, such as ordering them to stay away from places like casinos where they may try to engage in prostitution again.
Prostitution Cases involving Children and Sex Trafficking
As with many kinds of cases involving children, for soliciting prostitution with a person under the age of 18 is a felony offense.
More importantly, the person convicted of this may also be charged with other crimes such as sex trafficking or statutory seduction.
As with all prostitution-related offenses, if you are arrested for soliciting for prostitution with a child in Nevada, you should retain a criminal defense lawyer at the earliest opportunity to protect your rights.
Nick Wooldridge – a founder of LV Criminal Defense – can defend you if you have been arrested for soliciting prostitution, engaging in prostitution, or pandering in Las Vegas, Nevada. Any of these crimes on your record can make it difficult to find future employment or exercise other rights. A qualified defense lawyer can work to reduce the charges or even dismiss them to keep your record clean.