Crime of Prostitution in Nevada (NRS 201.354)
Las Vegas- and Nevada as a whole- is known as a place to party and try new things. That reputation makes many people mistakenly believe that prostitution is legal in the whole state. In reality, engaging in prostitution is only legal in certain counties, and even then, only in licensed brothels. Las Vegas and Reno are not located in counties where prostitution is legal.
If you are arrested for engaging in prostitution, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to avoid jail time and other penalties.
Legal definition of prostitution in Nevada
Prostitution is the exchange of money or anything of value for a sex act. This does not require two people to have sexual intercourse. Instead, the sexual desire of one person must be fulfilled in some way in exchange for money.
Evidence in prostitution cases
Eyewitness testimony of two people making an arrangement for prostitution and then leaving together is often part of the evidence used to prove prostitution, and this may include the testimony of a police officer “cruising” through an area where prostitutes commonly work.
In some cases, undercover police officers may act as “johns” to catch a prostitute agreeing to perform a sex act for money.
Overall, there is not usually a lot of evidence that prostitution has taken place, so an experienced criminal attorney has an opportunity to negotiate the charges down or potentially get them dismissed altogether.
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HIV Testing in Prostitution Arrests in Nevada
Anyone who is arrested for engaging in prostitution in Nevada is required to be tested for HIV. The results will be mailed or hand-delivered to the person arrested for prostitution and he or she will have to appear in court to state that he or she received the results.
If a person who is infected with the HIV virus engages in prostitution again, the penalty increases to a Category B felony in Nevada. A Category B felony carries 2 to 10 years in a Nevada prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Sentences for first time Prostitution offenses in Las Vegas, Nevada
Engaging in prostitution is a misdemeanor crime in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada misdemeanor penalties can include up to 6 months in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and community service.
Courts tend to give the highest penalty to people convicted of prostitution, especially if they have been convicted of prostitution before. For first time offenses, the court may sentence the person to take a class about prostitution and how it relates to the spread of HIV, in addition to other penalties.
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Plea Bargaining in Las Vegas Prostitution Cases
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can often get the charges completely dismissed for a person charged with a first time prostitution charge. The court will require some community service hours, an AIDS awareness course, and that the person charged with prostitution stay out of any legal trouble until the case is closed.
The opportunity to get the charges dismissed is a good reason to hire a defense lawyer in a Las Vegas prostitution case. Although prostitution is a misdemeanor charge, people who are convicted repeatedly may find themselves on police watch lists in addition to paying fines and serving jail time.
If the case is not dismissed, the charges can also be reduced to a more minimal charge like trespassing.
Nevada Crimes of Prostitution involving Children
Prostitution involving people under the age of 18 involves much more serious penalties. At a minimum, child prostitution is a Category E felony, which brings 1 to 4 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines for the person who solicits the child for prostitution. There are related crimes that can result in even higher sentences and a requirement to become a registered sex offender.
If you are arrested for any prostitution charge involving a child in Nevada, contact a defense lawyer at LV Criminal Defense as soon as possible.