Sometimes called “the world’s oldest profession,” prostitution is the exchange of sexual contact for money, services, or items with monetary value. Prostitution is a crime in New Jersey, along with actions that promote it.
N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1 defines all the actions that can be classified as indictable prostitution offenses in New Jersey. Section A of this law defines the behaviors that can be considered sexual activity that can be exchanged for money in a prostitution transaction. These are:
- oral-anal contact
- genital touching
- touching of thebreasts or buttocks
- masochistic orsadistic abuse carried out with the intent of deriving sexualpleasure
A first-time prostitution conviction is a disorderly person’s offense and punishable by a $1,000 and up to six months in jail. For a second or subsequent conviction, the charge is a fourth degree crime and the penalty raises to up to eighteen months in jail plus fines.
The promotion of prostitution is also a crime in New Jersey. Promotion of prostitution is defined as any of the following offenses:
- Allowing one’sproperty to be used as a site for prostitution transactions
- Bringing clientsto a working prostitute so they can purchase sexual activity
- Soliciting clientson behalf of a working prostitute
- Transporting aperson or people into or within New Jersey for prostitution purposes
- Encouraging orforcing another person to become a prostitute
Promoting prostitution in ways that bring a large profit, such as encouraging another person to become a prostitute, owning or leasing a property with the intention of committing prostitution there, owning, managing or procuring clients for a prostitution business is a third degree crime. A third degree prostitution promotion charge is punishable by three to five years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000. Lesser promotion crimes are classed as fourth degree crimes, punishable by up to eighteen months in jail and up to $10,000 fines.
Using a rented property to commit or facilitate prostitution is grounds for a landlord to void the property’s lease and evict its tenant. Any person, excluding the prostitute him or herself and/or his or her dependent child or children, whose living expenses are paid with prostitution profits, may be charged with promoting prostitution.
If a person is convicted of promoting prostitution two or more times within a ten-year period, he or she may also be convicted of racketeering. Racketeering is the creation of a problem that does not actually exist with the intention of “solving” it for a profit, and often associated with organized crime. Racketeering is a second degree crime.
When a prostitution situation involves a minor under the age of eighteen, the penalties become harsher. Any act involving an underage prostitute is a third degree crime, even if the defendant claims he or she did not know the prostitute’s true age. Promoting the prostitution of a person younger than eighteen years old is a second degree crime. This crime carries a penalty of five to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Any person convicted of a prostitution offense with a child is required to register as a sex offender, as per N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2.
A conviction can only occur if the following circumstances can be proven:
- The defendanteither offered or accepted a solicitation for sexual activity
- Money, property orservices were exchanged for sexual activity
- The accused, whichcan be either the party purchasing or the party providing a sexualservice, had the intention of completing a prostitution transaction.
Additionally, loitering with the intention of flagging down potential customers for prostitution services is a disorderly person’s offense. If a vehicle was used as part of a prostitution transaction, its driver must have his or her driver’s license suspended for six months.
If you have been charged with prostitution or promoting prostitution, call Ron Bar-Nadav today at 201-525-1555 to discuss your legal options and begin to build your case. The best defense is a knowledgeable attorney who will treat your case with the attention and urgency it deserves. Don’t waste your time on a lawyer who won’t give your case anything less than the commitment it deserves. Call Ron Bar-Nadav today.