New York Prostitution Attorney
Being charged with prostitution or soliciting a prostitute can have long-term negative impacts on every aspect of your life, destroying your reputation and depriving you of your freedom. If you’ve been arrested for a prostitution offense in New York, you need an aggressive defense lawyer fighting for you in court. At Sullivan & Galleshaw, we have more than 30 years of practical experience handling felony and misdemeanor charges, and serve the entire New York metropolitan area.
To set up a free and completely confidential case evaluation, call our law offices at (800) 730-0135.
New York Prostitution Charges
New York prostitution charges are consolidated under NY Penal Law §230. There are five broad categories prostitution-related charges can fall under, all of which carry different definitions, criminal grading, and penalties.
- Statute – §230.00
- Grading – Class B Misdemeanor
- Definition – Refers to working as a prostitute. If you’re charged with prostituting in a school zone, which extends to within 1,000 feet of the school’s property line and includes playgrounds and buses, the offense is elevated to a Class A Misdemeanor.
- Patronizing a Prostitute
- Statute – §230.04-§230.07
- Grading – Class A Misdemeanor, Class E-D Felony
- Definition – Refers to purchasing a prostitute’s services. If you were over 18 years old at the time of the alleged crime, and the prostitute was younger than 14 years old, the offense is categorized as a Class E Felony. If the alleged prostitute was younger than 11 years old, the offense becomes a Class D Felony.
- Promoting Prostitution
- Statute – §230.19-§230.32
- Grading – Class A Misdemeanor, Class E-C Felony
- Definition – Refers to deliberately profiting from prostitution. In some cases, promoting prostitution can also involve distributing “obscene material” (such as pornography), or intimidating or coercing victims aged 16 or older into prostitution.
- Compelling Prostitution
- Statute – §230.33
- Grading – Class B Felony
- Definition – Refers to forcing or intimidating a victim who is less than 16 years old into prostitution.
- Permitting Prostitution
- Statute – §230.40
- Grading – Class B Misdemeanor
- Definition – You can be charged with this offense if you know prostitution is taking place on your property, but do not take any reasonable measures to end it.
Criminal Penalties: Fines and Sentencing
As a defendant, it’s important for you to understand the different penalties you could be facing based on your specific charges. While felonies receive harsher consequences than misdemeanors, both can trigger expensive fines and long sentences:
- Misdemeanor, Class B
- Fine – Up to $500
- Sentence – Up to 3 months
- Misdemeanor, Class A
- Fine – Up to $1,000
- Sentence – Up to 1 year
All New York felonies (excluding drug charges) can be fined with either $5,000 or double the amount you earned through committing the crime. The judge will order whichever fine is larger.
The prison sentences for felonies are as follows:
- Class E Felony – No jail, probation, up to 4 years
- Class D Felony – No jail, probation, up to 7 years
- Class C Felony – No jail, probation, up to 15 years
- Class B Felony – Up to 25 years
In addition to jail and restitution, both misdemeanor and felony convictions will also lead to the creation of a criminal record that can be viewed by any current or potential employer, landlord, or lending agency. Despite strict federal laws which theoretically protect former felons from hiring discrimination, many people with convictions in their past struggle to find employment. You could also be blocked from obtaining licenses or certifications which are important to your career, and may find yourself being turned down for loans. A felony conviction can take away your voting rights, as well as your right to run for public office.
Unfortunately, it isn’t just the court-ordered penalties you need to worry about: the side-effects of a criminal conviction can be just as devastating to your personal and professional life.
What Are the Possible Defenses I Can Use?
New York law recognizes one legal defense against the charge of patronizing a prostitute. Under §230.07, defendants may argue that they were not aware that the prostitute in question was younger than 14 years old (for second degree charges) or 11 years old (for first degree charges).
It is not an accepted defense that you and the alleged prostitute were the same gender. It is also not an acceptable defense to state that you were a female patronizing a male prostitute. Sex and gender have no bearing on the validity of the overall case against the defendant.
If you’ve been arrested for prostitution or a related offense, the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Sullivan & Galleshaw can help. To schedule a free and private case evaluation, call our New York prostitution lawyers at (800) 730-0135.