Bronx Prostitution Lawyer
People who are facing accusations of prostitution are often scared or confused. In many cases, defendants believe that these charges are a simple misunderstanding. In other situations, they might have been intimidated or threatened into selling themselves.
Fortunately, New York Penal Law recognizes that many people who participate in prostitution do not do so under their own free will. Still, these kinds of defense apply only under limited circumstances. In most other cases, prostitution remains a crime under New York Penal Law, and a conviction carries potentially harsh consequences.
A Bronx prostitution lawyer may be able to help if you are facing these allegations. If retained, your local criminal defense attorney could examine every aspect of your case, work to develop an effective defense strategy, and put this strategy into practice on your behalf.
Prostitution Laws Applicable to the Bronx
New York Penal Law §230.00 establishes prostitution—specifically, the act of selling sex or any sexual activity for money or gifts—as a crime. Unlike many other states, New York Penal Law criminalizes such as exchange for any sexual activity, not just penetrative sex.
Furthermore, an actual exchange does not need to take place for the prosecutor to secure a conviction, as the law also penalizes individuals who merely attempt to make such an exchange. Just like many other criminal offenses, an attempt to commit an act of prostitution is just as serious as carrying through with the act.
A first-time conviction on these charges is a Class B misdemeanor, which means that the maximum penalty available under the law is three months in jail. That being said, a Bronx attorney may be able to help defendants contest accusations of prostitution and seek lesser sentences or a full acquittal in their cases.
What is the Difference Between Prostitution and Solicitation?
Prostitution and solicitation are essentially two different roles involved in the same criminal offense. Prostitution is the act of offering sexual contact in exchange for something of value. Alternatively, solicitation is the act of exchanging or offering something of value to another person in exchange for sex. In either situation, the state must prove that either one or both parties took actions in furtherance of this sexual transaction. This could involve one party withdrawing cash from an ATM or the other party accepting the money.
Defending Against Allegations of Prostitution
New York’s state legislature recognizes the fact that many people who participate in prostitution do so because of external threats or intimidation. To that end, many people who engage in these activities are victims of sex trafficking or extortion.
Because of this, the legislature enacted a section of New York Penal Law that provides an affirmative defense for defendants facing prostitution allegations. New York Penal Law §230.01 allows people facing these charges to raise the affirmative defense that they were compelled or coerced to participate in prostitution, or were a subject of sex trafficking as defined by New York state and/or United States federal law.
However, statutory defenses such as these place a burden on the defendant of proving these facts in court. This is in opposition to the normal procedure in criminal courts, which requires the prosecutor to prove the charges against a defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. A Bronx prostitution lawyer could work with people to determine if such a defense applies to their case and, if applicable, help them effectively introduce it in court.
Prostitution Committed Near a School
According to state law, a conviction for prostitution could carry steeper penalties if these acts occurred near a school zone. Under state law, a conviction for prostitution carries elevated penalties if the court determines a person over the age of 19 committed the act near a school during school hours. Alternatively, these higher penalties could apply when the alleged act occurred where schoolchildren could see.
The statute also provides a fairly expansive definition of a school zone. Not only does a school zone include every area within the physical boundary of a public or private school, it also covers the side walk or visible property adjacent to the school as well.
The statute describes that these additional penalties only apply when the accused knew or reasonably should have known they were near a school zone. A conviction for prostitution near a school is treated as a Class A misdemeanor. An attorney in the Bronx could help someone navigate this complicated situation during a prostitution case.
What is Entrapment?
Many of these arrests occur as the result of aggressive police work. This could include the use of undercover officers ensnaring a person engaging in prostitution by pretending to be a customer.
It is not unlawful for the police to trick a person into committing a crime in front of them. However, it is unlawful to pressure a person that would not have otherwise committed an offense to do so. This is known as entrapment. By establishing that entrapment occurred, the accused could avoid a conviction in their prostitution case.
Let a Bronx Prostitution Attorney Help
Allegations of prostitution are serious matters. A conviction for such a crime is a misdemeanor-level offense that could result in a court sentencing a person to up to three months in jail. Furthermore, subsequent convictions for the same crime often end up increasing the severity of criminal charges and ensuing consequences upon conviction.
However, there are situations where a person works as a prostitute against their will, and the New York Penal Law recognizes this fact and makes defenses available to account for it. A Bronx prostitution lawyer may be able to help you with prostitution charges no matter what your circumstances are, working with you to meet your goals and stand up for your rights. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.