Rockland County Prostitution Lawyer
Although prostitution is very much a crime in Rockland County, New York Penal Law recognizes that many people who engage in prostitution are more than a criminal and can be the person who is being harmed. Still, allegations of prostitution are serious matters. Even if an individual was forced into the activity, they must raise this affirmative defense during trial, a complicated procedure that often requires a deft legal hand from a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Other defendants must rely on more traditional defenses to prostitution charges. Regarding your specific circumstances, a Rockland County prostitution lawyer could help you stand up for your rights in court and contest the prosecutor’s case when facing allegations of prostitution.
Prostitution as Defined by New York Penal Law
New York Penal Law §230.00 affirms that it is illegal for any person to engage in sexual conduct with another in exchange for a fee. This includes not just sexual intercourse, but any kind of sexual contact between two people.
Any person who participates in this sale or offers to do so is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. This means that a conviction can result in up to three months in jail or up to one year of probation. The serious penalties associated with prostitution is why a defendant should retain the services of a Rockland County prostitution lawyer.
Can the Penalties for Prostitution be Enhanced?
While prostitution is typically a Class B misdemeanor, this is not always the case. A prosecutor may enhance the penalty for prostitution to a Class A misdemeanor if they can establish the offense occurred within a school zone. A school zone not only includes the physical boundaries of a school, but also any open property or sidewalks nearby.
To enhance the penalties of a conviction in this manner, the prosecutor must show the defendant was at least 19 years of age. They must also show the offense occurred during school hours or when schoolchildren could see the act take place.
Affirmative Defense Against Prostitution Charges
In general, the basic premise of how prostitution may be charged as a crime is simple. Where the law becomes more complicated is in the understanding that many people who engage in prostitution are doing so against their will. Because of this, New York Penal Law §230.01 provides for an affirmative defense under such circumstances.
An affirmative defense means that the defendant in the case admits to the illegal activity, but argues that they were justified by the law in doing so. In other words, that they know they did something wrong but they have an explanation of how or why their actions were not their fault. Specifically, the law states that any person accused of prostitution can raise the affirmative defense that they are a victim of compelling prostitution or sex trafficking under New York law, or sex trafficking under United States law. As with any affirmative defense, the defendant in such a case has the responsibility to gather evidence to satisfy the burden of proof at trial.
Other Defenses to Prostitution Charges
It should be noted that most defendants charged with prostitution cannot use the affirmative defense established by New York Penal Law. Instead, they could mount a defense that argues there was no business aspect to their sexual encounter. They may also be able to argue that their arrest was simply a case of mistaken identity.
Finally, some defendants may argue that the police used entrapment to trick them into committing a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. An experienced criminal attorney could help defendants determine the defense that works best for them and argue on their behalf in court.
What Should Someone Look for in a Prostitution Defense Attorney?
While there are countless attorneys in the Bronx, only a select few might have the skill and experience needed to successfully defend a prostitution case. There are a number of factors every person facing these charges should take into account when seeking out legal counsel.
The first consideration is relevant experience. It is not enough to have an attorney that has practiced law for years. A person facing these charges could benefit from the guidance of a lawyer that has handled prostitution cases in the past.
Personality is also important. Anyone charged with a crime is likely to work closely with their attorney for months or even years. It is best to find someone that is agreeable on a personal level. It is also helpful to find legal counsel who has solid communication skills. Receiving straightforward advice is helpful. What is more, an attorney that is easily reachable and returns phone calls is also important.
Get in Touch with a Rockland County Prostitution Attorney
While rare, a conviction on prostitution charges can result in being sent to jail and receiving a criminal record. This record could make it difficult to obtain a job and may even affect where you could live. As such, it is often vital to take steps to protect yourself if you are accused of prostitution.
Hiring a Rockland County prostitution lawyer could be the best first step to take, as a dedicated attorney could work to examine all the fact of the case, listen to your side of the story, and develop a defense to protect their rights in court. Every case is unique and should be approached with an informed perspective, so call a Rockland County prostitution lawyer today to see what might be possible in yours.