Prostitution Attorney in Westchester County, New York
Prostitution is a complex subject. Some would say it’s a victimless crime, others would say that the real victims are the prostitutes. But if you have been charged with a prostitution-related crime in New York, you’re likely to have a lot of questions in your mind. We hope to be able to give you the information you need to be able to defend yourself and find the best way forward.
Through the use of websites like Craigslist and Backpage, there have been a growing number of prosecutions for prostitution-related offenses. The online chats and emails related to the websites have created a paper trail that police and prosecutors have been able to follow to aid in their prosecutions.
Prostitution in New York
Reliable figures on prostitution are notoriously difficult to come by. Researchers on sex work have some of the most unreliable research methods and work with little to no peer review. Sex workers who are recruited for prostitution studies generally come from jails and substance abuse programs, which some believe may skew results in a negative direction.
New York City has an average of 4,200 prostitution arrests per year. It’s estimated that there are as many as one million prostitutes active in the United States at any given time. There are some studies that indicate that prostitution is much less common now than it was a century ago. Demand for prostitution has dropped off in recent decades, leading to declining numbers of prostitutes and declining market rates for their services. Out of seven cities studied, five of them saw the underground sex industry shrink between 2003 and 2007.
Types of Charges
There are a variety of prostitution-related charges, involving the prostitute, the person patronizing the prostitute (often called a john), and the person promoting the prostitute (often called a pimp). The age of the prostitute can be a determining factor in the level of the charge.
Prostitution, in which a person engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee, is a class B misdemeanor. Prostitution in a school zone is a more severe offense than simple prostitution and is a class A misdemeanor.
Patronizing a person for prostitution is a class A misdemeanor unless the person patronized is less than 15 years old. When a person 18 or older patronizes someone less than 15 for prostitution, this is a class E felony, and if the person patronized is less than 11 years old it is a class D felony. Aggravated patronizing a minor for prostitution is more severely penalized and can be punished by up to 25 years in prison in the most serious cases.
Promoting prostitution happens when a person either arranges for prostitution to take place or profits from someone else’s prostitution. In the most severe cases, promoting prostitution is punishable by up to 25 years in prison, and can be a Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA) offense, requiring registration as a sex offender.
Sex trafficking is a class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison, and requires SORA registry. There are many different types of sex trafficking, but the basic similarity is that they all involve using some form of coercion in order to force someone into prostitution, and profiting from it after the fact. These can include the use of drugs, debt, blackmail, physical violence, or other means as a way to compel the other person into prostitution. Profiting from prostitution is generally much more severely treated than the act itself.
What to Do if You’ve Been Arrested
If you’ve been arrested on any prostitution-related charges, remember you have the right to remain silent. Based on our years of experience, we can tell you that you’re not likely to be able to talk your way out of an arrest. The best thing for you to do is avoid trying, because every word you say increases the risk that you might incriminate yourself.
Contact a defense attorney as soon as you can. If you’ve been charged with a prostitution-related crime, it’s important for you to know how you can defend yourself and what your best course of action will be. Talking to an experienced attorney will help you determine whether you have a chance of winning your case, or if you would be better off trying to make a deal. Don’t try to go it alone. Talk to an attorney and plan your strategy to defend yourself.
If you find yourself in need of legal counsel, contact The Law Office of Michael D. Litman online or call us.