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New Jersey Prostitution Charges – NJSA 2C:34-1

NJ Defense Attorney For Prostitution Charges

Have you been charged with a prostitution-related crime? Buying, selling, and promoting sex is illegal in New Jersey, which means a conviction can impact you for the rest of your life.  An experienced prostitution defense attorney understands New Jersey’s laws and the court system, giving you the best chance of getting your charges reduced or dropped. 

Contact The Law Office of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC at 800-418-8578 for a confidential and free consultation to discuss the details of your case and determine the best path forward for your circumstances. Below you will find in-depth information about New Jersey laws related to prostitution and the potential penalties you face if convicted, so you have a better idea of the charges you face.

New Jersey Prostitution Laws

New Jersey law NJSA 2C:34-1 defines prostitution as “sexual activity with another person in exchange for something of economic value, or the offer or acceptance of an offer to engage in sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value.” Yet, a prostitution offense can include other activities, too. Continue reading to learn about the specific law and penalties for promoting prostitution, loitering to engage in prostitution, and improperly operating a sexually oriented business.

Promoting Prostitution – NJSA 2C:34-1(B)1

Informally referred to as pimping, promoting prostitution includes a wide array of activities under New Jersey law. If you have been charged with promoting prostitution, you have committed one or more of the following acts:

  • Involvement with a prostitution ring or brothel in any capacity, including ownership, management, and supervisory positions
  • Actively encouraging or inducing another to become or remain a prostitute
  • Finding a client for a prostitute or finding a prostitute for a client
  • Transporting a prostitute or lining up and paying for transportation for a prostitute
  • Leasing a property to another for the purpose of prostitution or promoting prostitution or failing to evict a tenant who you know is using your property for prostitution

Loitering to Engage in Prostitution – NJSA 2C:34-1.1

Law enforcement can charge prostitutes and their clients for loitering to engage in prostitution. Specific activities punishable under New Jersey law include:

  • Wandering or remaining in a public place to engage in prostitution or promoting prostitution
  • Engages in conduct that will likely lead to prostitution or promoting prostitution
  • Repeatedly calling or stopping pedestrians or drivers in a public place
  • Converse with passers-by in an effort to offer sexual services
  • Repeatedly stopping or attempting to stop vehicles

Operating a Sexually Oriented Business Requirements NJSA 2C:34-7

Under New Jersey law, a sexually oriented business refers to any commercial operation that sells, rents, or displays, printed material, photos, movies, and other items that depict sexual activity or sex organs. Sexually oriented businesses also include those who sell sex toys or feature live performances of sexual activity and displays of sexual anatomy.  Although these types of businesses are allowed in New Jersey, they must comply with very specific laws regarding their location and signage, which include:

  • Business owners must build their sex shops at least 1,000 feet away from other sex shops, places of religious worship, schools, bus stops, public playgrounds, hospitals, childcare centers, and residential areas.
  • Sexually oriented business owners must build a 50-foot wide buffer around their property with shrubs, a fence, or another type of divider, so they can block their interior view from outsiders. In some cases, the specific city requires additional buffers.
  • Sexually oriented businesses cannot display more than two signs on the outside of their property. One sign, which cannot be larger than 40 square feet, provides identification and another sign must give notice that minors cannot enter.

Penalties for Prostitution Related Crimes in New Jersey

Many states categorize crimes as felony or misdemeanor charges. New Jersey is not one of them. Instead, New Jersey divides criminal charges into indictable offenses and disorderly persons offenses. Depending on your specific prostitution charges you can face a disorderly persons offense or first-, second-, third-, or fourth-degree indictable offense. Keep reading for examples of each offense and associated penalties:

Disorderly Persons Offenses

First-time offenders who have committed crimes that fall under the umbrella of loitering to engage in prostitution typically face disorderly persons offenses, which come with up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Indictable Offenses

  • First-degree. Most prostitution-related charges involving minors under age 18 are first-degree indictable offenses. They include promoting prostitution of a minor or promoting prostitution of your own child or dependent. A conviction will result in 10 to 20 years in prison and a minimum of a $25,000 fine.
  • Second-degree. Those who solicit or engage in prostitution with a minor, regardless of whether they knew the prostitute was underage have committed a second-degree indictable offense, punishable with five to 10 years in prison, and a minimum $25,000 fine.
  • Third-degree. An individual who tries to persuade another or their spouse to engage in or promote prostitution has committed a third-degree indictable offense, punishable by three to five years of jail time, and a minimum $10,000 fine.
  • Fourth-degree. Those who have multiple disorderly personal offenses risk getting charged with a fourth-degree offense, which comes with up to 18 months in jail. Additionally, all offenses related to the requirement for operating a sexually oriented business are also fourth-degree indictable offenses.

Keep in mind that whether you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense, you also face court fees. If you used a vehicle to solicit, engage in, or promote prostitution, you also face losing your drivers’ license for a period of time.

Get the Defense You Need from a Skilled New Jersey Prostitution Defense Attorney

Getting convicted of a prostitution charge will have a negative impact on your life. If you face some of the more serious charges, a conviction will stay on your record without the chance of expungement, or you will need to wait ten years. This means you not only suffer from the social stigma that comes with prostitution charges, but you might have professional and personal consequences. Contact The Law Office of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC online or call  800-418-8578 for a free consultation to discuss your case and get the defense you need.

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