Much debate surrounds the sex industry in Las Vegas. Nevada remains the only state to allow legal “licensed houses of prostitution.” However, Las Vegas and Clark County Nevada do not allow for licensed houses of prostitution. There are only certain select towns and counties in Nevada that have legalized prostitution. Local law enforcement officers in the Las Vegas area and throughout Clark County use undercover officers in sting operations to target individuals engaging in prostitution, pandering, sex trafficking, and running illegal brothels.
If you have been charged with prostitution, solicitation, pandering, or another sex-industry related crime, contact our Law Office at (702) 382-2000 immediately for a free consultation on your behalf.
Definition of Solicitation
Solicitation falls under an attempted crime under Nevada Law. Solicitation of prostitution means offering or agreeing to engage in prostitution. Even if the actual sexual favors and money were never exchanged, that act of soliciting is illegal because merely asking or accepting an offer to trade sex for something of value is illegal under Nevada law.
Definition of Prostitution
Under Nevada Revised Statutes 201.354, it is unlawful for any person to engage in prostitution except in a licensed house of prostitution. Clack County ordinance 12.08.015 also states that prostitution is illegal in Clark County which also includes Las Vegas.
In plain English, prostitution is the act of trading sexual favors for a fee. Money does not have to actually have to be used and sexual penetration does not have to actually occur. If there is an exchange of anything of value such as drugs, jewelry, clothes, etc. then that could count as the “fee.”
In addition, the sexual favor does not have to be sexual intercourse. As long as something of value is exchanged for anything that could arouse, it is possible to be accused of prostitution.
Penalties for Solicitation or Prostitution
The penalties for solicitation and prostitution are found in NRS 201.354. Generally solicitation and prostitution are misdemeanors punishable by fines up to $1,000 and/or a maximum of 6 months in jail.
Judges tend to hand down harsher sentences to prostitutes if the person engaging in prostitution is a repeat offender. In addition to potential prison sentences, those people who are employed as exotic dancers often suffer additional penalties as they will not be able to receive a sheriff’s card if they have a prostitution record. This means that they will not be able to get a job in a strip club, night club, many restaurants, or any other position where it is required to have a sheriff’s card to work.
Las Vegas Prostitution Sting Operations
Las Vegas is known for sexually explicit entertainment. Specifically, Las Vegas is a prime location for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Because of the popular slogan, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” people are prone to make problematic decisions while they are visiting here because the goal is to have a good time. Unfortunately, there are a number of undercover sting operations that operate in major casinos on and off the strip.
Male undercover officers pose as tourists in bars, lounges, and nightclubs trying to find people allegedly willing to offer or agree to pay for sex. Undercover officers can also work in escort services, strip clubs, and massage parlors to find people willing to allegedly pay for sexual favors.
Unfortunately many of the stings are done without any sort of video or audio recordings, and it is therefore very difficult to hear or see what actually happened. This means, when in trial, it is the officer’s word against the alleged prostitute’s word. Because of this, it is extremely important to have an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney representing your side of the story in court.
The Entrapment Defense in Prostitution Cases in Las Vegas, NV
Under Nevada Law, the definition of entrapment includes circumstances in which an individual is induced or persuaded by law enforcement to commit a crime that he or she had not intended to commit. Public policy forbids a conviction in entrapment cases. To prove an entrapment defense, you must show:
- The idea for committing the crime came from the government agents and not from the person accused of the crime;
- The government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime; and
- The person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government agents spoke with the person accused of the crime.
Other Defenses to Solicitation Charges
Only an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney will be able to craft a successful defense based on the facts of your particular case. There are a number of common defenses that can be used in most situations:
- The offer or agreement was too ambiguous – Nevada law requires “overt solicitation” which means that there must be a clear agreement to trade money or something else of value for sex or other sexual favors. If there is no clear and obvious agreement, then there is insufficient evidence to bring solicitation charges.
- Mistake – It is possible that the situation was a misunderstanding and there was no real intent to solicit. Usually a solicitation case is based on circumstantial evidence so it is possible to color the facts to make is it seem that solicitation occurred when it really didn’t happen.
If you are facing prostitution or solicitation charges in Las Vegas, contact the Law Office of Mark Coburn immediately for a free, private legal consultation. Attorney Mark Coburn is a trusted, experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer dedicated to helping clients avoid the negative consequences that arise from prostitution and solicitation charges. Call our office today at (702) 382-2000 or follow the link below.