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NRS 201.295 and 201.354 - " Engaging in Prostitution and Soliciting Prostitution" in Nevada

In Nevada, a prostitute is defined by NRS 201.295 as “a male or female who for a fee, monetary consideration or other thing of value engages in sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact or any touching of the sexual organs or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of either person”. 

NRS 201.354 makes it a crime for anyone to engage in, or solicit, prostitution. The crime of solicitation of prostitution does not require penetration. To be guilty one must:

  1. Offer or agree to some exchange;
  2. For an act of prostitution

Both the solicitor (John) and the prostitute can be convicted of the same offense. In Nevada, prostitution has a very broad definition. For instance, you could be convicted of solicitation of prostitution if you pay for something as simple as to squeeze a breast. Recently, the vice squad of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police were using a tactic where a police officer would approach a suspected prostitute and ask her how much it would cost to let him “cum on her titties.” Many defendants did not believe this was an act of prostitution, because there was no penetration. They found out they were wrong the hard way.

There are many ways the prosecution can go about proving that soliciting prostitution occurred. For example, there are peripheral factors such as: a) sexually provocative attire; b) carrying large amounts of cash or drugs; or c) carrying a client contact list, d) loitering in an area known to be frequented by prostitutes and/or johns, etc. that can convince a judge that a person was engaging in the act of soliciting prostitution.

Legal Prostitution in Nevada

Many laypeople believe that prostitution is legal in the State of Nevada. This is only partially true. Nevada has legalized prostitution in counties that have a population of less than 400,000, or where it is specifically banned by the local or county government. This keeps prostitution illegal in Clark County (where Las Vegas sits), and the local governments of Douglas, Lincoln, and Washoe Counties have passed specific laws against prostitution. Also, Carson City has specifically banned prostitution.

There are many legalized brothels in other counties in Nevada. Specifically, many tourists travel to Pahrump, which is in Nye County, to participate in legalized prostitution. Nye County is a county with less than a 400,000 population, and it has not passed laws against prostitution.Penalties

In Nevada, solicitation of prostitution is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by six months in the Clark County Detention Center and a $1000 fine. Generally, most defendants that are convicted of solicitation of prostitution end up paying a $250 fine, taking an AIDS awareness class, and having an order which requires them to have no further arrests for a period of time.

If the defendant has had a positive test for HIV and there was proper notice given to the defendant, the penalty for solicitation of prostitution is a category B felony in Nevada. This is punishable by two to ten years in the Nevada State Prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

If the offense involves a child, the offense is an E felony, which is punishable by one to four years in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines. If the child is old enough, the offense is probationable. Also, other sex offenses with a child can be charged, such as statutory sexual assault and lewdness with a child under 14, if those offenses apply.

Plea Bargains

In many instances, someone who is charged with a first offense of solicitation of prostitution will end up doing the AIDS awareness class, paying a small fine, and the case will be dismissed. For those who have been arrested a couple of times before, we may be able to obtain a plea bargain that results in some lower, less stigmatic conviction, such as trespassing or disturbing the peace. Those repeat offenders who have been arrested and charged numerous times, generally face convictions for the offenses and higher fines. If you are a repeat offender, it is vital that you have an experienced attorney versed in the law of solicitation of prostitution, as we may be able to help you avoid a conviction.