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Charlotte NC Attorneys at Law
Rosensteel Fleishman

Prostitution

There are several crimes relating to prostitution in North Carolina. All prostitution crimes are serious and potentially punishable by jail time. If you have been charged with a prostitution crime, an experienced defense attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether a dismissal or reduction of charges is possible. Contact Mr. Rosensteel as soon as possible so that he can determine the best course of action for you.

The North Carolina prostitution laws were rewritten in 2013, after being virtually unchanged since 1919. The statutes define prostitution as “[t]he performance of, offer of, or agreement to perform vaginal intercourse, any sexual act …, or any sexual contact …, for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification for any money or other consideration.” (G.S. 14-203)

A “sexual act” is defined as “cunnilingus, fellatio, analingus, or anal intercourse, but does not include vaginal intercourse. Sexual act also means the penetration, however slight, by any object into the genital or anal opening of another person’s body: provided, that it shall be an affirmative defense that the penetration was for accepted medical purposes.” (G.S. 14-27.1)

“Sexual contact” is defined as “(i) touching the sexual organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks of any person, (ii) a person touching another person with their own sexual organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks, or (iii) a person ejaculating, emitting, or placing semen, urine, or feces upon any part of another person.” (G.S. 14-27.1)

A person commits the crime of prostitution when he “willfully engages in prostitution.” A person convicted of the crime of prostitution is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. North Carolina statute provides that a person who commits a Class 1 misdemeanor receives a sentence between 1 day and 120 days, depending on their prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions cannot receive more than a 45-day sentence, and this sentence must be community punishment. However, it is possible for a person with one or more prior convictions to receive active jail time as a punishment.

The prostitution statute provides that if a person has not been previously convicted of or placed on probation for prostitution, then that person can plead guilty to the crime of prostitution and be placed on probation for a period of 12 months. If the person fulfills the conditions of probation, then, at the end of the probation period, the court is to discharge the person and dismiss the proceedings. This is called a conditional discharge and is not treated as a conviction. However, a person may receive only one conditional discharge for prostitution.

The conditions that the person must fulfill for conditional discharge are to

  • not violate any criminal statute of any jurisdiction,
  • refrain from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon,
  • submit to periodic drug testing at a time and in a manner as ordered by the court, but no less than three times during the period of the probation, with the cost of the testing to be paid by the probationer,
  • obtain a vocational assessment administered by a program approved by the court,
  • attend no fewer than 10 counseling sessions administered by a program approved by the court, and
  • comply with any other conditions that the court may require.

 

Minors (anyone under the age of 18) are immune from prosecution for prostitution under the prostitution statute. Instead, a minor who is suspected of violating the prostitution statute is to be taken into temporary protective custody as an undisciplined juvenile.

 

Solicitation of Prostitution

The solicitation of prostitution is a separate crime from that a prostitution. A person commits the crime of solicitation of prostitution when he “solicits another for the purpose of prostitution.” (G.S. 14-205.1) It is not necessary for a person to complete an act of sexual conduct to violate the solicitation of prostitution statute, only to agree or offer to complete an act of sexual conduct in exchange for some consideration.

A person who is convicted of solicitation of prostitution is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class H felony for a second or subsequent offense. North Carolina statute provides that a person who commits a Class 1 misdemeanor receives a sentence between 1 day and 120 days, depending on their prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions cannot receive more than a 45-day sentence, and this sentence must be community punishment. However, it is possible for a person with one or more prior convictions to receive active jail time as a punishment. A person who commits a Class H felony must receive a sentence between 4 and 25 months, depending on the person’s prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive a community or intermediate punishment, but the court is permitted to sentence any person convicted of a Class H felony to active jail time.

If a person over the age of 18 years willfully solicits a minor for prostitution, that person is guilty of a Class G felony. North Carolina law provides that a person who commits a Class G felony must receive a sentence between 8 and 31 months, depending on the person’s prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive an intermediate punishment, but the court is permitted to sentence any person convicted of a Class G felony to active jail time.

If a person willfully solicits a person who is “severely or profoundly mentally disabled” for prostitution, that person is guilty of a Class E felony. A person with no prior convictions who is found guilty of a Class E felony receives a sentence between 15 and 31 months of imprisonment. However, prior convictions can increase the sentence to up to 63 months. A person with no prior convictions may receive intermediate punishment, but any person convicted of a Class E felony may receive active jail time.

Anyone convicted of solicitation of prostitution may also be required to participate in a “John School.”

 

Patronizing a Prostitute

A person violates the patronizing a prostitute statute when he willfully, with a person not his spouse,

  • engages in vaginal intercourse, a sexual act, or sexual contact for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification with a prostitute, or
  • enters or remains in a place of prostitution with the intent to engage in vaginal intercourse, a sexual act, or sexual contact for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

(G.S. 14-205.2)

A person who commits the crime of patronizing a prostitute is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor for the first offense, and a Class G felony for a second or subsequent offense. The punishment for a Class A1 misdemeanor ranges from 1-150 days, depending on prior convictions. While a person with no prior convictions might receive a community punishment, he might also receive an active punishment. North Carolina law provides that a person who commits a Class G felony must receive a sentence between 8 and 31 months, depending on the person’s prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive an intermediate punishment, but the court is permitted to sentence any person convicted of a Class G felony to active jail time.

If a person who is at least 18 years old patronizes a prostitute who is a minor, that person is guilty of a Class F felony. A person who commits a Class F felony must be sentenced to punishment between 10 and 41 months, depending on prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive intermediate punishment, but any person convicted of a Class F felony may receive active jail time.

If a person patronizes a prostitute who is severely or profoundly mentally disabled, that person is guilty of a Class D felony. A Class D felony is punishable by a sentence ranging from 38 to 160 months, depending on prior convictions. Anyone who has committed a Class D felony must be sentenced to active jail time.

 

Promoting Prostitution

A person commits the crime of promoting prostitution if he willfully either advances prostitution or profits from prostitution. (G.S. 14-205.3)

A person advances prostitution when he, acting as other than a prostitute or a patron of a prostitute,

  • Solicits another for prostitution.
  • Arranges or offers to arrange a meeting of persons for prostitution.
  • Directs another to a place knowing the direction is for prostitution.
  • Uses the Internet, including any social media Web site, to solicit another for prostitution.

A person also advances prostitution by keeping a place of prostitution (which means “controlling or exercising control over the use of any place that could offer seclusion or shelter for the practice of prostitution”) and performing any of the following acts, acting as other than a prostitute or a patron of a prostitute:

  • Knowingly granting or permitting the use of the place for prostitution.
  • Granting or permitting the use of the place under circumstances from which the person should reasonably know that the place is used or is to be used for prostitution.
  • Permitting the continued use of the place when the person should know that the place is being used for prostitution.

 

A person profits from prostitution when he receives “anything of value for personally rendered prostitution services” or receives “anything of value from a prostitute, if the thing received is not for lawful consideration and the person knows it was earned in whole or in part from the practice of prostitution,” when acting as other than a prostitute.

A person convicted of promoting prostitution is guilty of a Class F felony. A person who commits a Class F felony must be sentenced to punishment between 10 and 41 months, depending on prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive intermediate punishment, but any person convicted of a Class F felony may receive active jail time.

If a person has been previously convicted of any prostitution offense and is convicted of promoting prostitution, that person is guilty of a Class E felony. A Class E felony is punishable by a sentence ranging from 15 to 63 months, depending on prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive intermediate punishment, but any person convicted of a Class E felony may receive active jail time.

A person who promotes the prostitution of a minor or mentally disabled person is guilty of a Class D felony. A Class D felony is punishable by a sentence ranging from 38 to 160 months, depending on prior convictions. Anyone who has committed a Class D felony must be sentenced to active jail time.

If a person has been previously convicted of any prostitution offense and is convicted of promoting the prostitution of a minor or mentally disabled person, that person is guilty of a Class C felony. A person who commits a Class C felony must be sentenced to punishment between 44 and 182 months, depending on prior convictions, and this punishment must be active jail time.

If a person promotes the prostitution of a minor or mentally disabled person either by confining the minor or mentally disabled person against their will by infliction of bodily harm or threat of infliction of bodily harm or by administering an alcoholic intoxicant or drug against their will, that person is guilty of a Class C felony.

If you have been charged with a prostitution crime, contact an attorney at Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC (704) 714-1450, to discuss your options.