Many people engage in prostitution because they don't believe they have any other options. But if you want to move on with your life, and you have a prostitution conviction or a related charge in your background, you're undoubtedly concerned that this can affect you in the future, particularly concerning your career. Fortunately, the state of New Jersey may allow you to obtain a court order to expunge or remove your criminal history.
Prostitution Charges in New Jersey
In New Jersey, it is illegal to sell sex or sexual activity. A person engages in prostitution if they engage in, offer to engage in, or accept an offer to engage in sexual activity for money or something else of value. Sexual activity under the prostitution statute includes:
- Vaginal, oral, and anal sex
- Sadomasochistic activities
See N.J.S.A § 2C:34-1 (2013). Typically, prostitution is a disorderly persons offense, equivalent to a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Second and subsequent offenses become fourth-degree indictable offenses, equivalent to a felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Other prostitution-related crimes include loitering, promoting prostitution, racketeering, and child prostitution.
- Promoting Prostitution
Promoting the prostitution of your spouse or encouraging another person to engage in prostitution, managing a prostitution house, or procuring a prostitute for a prostitution business is a third-degree indictable offense, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Other types of promoting prostitution are fourth-degree indictable offenses, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. See N.J.S.A. § 2C:43-6 (2013).
Loitering to promote prostitution is also a crime. See N.J.S.A. § 2C:43-1.1 (2013). For example, standing on a corner known for prostitution and trying to flag down passing drivers could result in a loitering charge. It is a disorderly persons offense, equivalent to a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Second and subsequent offenses are fourth-degree indictable offenses, punishable by 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
If you engage in promoting prostitution two or more times within ten years, you can also face a racketeering charge. Racketeering is a second-degree indictable offense, punishable by five to ten years in prison and up to a $150,000 fine. See N.J.S.A. § 2C:43-6 (2013).
- Child Prostitution
Promoting the prostitution of a child is a second-degree indictable offense, punishable by five to ten years in prison and up to a $150,000 fine. Other types of child prostitution are third-degree indictable offenses, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Who Is Eligible to Expunge a Conviction in New Jersey?
You may be eligible to expunge a prostitution conviction in New Jersey, depending on your additional criminal history, how long it's been since you completed your sentence, and the severity of your conviction. New Jersey law offers several options to expunge a criminal conviction or arrest, depending on your circumstances.
- Traditional Pathway Expungement
New Jersey's traditional expungement pathway allows you to expunge one indictable offense and up to three disorderly persons offenses, or five disorderly offenses or petty disorderly offenses. You must wait five years after completing your sentence and paying your fines.
- Early Pathway Expungement
New Jersey's early pathway expungement may be an option if you've complied with all the court's requirements, have no further arrests or convictions, and have compelling circumstances such asjob or educational opportunities.The early pathway option will allow you to expunge your record three years after completing your sentence.
- Clean Slate Expungement
The Clean Slate pathway is the newest expungement option under New Jersey law. You can expunge your entire criminal record ten years after completing your sentence and pay all fines. You can expunge your record under Clean Slate even if you were ineligible under the traditional pathway because you have multiple indictable offenses or had previously expunged your record.
You can determine the best pathway for expunging your prostitution record by consulting with an experienced New Jersey expungement lawyer well-versed in criminal defense law.
Can I Expunge My Prostitution Conviction?
If your prostitution conviction is a disorderly persons offense, you may be eligible to have the conviction expunged after three to five years. For indictable offenses related to prostitution, you may be eligible to expunge the conviction, along with up to three disorderly persons offenses, in five years. Even if you don't qualify to expunge your prostitution record under the traditional or early pathways, you may be eligible to expunge your entire prostitution record ten years after completing your sentence.
Certain crimes are never eligible for expungement or record sealing in New Jersey. These crimes include those that are more serious, like murder and sexual assault, and many crimes involving children, such as promoting child prostitution, sexual contact with a child, or causing or permitting a child to engage in a sexual act. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2.
Sealing a New Jersey Criminal Record
If you can't have your record expunged in New Jersey, you may be eligible to seal it. Sealing removes your record from public view; however, the records still exist. It differs from expungement because the records still exist but can only be seen in limited circumstances. However, the best way to determine if you may be eligible to expunge or seal your New Jersey prostitution conviction is by consulting with an experienced expungement lawyer.
Hire an Experienced New Jersey Expungement Attorney
If you have one or more convictions for prostitution in New Jersey, it can limit your educational and job opportunities. Don't let your criminal record keep you from having the future and job you want. An experienced New Jersey expungement attorney well-versed in criminal defense law can help. Attorney Joseph Lento and his team at The Lento Law Firm have helped many people in New Jersey clean up criminal history and arrest records for years. They can help you too. Give them a call today at 888-535-3686 or contact them online to schedule your consultation.