Getting charged with a prostitution or solicitation crime in New Jersey can be humiliating. It can also result in serious long-term consequences—New Jersey has strict laws for sex crimes. It's a high price to pay for what may have been a simple misunderstanding. This will help you understand exactly what a solicitation crime is and the penalties for a conviction.
What Is the Crime of Solicitation in New Jersey?
The same New Jersey law covers both prostitution and solicitation. You can be charged with this crime if you:
- Engage in sexual activity with someone in exchange for something of economic value
- Offer or accept payment for sexual acts in exchange for some form of payment
- Promote prostitution
You could also be charged if you're involved with organizing a prostitution ring, including renting your property out to be used for prostitution. If you encourage someone to become a prostitute, you could even be charged with a crime.
The solicitation and prostitution law in New Jersey has a very broad interpretation. It can involve the buying and selling of sexual intercourse, but it can also include things such as fondling, masturbation, or a lap dance. Prosecutors can therefore charge supposed perpetrators pretty easily. However, you can defend against this charge if no money was exchanged during the alleged transaction.
Penalties for Solicitation in New Jersey
The first offense for prostitution or solicitation is a disorderly persons offense, punishable by up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. The second and any subsequent offenses are fourth-degree felonies punishable by up to 18 months in prison and fines. If you use a vehicle to commit prostitution, you can also have your driver's license suspended for up to six months.
If there was a minor involved in the offense, it bumps it up to a third-degree felony, which results in three to five years in prison and fines. You also have to add your name to the statewide sexual offender registry if a minor was involved.
The repercussions of a solicitation charge can be long-lasting. If you are convicted, you'll not only have to serve jail time, but it will stay on your criminal record.
What to Do if You're Charged With Solicitation Mistakenly
If you get accused of breaking New Jersey's solicitation law but no money exchanged hands, you should defend the charges against you. The penalties are far too high for you to risk defending yourself alone, too. Call New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at the Lento Law Firm. We can help with your solicitation charge and guide you on how best to handle your situation. Call us at 888-535-3686 or contact us online to book an appointment.