Prostitution Law in North Carolina – Interesting Considerations

by | Feb 5, 2020 | Blog Posts, NC Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Prostitution law in North Carolina – interesting considerations – Prostitution is an interesting topic in regards to North Carolina criminal law. It is one of the few instances where two consenting adults can decide to do something together, that doesn’t involve any illegal drugs or any contraband, but is still illegal.  There are debates on whether prostitution should even be illegal but that is not what we will discuss today.

We have previously written about prostitution in North Carolina, but this blog will focus on some more nuances. Specifically, we will discuss how it is punished regarding who, what, and how many times something happened.  Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not as substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.

Not every party to prostitution is charged the same

In general, prostitution is the offering or receiving of sex for compensation. The activity itself can be in reference to the buyer or the seller of the sexual services.  Not all the charges related to prostitution are charged the same, however, including but not limited to some of the examples below:

  • Under North Carolina General Statute 14-204, a first offense of prostitution would be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor under the North Carolina misdemeanor sentencing guidelines. This would seem to indicate that this is what the prostitute or “seller” would be charged with.
  • Under North Carolina General Statute 14-205.2, a first offense of patronizing a prostitute would be charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor under the North Carolina misdemeanor sentencing guidelines. This would seem to indicate that the person who is procuring the services of the prostitute or the “buyer”, would be charged with a crime that is one class higher than the prostitute would be.

The charge is not the same every time

Regarding prostitution charges, the first time will be the least severe.  Most prostitution charges (which are numerous) are a misdemeanor if the defendant does not have any prior convictions regarding prostitution. Once they have been convicted of a crime involving prostitution, however, if they are charged again, they are typically charged with a felony and must face the consequences spelled out in the North Carolina Felony Sentencing Guidelines.

The personal characteristics of the people involved matters

Regarding patronizing a prostitute, it is not just a prior conviction that the defendant must worry about. They must also be concerned with the characteristics of the prostitute involved in the transaction.  Two major considerations come into play in this regard:

  • Patronizing a prostitute becomes a Class F felony if the defendant was at least 18 years old and the prostitute was a minor.
  • Patronizing a prostitute becomes a Class D felony if the prostitute had severe or profound mental disability.

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