The Nevada Legislature recently passed a law -- NRS 207.203 -- aiming to rehabilitate rather than punish prostitutes and "johns." Eligible defendants may be able to have their solicitation charge completely dismissed without any jail time.
In this article our Nevada criminal defense attorneys explain the "Nevada sex crime of repeat solicitation" (also called "repeat prostitution"). Continue reading to learn the definition of the crime, how to fight the charges, possible penalties, and how to avoid a conviction.
Ordinarily, people arrested for soliciting prostitution face charges for the Nevada crime of solicitation. But if a person gets arrested for soliciting in a casino ... and if he/she has three (3) solicitation convictions from the last five (5) years ... then he/she will instead be charged with the Nevada crime of repeat solicitation. The official legal name for this offense is:
Unlawful trespass upon licensed gaming establishment by person previously convicted of prostitution or solicitation of prostitution.
This is a very narrow Nevada crime that applies only to people suspected of prostitution in casinos who have exactly three past convictions in the immediately preceding five years. Boulder City criminal defense attorney Michael Becker gives some examples:
Anne, Betty and Claudia are prostitutes in Las Vegas with three prostitution convictions each from the last five years:
Anne goes to the Green Valley Ranch and solicits prostitution from an undercover cop. The cop then arrests and books her at the Henderson Detention Center. Anne may then be convicted of" repeat solicitation" because she was caught soliciting in a casino and has three past prostitution convictions in the previous five years.
Meanwhile Betty goes to Jerry's Nugget to have breakfast and asks a man for directions. A cop recognizes Betty as a prostitute and assumes she's soliciting a john. The cop then arrests Betty and books her at the North Las Vegas Detention Center on charges of "repeat solicitation." However, Betty shouldn't be convicted of any prostitution crime because she was not in the casino for the purpose of prostitution.
Finally Claudia goes to the Trump Hotel and has sex for money with a hotel guest. A cop finds out and arrests Claudia and books her at the Clark County Detention Center on charges of "repeat solicitation." But because Trump Hotel is not a gaming establishment, Claudia may face only regular solicitation charges.
Note that it's possible for "johns" to be arrested for "repeat solicitation" as well. Anyone caught in a casino paying money for sexual favors ... or offering or agreeing to pay money for sexual favors ... may face "repeat solicitation" charges as long as they have three solicitation convictions from the past five years.
Prostitution charges versus "repeat prostitution" charges
Typical penalties for prostitution in Nevada include fines and/or community service and a short educational class on the perils of prostitution. Sometimes these punishments deter people from committing prostitution again ... but often they don't.
The purpose of charging someone with "repeat prostitution" instead of straight prostitution is to give career prostitutes and compulsive "johns" an opportunity to get intensive counseling and/or drug rehabilitation. The reward for successfully completing this treatment is a full dismissal of the "repeat prostitution" charge.
However, defendants in "repeat prostitution" cases who choose not to get counseling ... or who don't complete counseling ... face standard solicitation punishments of fines and/or jail. Furthermore, the conviction goes on their criminal record.
How dismissals of repeat prostitution charges work in Nevada
The biggest advantage for Nevada defendants who get a "repeat prostitution" charge dismissed by completing counseling is this: They may then legally deny having been arrested or charged with "repeat prostitution" during future job interviews and on questionnaires. However, there are two instances where a past "repeat prostitution" charge may come up in the future:
1) A professional licensing board may consider an applicant's past charge of "repeat prostitution" in determining suitability for a license or liability to discipline for misconduct. Therefore, the applicant is obligated to tell the board about the charge if asked about his/her criminal record; and
2) If the defendant is ever charged with prostitution again, then the judge may consider the past "repeat prostitution" charge as a conviction when the judge sets bail or imposes punishments. North Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse explains:
Jen's "repeat solicitation" charge in Nevada is dismissed after she successfully completes drug rehab. But she then falls off the wagon and is later caught and convicted of soliciting prostitution again. At sentencing, the judge will treat the previous "repeat solicitation" charge as a conviction and may impose harsher punishments than the judge would have if Jen hadn't been previously charged with "repeat solicitation."
Note that a defendant may get a "repeat prostitution" charge dismissed through counseling and/or rehab only one time. Therefore Jen in the above example would not be given the opportunity to have the second "repeat prostitution" charge dismissed a second time.
NRS 207.203 is a very new crime in Nevada with no legal precedent. This allows defense attorneys to get creative in crafting strategies to fight charges. Possible defenses include the following:
- No criminal intent. "Repeat prostitution" offenders may enter casinos as long as they don't intend to commit a crime there or haven't been asked by the casino to stay away. If the prosecution can't provide proof that the defendant committed ...or attempted to commit ... a crime in the casino, then the defendant shouldn't be held criminally liable.
- False accusations. Sometimes people wrongly accuse others out of anger, revenge, or an innocent mistake. If the defense attorney can show that the defendant was the victim of false allegations of prostitution, criminal charges should not stand.
- Insufficient evidence. In every criminal case the prosecution bears the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict the defendant. If the defense attorney in a "repeat solicitation" case can show that the state's evidence isn't adequate or reliable enough to meet this standard, then the charge should be dismissed.
Defendants in NRS 207.203 cases who go on probation and successfully complete counseling and/or rehab will get the charge dismissed. The defendant may then immediately petition to get his/her record sealed so that the charge won't show up on his/her background check. Learn more about sealing criminal records in Nevada.
Note that defendants who enter counseling and rehab are expected to pay for the treatment as well as for any required supervision. But the court may place defendants who cannot afford treatment into programs that receive government funding to offset the costs.
Meanwhile, defendants who don't enter counseling or fail to complete the program will be convicted of a misdemeanor in Nevada. This carries a maximum penalty of:
- six months in jail, and/or
Note that the judge may order that the defendant perform community service in lieu of fines and incarceration. Also note that defendants convicted of this charge will have to wait one (1) year after the case has closed before they may petition the court to seal the record.
Charged with a crime? Call a lawyer for help ...
If you've been accused of soliciting in a casino, call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation. We may be able to keep you out of jail and to get the entire charge dismissed.
We represent clients throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Washoe County, Reno, Carson City, Laughlin, Mesquite, Bunkerville, Moapa, Elko, Pahrump, Searchlight and Tonopah.