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Overview of prostitution as a crime in New Jersey

In New Jersey, the crime of prostitution is a misdemeanor for a first offense. Second and subsequent offenses, however, can be felonies. Still, a New Jersey criminal defense attorney would be able to tell our readers that there are certain elements that must be proven by the prosecution in order to get a criminal conviction.

First, it must be proven that there was an offer or an acceptance of sexual activity. This can be the first area where a strong criminal defense strategy might be able to cause problems for the prosecution. What is sexual activity? Sometimes it is obvious, but not always. Next, it needs to be shown that there was not only an offer or acceptance of sexual activity, but also that the offer or acceptance was in exchange for something of value. It is important to point out here that this means the deal doesn't always have to be for money.

Lastly, and perhaps most difficult to prove, is that the parties involved in the alleged transaction intended to commit prostitution or solicitation for prostitution. Intent is always difficult to prove, no matter what criminal charge is involved in a case. It is the same for a prostitution charge. In New Jersey, a person could also be charged with promoting prostitution. This type of charge could involve a number of different scenarios, such as encouraging a person to engage in prostitution, owning or managing a location that serves as a house of prostitution or transporting a person so that the individual can engage in prostitution.

With second and subsequent offenses rising to felony status, defending against a prostitution charge should be taken seriously. Some convictions on prostitution-related charges carry the penalty of being on the sex offender registry. Anyone who is charged with prostitution in New Jersey will likely want to get more information about their defense options.

Source: FindLaw, "New Jersey Prostitution and Solicitation Laws," Accessed May 9, 2015

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