LIVING FROM EARNINGS OF PROSTITUTION
Prostitution is legal throughout most of Nevada. It is banned in the two largest counties, Clark (Las Vegas) and Washoe (Reno), however, and it is heavily regulated everywhere else. One of the regulations is the prohibition against living off the proceeds of a prostitute. Convictions for living off the proceeds of a prostitute are severe and include jail time and harsh fines.
What is the legal definition of Living off the Earnings of a Prostitute?
The crime of living from earnings of a prostitute is governed by NRS 201.295, 201.320, 201.325, 201.345, 201.350, 201.351, 201.352.
NRS 201.295 – Definitions.
As used in NRS 201.295 to 201.440, inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires:
- “Adult” means a person 18 years of age or older.
- “Child” means a person less than 18 years of age.
- “Induce” means to persuade, encourage, inveigle or entice.
- “Prostitute” means a male or female person who for a fee, monetary consideration or other thing of value engages in sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact or any touching of the sexual organs or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of either person.
- “Prostitution” means engaging in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee, monetary consideration or other thing of value.
- “Sexual conduct” means any of the acts enumerated in subsection 4.
- “Transports” means to transport or cause to be transported, by any means of conveyance, into, through or across this State, or to aid or assist in obtaining such transportation.
NRS 201.320 – Living from earnings of prostitute; penalty.
- A person who knowingly accepts, receives, levies or appropriates any money or other valuable thing, without consideration, from the proceeds of any prostitute, is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
- Any such acceptance, receipt, levy or appropriation of money or valuable thing upon any proceedings or trial for violation of this section is presumptive evidence of lack of consideration.
NRS 201.325 – Power of court to order restitution.
- In addition to any other penalty, the court may order a person convicted of a violation of any provision of NRS 201.300 or 201.320 to pay restitution to the victim as provided in subsection 2.
- Restitution ordered pursuant to this section may include, without limitation:
- The cost of medical and psychological treatment, including, without limitation, physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation;
- The cost of transportation, temporary housing and child care;
- The return of property, the cost of repairing damaged property or the full value of the property if it is destroyed or damaged beyond repair;
- Expenses incurred by a victim in relocating away from the defendant or his or her associates, if the expenses are verified by law enforcement to be necessary for the personal safety of the victim;
- The cost of repatriation of the victim to his or her home country, if applicable; and
- Any and all other losses suffered by the victim as a result of the violation of any provision of NRS 201.300 or 201.320.
- The return of the victim to his or her home country or other absence of the victim from the jurisdiction does not prevent the victim from receiving restitution.
- As used in this section, “victim” means any person:
- Against whom a violation of any provision of NRS 201.300 or 201. 320 has been committed; or
- Who is the surviving child or such a person.
NRS 201.345 – Attorney General has concurrent jurisdiction with district attorneys.
- The Attorney General has concurrent jurisdiction with the district attorneys of the counties in this State to prosecute any violation of NRS 201.300 or 201.320..
- When acting pursuant to this section, the Attorney General may commence an investigation and file a criminal action without leave of court and the Attorney General has exclusive charge of the conduct of the prosecution.
NRS 201.350 – Venue.
It shall not be a defense to a prosecution for any of the acts prohibited in NRS 201.300 or 201. 320 that any part of such act or acts shall have been committed outside this state, and the offense shall in such case be deemed and alleged to have been committed, and the offender tried and punished, in any county in which the prostitution was consummated, or any overt act in furtherance of the offense shall have been committed.
NRS 201.351 – Forfeiture of assets; temporary restraining order to preserve property subject to forfeiture; use of proceeds derived from forfeiture.
- All assets derived from or relating to any violation of NRS 201.300 or 201.320 are subject to forfeiture pursuant to NRS 179.121 and a proceeding for their forfeiture may be brought pursuant to NRS 179.1156 to 179.121, inclusive.
- In any proceeding for forfeiture brought pursuant to NRS 179.1156 to 179.121, inclusive, the plaintiff may apply for, and a court may issue without notice or hearing, a temporary restraining order to preserve property which would be subject to forfeiture pursuant to this section if:
- The forfeitable property is in the possession or control of the party against who the order will be entered; and
- The court determines that the nature of the property is such that it can be concealed, disposed of or placed beyond the jurisdiction of the court before a hearing on the matter.
- A temporary restraining order which is issued without notice may be issued for not more than 30 days and may be extended only for good cause or by consent. The court shall provide notice and hold a hearing on the matter before the order expires.
- Any proceeds derived from a forfeiture or property pursuant to this section and remaining after the distribution required by subsection 1 of NRS 179.1118 must be deposited with the county treasurer and distributed to programs for the prevention of child prostitution or for services to victims which are designated to receive such distributions by the district attorney of the county.
NRS 201.352 –Additional fine for certain violations.
- If a person is convicted of a violation of subsection 2 of NRS 201.300 or NRS 201.320, the victim of the violation is a child when the offense is committed and physical force or violence or the immediate threat of physical force or violence is used upon the child, the court may, in addition to the term of imprisonment prescribed by statute for the offense and any fine imposed pursuant to subsection 2, impose a fine of not more than $500,000.
- If a person is convicted of a violation of subsection 2 of NRS 201.300 or NRS 201.320, the victim of the offense is a child when the offense is committed and the offense also involves a conspiracy to commit a violation of subsection 2 of NRS 201.300 or NRS.320, the court may, in addition to the punishment prescribed by statute for the offense of a provision of subsection 2 of NRS 201.300 or NRS 201.320 and any fine imposed pursuant to subsection 1, impose a fine of not more than $500,000.
- The provisions of subsections 1 and 2 do not create a separate offense but provide an additional penalty for the primary offense, the imposition of which is contingent upon the finding of the prescribed fact.
I don’t understand, so if prostitution is legal, how is it illegal to live off the earnings of a prostitute?
The purpose of this law is to stop illegal prostitution. It would be entirely legal to allow people to live off the earnings of legal prostitution. This law is a little strange and seems somewhat counter-intuitive. The purpose is to give prosecutors an extra crime to charge against pimps and other people taking money from illegal prostitutes. However, the language of this law is a little confusing.
The language specifically states that it is illegal to take, accept, or live off the earnings of a prostitute without consideration. This is how prosecutors differentiate between brothel owners and pimps. While both perform a somewhat similar function, in providing a service for prostitutes, brothel owners accept money from prostitutes in return for providing housing, food and other services while a pimp provides “protection” services.
Can’t pimps be charged for anything else?
Of course they can. Generally a pimp will be charged with a number of other crimes that are associated with prostitution, including, but not limited to:
- Pandering – encouraging, forcing or otherwise arranging for someone else to engage in prostitution;
- Sex trafficking – using force or threat of force to compel a person to engage in prostitution. Also recruiting people for the purpose of someone else compelling them to engage in prostitution, or transporting someone somewhere for the purpose of allowing them to engage in prostitution;
- Assault – For threats to the safety of an illegal prostitute to force them into, or to stay in, illegal prostitution;
- Battery – For any physical abuse that may stem from the illegal prostitution;
- False Imprisonment – For holding someone against their will as part of forcing them into illegal prostitution.
One purpose of this particular law is to provide prosecutors with another avenue to prosecute pimps.
But what if the person living off the earnings does not live in Nevada?
For the purposes of any Nevada law related to prostitution (this one, pandering, solicitation, sex trafficking, etc.), as long as any part of the illegal act took place within, Nevada, then the crime can be charged. In other words, if the prostitution took place in Nevada, then the pimp could be charged with living off the earnings of prostitution.
Is there anything else I should know?
The Nevada Attorney General has concurrent jurisdiction for crimes involving prostitution. Which means that the State Attorney General can conduct its own investigation and can charge someone with living off the earnings of a prostitute without permission from the District Courts.
What are the possible penalties?
Living off the earnings of a prostitute in Nevada is a category D felony in Nevada, which carries with it:
- Between 1 and 4 years in a Nevada State Prison; and
- Possible fines up to $5,000.
It is important to note, however, that fine and prison sentence that correspond with a category D felony are not the only possible penalties for living off the earnings of a prostitute. There are 3 other important penalties that the Court may choose to impose.
- Restitution – Restitution is a common penalty imposed after crimes involving prostitution. Restitution is essentially repaying the victim for any of the following damages:
- Medical treatment – the cost of any medical, psychological, physical or occupational treatment or therapy;
- Transportation – the cost of necessary transportation, temporary housing or child care;
- Property – the cost to return, repair or replace personal property;
- Relocation – the cost to relocate the victim away from the convicted – the costs must be verified by law enforcement as necessary for the personal safety of the victim;
- Repatriation – the costs to repatriate the victim to their home country;
- Court’schoice – any other costs that the Court deems necessary to repay.
- Asset Forfeiture – The Court has the discretion to decide to order forfeiture of any and all assets related to a violation for living off the earnings of a prostitute. This applies to any kind of asset. Some of the common assets include:
- Cash – obviously, any money that was actually derived from prostitution and that is then transferred to someone else in violation of NRS 201.320 is related to living off the earnings of a prostitute and is therefore subject to forfeiture;
- Clothing – if the earnings of a prostitute are used to purchase clothing for some in violation of NRS 201.320, then they would be subject to forfeiture;
- Vehicles – If the prosecutor can show that the vehicle was purchased with money garnered from prostitution, then the vehicle would be subject to forfeiture;
- Any other material thing – It should be clear that the Court can institute forfeiture proceedings for anything that was purchased with money illegally gained from violations of NRS 201.320.
- Other Fines – In addition to all of the above penalties, if the prostitution involved a child, as well as either force, the threat of force, or a conspiracy to engage in prostitution, then the Court may impose a further fine up to $500,000.
Are there any Defenses?
Yes, of course there are. Some of the possible defenses include:
- Legal Prostitution/transfer of funds – NRS 201.320 does not prohibit legal prostitution. Nor does it prohibit prostitutes from taking care of their families. Interestingly, even if the prostitution is illegal, the prostitute can still use the earnings to take care of her family. Consequently, if the prosecutor cannot prove that the earnings are being used by someone other than an immediately family member, or that the transfer of the earnings was legal, then the charges against you should be dropped or dismissed.
- No Prostitution – Obviously, one of the keep elements to living off the earnings of a prostitute is the existence of prostitution. If the prosecutor cannot show that any prostitution took place, then the charges should be dropped or dismissed.
- Lack of Evidence – As with any crime, the prosecution bears the burden of proving every element of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If there is not enough evidence to uphold this high level of proof, then the charges should be dropped or dismissed.
What should I do if I’ve been charged with Living off the earnings of a prositute?
As with any crime, it is very important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can discuss the specific circumstances as well as any defenses that may apply to your case.