Amsterdam Red Light District
Amsterdam Red Light District

Should sex between consenting adults be a crime?  What if money is exchanged or agreed upon?  In Minnesota prostitution cases, who is more often arrested and charged with a crime, the prostitute or the john?  Though not in all states and nations, in Minnesota prostitution law makes a crime of consensual sex for money.  Prostitution charges are filed against Johns, or customers, more often than prostitutes.

How to get arrested for Prostitution
Backpage prostitutes, and those on similar escort web sites like eros, predominate these days.  Little prostitution happens on the street anymore.  Police are aware of this, and routinely set up traps and sting operations, with their own backpage and other online ads.  When the would-be client calls, a police officer lures them along, eventually to the destination — often a hotel room or apartment.  Once inside, she (or he) soon confirms the arrangement of some sexual act for a price.  She leaves the room “for a moment.”  Police officers jump out for the arrest and what follows.  Usually these events in the room are video and audio recorded.  The client is invited to admit or offer excuses.  Though it’s a mistake to do either, most do.  Most are released after identification procedures with a court Summons (book and release).  Police are then ready for the next one.

It’s time to retain an experienced prostitution defense attorney.

Is prostitution a misdemeanor?  Usually.  It can be charged as a gross misdemeanor as well, often with a spurious, claimed element of “public place.”  It can also be charged as felony prostitution, based upon a claim of a patron’s agreement to hire a prostitute under 18 years old.  Minnesota’s criminal statutes relating to prostitution crimes are in Sections 609.321 – 609.326.

Minnesota Statutes Section 609.325 “Defenses” seems to try to legislate away defenses, though it does create a defense for some prostitutes.  Defenses can effectively be made to these charges, however.  These cases are so easy for law enforcement, once their prostitution sting room and webpage is set up, that they often move patrons through as if an assembly line, one after the other — hustling one out the back door to make room for the one coming in the front.  Over time, they cut corners to save time and end up charging people on weak evidence — people who are not-guilty.   An experienced prostitution defense lawyer can spot these cases and win.

sex workers mnSex Workers
Though less often charged (compared to customers), sex workers are sometimes charged with prostitution.  When they are, it’s not uncommon for the case to be weak, and not the result of a sting.  When comes to suspected sex workers, we’ve seen what appears to be a law enforcement practice of harassment, intended to drive sex workers away to another jurisdiction.  This can take the form of weak evidence and false charges.  An experienced defense attorney like Gallagher can spot these cases and help his client prevail.

Often people get charged with prostitution despite not engaging in it.  This may be in part due to a lack of understanding on the part of police or prosecutors.  For example, most sex workers want to have some security — someone to be aware of their whereabouts and personal safety.  That person may not be aware of what the sex worker is doing.  But we’ve had cases where the friend waiting alone in the parking lot in their car for their friend to return after an errand, has been falsely charged with prostitution.

Another example we’ve seen is a client who was an exotic dancer, or stripper, in a bar where police were present undercover in an effort to find violations by the unwelcome bar owner.  Police observed a bar customer grab our dancer client’s breast — a violation of norms in strip bars.  (No touching the dancers.)  Unaware of undercover police presence, our dancer-client yelled at him, kicked at him, stormed off the stage immediately, yelled at the bar owner tending bar for not doing more about it, and retreated to her dressing room, shutting the door.  Later, she was charged with prostitution.  (We were able to get the charges dismissed, eventually.)

Law enforcement stings today are focused upon customers, not prostitutes, however.

Breaking Free
Breaking Free is a local non-profit that helps people engaged in prostitution get out of it.

Thomas Gallagher, Felony Defense Lawyer in Minneapolis
Thomas Gallagher, Defense Lawyer in Minneapolis

Question?  Call Minneapolis Prostitution Defense Attorney Thomas C. Gallagher at 612 333-1500