Maine Prostitution and Solicitation Laws

In Maine, it's illegal to both buy and to sell sexual acts or sexual contact. In other words, both prostitution and solicitation are illegal. This article provides a brief overview of Maine's prostitution and solicitation laws.

Code Section

Maine Revised Statutes 17-A section 853-A: Engaging in Prostitution

What's Prohibited?

Engaging in, agreeing to engage in, or offering to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact in exchange for a pecuniary benefit to be received by the person engaging in prostitution or by a third person.

Definitions

Sexual act: A sexual act means

  • Any act between two people involving direct physical contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth, anus, or genitals of the other
  • Any act between a person and an animal involving direct physical contact between the genitals of one and the mouth, anus, or genitals of the other, or
  • Any act involving direct physical contact between the genitals or anus of one and an instrument manipulated by another for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire, or for the purpose of causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact

Sexual contact: Sexual contact means any touching of the genitals or anus (directly or through clothing), for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire or for the purpose of causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact.

Penalties

Engaging in prostitution is a Class E crime. However, if the offender has one or more prior convictions for engaging in prostitution (or a substantially similar crime) within the last two years, then the violation is a Class D crime.

Affirmative Defense

It is an affirmative defense to a charge of engaging in prostitution that the person was compelled to do so as a result of aggravated sex trafficking.

Solicitation of Prostitution

In Maine it is also illegal to solicit prostitution. In other words, it is a crime to pay (or offer to pay) someone else in exchange for a sexual act or sexual contact. The penalty for soliciting prostitution in Maine is up to six months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the offender has one or more prior convictions for engaging in prostitution (or a substantially similar crime) within the last two years, then the violation is a Class D crime.

There are also increased penalties for soliciting prostitution from minors and from people who are mentally disabled.

  • If the offender solicits prostitution from someone who is less than 18 years old, then the crime if a Class D offense.
  • If the offender knows that the prostitute is less than 18 years old, then the solicitation is a Class C crime.
  • If the offender solicits prostitution from someone who suffers from a mental disability that is reasonably apparent or know to the offender and prevents that person from appraising the nature of the conduct, then the offense is a Class C crime.

Penalties in Maine

  • Class C crimes: Punishable by up to five years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Class D crimes: Punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
  • Class E crimes: Punishable by up to six months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information about Maine's prostitution and solicitation laws contact a local sex crime lawyer.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.