Montana Prostitution and Solicitation Laws

Prostitution is illegal in almost every state, including Montana. In Montana, prostitution is defined as engaging in, agreeing to engage in, or offering to engage in sexual intercourse with another person in exchange for something of value. It is important to note that it is illegal to both buy and sell sexual favors.

In other words, it is illegal to both act as a prostitution and to be the patron who visits a prostitute. Within the state it is also illegal to promote prostitution (including soliciting prostitution). The tables below outline Montana's main prostitution and solicitation laws.

Code Section

Montana Code section 45-5-601: Prostitution

What's Prohibited?

Engaging in, agreeing to engage in, or offering to engage in sexual intercourse with another person for compensation. It doesn't matter whether the compensation has been paid or not.

Penalties

A prostitute convicted of prostitution is fined of up to $500, and/or sent to jail for up to six months.

A patron convicted of prostitution is punished by:

  • First offense: A fine of up to $1,000, and/or imprisonment for up to one year.
  • Second offense: A fine of up to $10,000, and/or imprisonment for up to five years.

If the prostitute was a child, and the patron was 18 years old or older, the patron offender is punished by:

  • Imprisonment for 100 years (part of which may be suspended or deferred)
  • A fine of up to $50,000, and
  • A requirement to successfully complete a sexual offender treatment program

Code Section

Montana Code section 45-5-602: Promoting Prostitution

What's Prohibited?

Purposely or knowingly committing any of the following acts:
  • Owning, controlling, or otherwise keeping a house of prostitution or a prostitution business
  • Procuring an individual for a house of prostitution or for an individual
  • Encouraging, inducing, or otherwise purposely causing another to become or remain a prostitute
  • Soliciting clients for a prostitute
  • Procuring a prostitute for a patron
  • Transporting an individual into or within Montana for the purpose of engaging in prostitution
  • Leasing or otherwise permitting a place under your control to be regularly used for prostitution (or for the procurement of prostitution) and failing to make reasonable efforts to stop that use, or
  • Living (in whole or in part) off of the earnings of an individual engaging in prostitution (unless the person is the prostitute's minor child or other legal dependent)

Penalties

A person convicted of promoting prostitution is fined up to $50,000, and/or sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

If the prostitute was a child, and the offender was 18 years old or older, the offender is punished by:

  • Imprisonment for 100 years (part of which may be suspended or deferred)
  • A fine of up to $50,000, and
  • A requirement to successfully complete a sexual offender treatment program

Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution

A person commits aggravated promotion of prostitution if the person purposefully or knowingly commits any of the following acts:

  • Compels another to engage in or promote prostitution
  • Promotes prostitution of a child
  • Promotes prostitution of one's spouse, child, ward, or any person for whose care, protection, or support the person is responsible for

Penalties:

  • A person convicted of aggravated promotion of prostitution may be punished by life imprisonment, or by a fine of up to $50,000 and imprisonment for up to 20 years.

Evidence in Cases of Promotion

If an issue in the case is whether or not a place is a house of prostitution, the following is admissible:
  • Its general repute
  • The repute of people who reside in or frequent the place, and
  • The frequency, timing, and duration of visits by nonresidents

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Montana's prostitution and solicitation laws contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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