New Jersey Prostitution and Solicitation Laws

Prostitution is considered a sex crime in New Jersey and a conviction carries jail time and sex offender registry which can follow you for the rest of your life. In New Jersey, prostitution and solicitation are really the same crime because regardless of whether you are soliciting services or providing them, both individuals are charged under the same statute.

What is Prostitution & Solicitation?

Under New Jersey law, prostitution is defined as the offer or acceptance to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money or property. This means that if someone either makes or accepts an offer to provide sex in exchange for something of value, that person has committed prostitution in New Jersey, and will be charged under the applicable prostitution statute.

Associated Crimes

Loitering for the purposes of prostitution is also illegal. For example, if Vivian hangs out in a red light district trying to solicit Edward who is driving by in his new Lotus Esprit, that's considered "loitering."

Promoting Prostitution

The pimp and/or the person running the house of prostitution can be prosecuted under this statute. In fact, anyone who uses property that he or she is renting to engage in prostitution voids the lease and can be evicted by the landlord.

The following table highlights the main provisions of New Jersey's prostitution and solicitation laws.

See also Pimping and Pandering Laws and Solicitation to learn more.

Code Section

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:34-1

What is Prohibited

Prostitution

  • either offering or accepting;
  • sexual activity;
  • in exchange for something of value; and
  • both people had the intent to commit prostitution or solicitation.

Loitering: repeatedly gesturing to or stopping people on the streets or in cars, or
repeatedly attempting to stop others or engage them in conversation.

Promoting Prostitution

  • owning, controlling, managing, supervising or otherwise keeping, alone or in association with another, a house of prostitution or a prostitution business;
  • procuring an inmate for a house of prostitution or place in a house of prostitution for one who would be an inmate;
  • encouraging, inducing, or otherwise purposely causing another to become or remain a prostitute;
  • soliciting a person to patronize a prostitute;
  • procuring a prostitute for a patron;
  • transporting a person into or within New Jersey promote that person's engaging in prostitution , or procuring or paying for transportation with that purpose; or
  • knowingly leasing or otherwise permitting a place controlled by a pimp, alone or in association with others, to be regularly used for prostitution or promotion of prostitution , or not making a reasonable effort to stop such use by ejecting the tenant, notifying law enforcement authorities, or other legally available means.
Penalties

Prostitution

First offense: Disorderly persons offense, up to six (6) months in jail and up to a $1,000

Second and subsequent offense: fourth degree, up to 18 months in prison and fines.

If a person uses a vehicle to commit prostitution, the court must also suspend the person’s driver’s license for six months.

Enhanced Penalties If a minor is involved (under 18 years old): third degree crime, 3 to 5 years in prison and fines.
What is Considered Payment? Money or anything of value in exchange for the sexual services is sufficient i.e., property.

Sexual Offender Registry?

If convicted of promoting child prostitution, mandatory registration.

Definition of "Sexual Activity"

Any kind of sexual relation including traditional sexual intercourse, oral sex, masturbation, touching in a sexual area or even on the buttocks.

Because prostitution laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.