West Virginia Prostitution and Solicitation Laws

West Virginia prohibits prostitution (having sex for money) and a number of prostitution related crimes such as solicitation (patronizing a prostitute), pandering (recruiting prostitutes), and pimping (receiving support from prostitution). Penalties include prison times of up to 1 year and fines of up $500. These penalties may be increased for subsequent offenses and some prostitution related crimes which involve minors. The following is a brief summary of West Virginia's prostitution and solicitation laws.

West Virginia Prostitution and Solicitation Laws

The following table outlines West Virginia's prostitution and solicitation laws.

Code Sections W. VA. CODE § 61-8-5 et seq.
What is Prohibited?

Prostitution and solicitation:

  • Engaging in prostitution
  • Soliciting, inducing, or enticing another person to commit prostitution
  • Residing, entering, or remaining in a place of prostitution for prostitution purposes
  • Otherwise aiding or participating in any of the above acts

Maintaining a place of prostitution:

  • Keeping, establishing, maintaining, or operating a place of prostitution
  • Knowingly allowing or renting a place, premises or conveyance (such as a car) for prostitution purposes
  • Soliciting or receiving a patron for a place of prostitution or allowing a person to stay for such purposes
  • Directing, taking, or transporting a person to a place of prostitution or assisting with the directing, taking, or transportation.

Detaining a person in a place of prostitution:

Directly or indirectly keeping, holding, detaining, or restraining a person in a place of prostitution or attempting to do any of the above acts in an effort to force the person to remain a prostitute and pay off so-called debts.

Pandering:

  • Recruiting or securing a spot for a prostitute in a place of prostitution
  • Causing a person to become an inmate of a place of prostitution through promises, threats, violence, or any other means
  • Causing a person to come into or leave the state for prostitution purposes
  • Receiving money for doing or attempting any of the above

 

Pimping:

Knowingly receiving support from prostitution proceeds.

Penalties

Prostitution is punishable by up to 6 months in prison and up to $100 in fines. A second offense is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $250 in fines. Any third or subsequent offenses by a pimp, solicitor, operator or person otherwise benefiting financially from prostitution are punishable by up to 3 years in prison.

Maintaining a place of prostitution is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $250 in fines. A subsequent offense is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Pandering or detaining a person in a place of prostitution is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $500 in fines. A subsequent offense is punishable by up to 3 years in prison. If the person recruited or detained was a minor, it is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Pimping is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $500 in fines. For subsequent offenses, the crime is punishable by up to 3 years in prison. If the prostitute was a minor, the crime is a felony punishable by at least 2 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

West Virginia Prostitution and Solicitation Laws: Related Resources

If you or someone you know has been charged with prostitution or a prostitution related crime, you may want to consult with a West Virginia criminal defense attorney. You can also visit Findlaw's sections on Prostitution, Solicitation, and Pimping and Pandering Laws for more articles and information on these topics.

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