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Prostitution in Las Vegas: What You Need to Know

Oct 10, 2017 | Blog, Legal Tips

With an average of 42 million visitors a year, Las Vegas has always been known as a popular destination for tourists. Most people associate the city with casinos, nightlife, and yes, prostitution. Many tourists believe it’s legal in Las Vegas when the fact is prostitution is not legal anywhere in the city or surrounding Clark County. This fact doesn’t stop illegal prostitution from happening in hotels and other venues along the Vegas strip. If you are new to Vegas or just visiting, it’s important to have a firm understanding of Nevada’s laws so you do not wind up arrested for Solicitation.

How is Prostitution Defined?

Prostitution is defined as engaging in sexual conduct with another person in exchange for a fee, money, or something else of value. Solicitation is simply offering or agreeing to participate in prostitution. It is also illegal in Nevada to force, induce, or arrange for another person to engage in prostitution. This illegal activity is defined as pandering and is a Class C felony. Pandering is punishable by imprisonment of between one to five years and/or a $5,000 fine.

Where is Prostitution Legal in Nevada?

Under Nevada state law, prostitution and solicitation are legal in brothels operating in counties with less than 700,000 residents. It’s important to note that local governments have the power to outlaw prostitution. This means that just because a county has less than 700,000 residents doesn’t mean prostitution is legal within that county. While the number of brothels has declined since the mid-1980s, there are at least 8 counties that are home to brothels.

Where is Prostitution Illegal in Nevada?

Prostitution is illegal anywhere outside of a legally established brothel. Prostitution and solicitation are 100 percent illegal within the city of Las Vegas. If you solicit or engage in prostitution anywhere within the city, whether in a hotel lobby, lounge, on the street, etc., you are committing a crime and subject to arrest and serious charges.

Hotel and casino managers agree it’s often difficult to distinguish between what is consensual and what is a business transaction. They remain vigilant however as no business wants visitors associating their establishment with criminal activity.

Prostitution arrests in Las Vegas tend to rise when events such as major sporting events and conventions come to the city. For example, over 200,000 people descended upon Las Vegas for the Mayweather-McGregor fight one weekend in August of 2017. The fight drew national media attention, extra visitors, and prostitution arrests spiked for the month. According to county records, 118 prostitution arrests were made between Friday night and Sunday night. In comparison, there were only 34 prostitution arrests the first weekend in August. Large events often attract prostitutes from outside the Las Vegas area. These prostitutes realize that large crowds mean more opportunity to solicit business.

What Happens When You Are Arrested?

First-time prostitution/solicitation offenders are charged with a misdemeanor. Soliciting a child (anyone under the age of 18) is a Class E felony and is punishable by imprisonment of one to four years and/or a fine of up to $5,000. A misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of local laws is no excuse.

Prostitution is a Serious Crime

If you are arrested for prostitution, solicitation, or pandering, you must take the charge seriously. The more you repeat the offense, the more serious the consequences. It doesn’t matter if your intentions were misinterpreted; an arrest affects your life, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony charge. While prostitution is an ongoing challenge in Las Vegas, partially due to visitors’ perception that it is legal, don’t take the chance. Should you gamble on not getting caught but find yourself behind bars, contact us. 8 Ball Bail Bonds has served the Las Vegas and surrounding area since 2008 and our staff has a thorough knowledge of the local court system. We work fast to secure your release from jail so you can reunite with family and plan your next step.