Under Minnesota’s prostitution laws, the buying (solicitation), selling, and pimping of sex are all prohibited. Generally speaking, promotion of prostitution, or pimping, results in the most severe charges, and is prosecuted under sex trafficking laws. However, many prostitution-related crimes come with incredibly serious penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and possible sex offender registration.
Below, we’re going to provide an overview of Minnesota’s prostitution laws, and the related charges and penalties you could face if convicted of these various acts.
Defendants commit the crime of prostitution by offering or agreeing to exchange sexual penetration or contact for money with a person 18 years or older. Prostitution in our state is charged as a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
However, if the person has been convicted of prostitution within the last two years, or engages in prostitution in a public place, it will be charged as a gross misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.
Promotion of Prostitution
The most severe prostitution-related offenses are related to the promotion of prostitution, or pimping. Importantly, promotion of prostitution can take many forms, and is not always committed by hardened career criminals.
Below, we describe the various offenses that are considered to be promotion of prostitution in our state, as well as the criminal penalties you could face if convicted.
Sex trafficking is defined as doing any of the following:
- Soliciting or coercing another individual to practice prostitution
- Promoting prostitution of another individual
- Knowingly receiving a profit resulting from prostitution of another individual
- Sex trafficking anyone, defined as recruiting, providing, harboring, or obtaining another individual to practice prostitution.
If the individual in question is 18 or older, this is charged as sex trafficking in the second degree, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $40,000. If the individual in question is under 18, this is charged as sex trafficking in the first degree, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fine of up to $20,000.
Generally speaking, individuals convicted of sex trafficking or other sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders.
Providing Housing for Prostitution
Knowingly housing an unrelated minor who is engaging in prostitution without the parents’ consent is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.
Knowingly operating, leasing, or allowing a place to be used for prostitution, referred to as a “disorderly house,” is a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota.
Solicitation of Prostitution
One of the most common prostitution charges is solicitation of prostitution. Patrons of prostitution can face a variety of charges depending on where the alleged offense took place, and if the individual allegedly solicited is a minor or an adult.
Solicitation of prostitution with an adult is a misdemeanor if it took place in a private location, and a gross misdemeanor if it was committed in a public place. However, if you have prior convictions, this is automatically charged as a gross misdemeanor.
Solicitation with a minor is a much more severe offense, and it is automatically a felony. If the person solicited was 16 or older, the penalty is up to five years of incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine. If the person between the ages of 13 and 16, the penalty is up to 10 years of incarceration and up to a $20,000 fine. Finally, if the person is 13 or younger, this jumps to a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $40,000.
Offenders may also be required to register as sex offenders.
As you can see, these types of crimes can become quite serious depending on the specific circumstances. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the laws, and to aggressively fight back to beat any prostitution charges against you.
About the Author:
A former prosecutor and lifelong Minnesotan, Christian Peterson has handled hundreds of criminal cases from both sides of the aisle since he began practicing law in 2006, as well as a wide variety of family law matters. This background allows him to look at situations from all angles and anticipate which arguments the other side may use, increasing his clients’ chances of success. His work has been recognized by the American Society of Legal Advocates, the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, and National Trial Lawyers, and he has a perfect 10/10 rating from Avvo.