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At the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm, our experienced team of Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorneys have defended thousands of criminal cases including individuals charged with prostitution, pandering, and procurement of sexual conduct for a fee throughout the State of Rhode Island.  Our effective and proven criminal defense strategies have helped many of our clients facing prostitution related charges stay out of jail, avoid a criminal convictions, and oftentimes leave the criminal justice system with no criminal record at all.

Rhode Island Prostitution Lawyers
Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm 
Available 24/7 at 401-228-8271

We have significant experience representing clients facing Rhode Island Sexual Activity Charges including prostitution, pandering, and procurement of sexual conduct for a fee.  Our criminal defense strategies have a proven track record of success.  Let us put them to work for you.

What is a Prostitution Charge in Rhode Island?

In order to get an idea of how the law works and what the terminology means, it is important to have a basic idea of how prostitution works in general.  Prostitution in general is the procurement of sex for an agreed upon fee.  In short, it is a transaction.  The person agreeing to perform the sex act is the prostitute; the person agreeing to pay for or procure the sex for themselves is commonly referred to as a “John.”  Both of those acts have their own separate statute in Rhode Island.  In some cases, the prostitute is forced or coerced into sex acts by an individual, often referred to as a “pimp.” Forcing or encouraging someone into prostitution (“pimping”) is called pandering and is also illegal under Rhode Island law.

Is prostitution illegal in Rhode Island?

Yes.  While there used to be a provision in Rhode Island Law that allowed for commercial sexual activity behind closed doors in limited circumstances, the law was abolished several years ago.  Now prostitution is outlawed by Rhode Island General Law 11-34.1-2 and is punishable as a misdemeanor.

What is the difference between pandering and prostitution?

Prostitution is outlined under Rhode Island General Law 11-34.1-2 and is the act of an individual engaging or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee.  Pandering is found under Rhode Island General Law 11-34.1-7 and makes it unlawful to threaten, encourage, or permit another individual to commit the act of prostitution.  Put in more simple terms, prostitution is the actual act of sex acts for a fee, and pandering is more commonly referred to as “pimping.” Both acts are illegal but have significantly different elements and potential consequences.  If you or someone you know have been charged with a sex crime, let our attorneys put their experience and expertise to work fighting your case.

What are the penalties for a pandering charge in Rhode Island?

Pandering, as defined in Rhode Island General Law 11-34.1-7, which forbids the practice of pimping or operating a brothel, is a felony offense.  An individual convicted of pandering in Rhode Island faces up to five years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to $5,000.  For a subsequent pandering conviction, the penalties increase to a minimum three year prison sentence and up to ten years in prison and a $5,000 to $10,000 fine.  In addition to these penalties, any proceeds gained as a result of the pandering is subject to seizure and forfeiture by the government.

What are the penalties for a prostitution charge in Rhode Island?

Prostitution is outlawed by Rhode Island General Law 11-34.1-2 and is punishable as a misdemeanor.  An individual convicted of prostitution faces up to six months in prison, a fine from $250 to $1,000, or both.  A second or subsequent conviction carries up to a year in prison, a $500 to $1,000 fine, or both.  In addition to the prison time and potential fines, those convicted of prostitution may be required to undergo HIV or VD testing as a result of the conviction.  If you've been charged with prostitution don't leave these penalties to chance, call us today and put us to work defending your case.

What is loitering for prostitution?

Loitering for prostitution is codified in Rhode Island Law 11-34.1-4 and makes it illegal for an individual to stand or wander the street and attempt to engage passersby in prostitution.  Put another way, it makes it illegal to attempt to have someone pay you for sex.  Loitering for prostitution is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine from $250 to $1,000, or both.  A second or subsequent conviction carries up to a year in prison, a $500 to $1,000 fine, or both. 

What is procurement of sex for a fee in R.I.?

Procurement of sex for a fee is outlined in Rhode Island General Law 11-34.1-3 and is the act of receiving or agreeing to receive a sex act in exchange for a fee; this law punishes the “Johns.” Procurement of sex for a fee is a misdemeanor offense that carries up to one year in prison, a fine of $250 to $1,000, or both, with the minimum fine jumping to $500 for subsequent offenses. 

Are there defenses to a criminal procurement of sexual conduct for a fee charge?

Absolutely.  Like most areas of the law, the specific defenses available largely depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.  Procurement of sex for a fee charges can oftentimes seem like they are insurmountable because the evidence appears to be overwhelming.  But that can be deceiving as these cases can be very difficult to prove.  Frequently, the State may have a difficult time obtaining all of the necessary testimony that it needs to prove the case, either because a party has what is called a “privilege,” or they simply do not have the necessary surveillance or evidence to prove the case.  If you have been charged with procurement of a sex for a fee, do not leave the outcome to chance – call our experienced attorneys today.  We handle these types of cases so we know these types of cases.

Are there defenses to criminal prostitution charges?

Thankfully, there are.  In fact, the prostitution statute 11-34.1-2(d) specifically enumerates defenses available to those accused of prostitution, including threats, physical violence, blackmail, and intimidation.  But defenses to prostitution are not simply limited by the statute.  In fact, every case is different and can present certain challenges to the Police and the State that make it difficult to prove their case.  Sometimes they do not have the available witnesses, or the transaction can be difficult to prove.  If you or a loved one has been charged with prostitution, allow our experienced attorneys to diagnose your individual case and get started on the defense that's right for you.

Can prostitution charges be expunged from your criminal record?

Yes.  In fact, convictions for both prostitution and loitering are not subject to the same restrictions as expungement for other convictions.  Under Rhode Island Law 11-34.1-5, anyone convictions for either of those offenses are eligible for expungement after the completion of the sentence with no waiting period, regardless of the individual's “first offender” status.  If you have a prostitution or loitering conviction of your record, know that it doesn't need to be! Call us today and have us clean up your record.

Are prostitution offenses considered a felony or a misdemeanor in R.I.?

Under Rhode Island law, prostitution, loitering, and procurement of sex for a fee are all misdemeanor offenses.  But don't let the term “misdemeanor” fool you; these cases can have significant consequences in the legal system and beyond.  Call us today to make sure that your rights are protected and you have the best possible chance of success.

Why should you hire a RI Criminal Defense Lawyer for your commercial sexual activity charges?

Since you have been reading these FAQs you now know how complex and nuanced these laws can be – not to mention the severity of the potential penalties.  In addition to the legal penalties, which include prison time, a criminal records, monetary fines, and forced testing, there are also numerous social consequences such as difficulty finding employment and housing.  If you have been charged with a commercial sexual activity charge, you need an aggressive, experienced attorney in your corner fighting for your rights and future.  Call us today and let us fight for you!  We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271.

Attorney Marin Named A SuperLawyer for Ten Consecutive Years 2014-2023

Attorney Matthew Marin has been named a Rhode Island SuperLawyer for 10 consecutive years from 2014 thru 2023. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island are selected by the Research Team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers selects lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their practice area.

Rhode Island Members of the National College for DUI Defense

Attorneys Matthew Marin and Kensley Barrett are both Rhode Island General Members of the National College for DUI Defense. Members represent some of the most experienced and cutting edge DUI defense attorney's throughout the Country. Nationwide, DUI laws are extremely complex and constantly changing and the College facilitates the exchange of innovative defenses throughout the Country.