New York Penal Law §§ 230.02 - 230.06 - Patronizing a Prostitute

Patronizing a Person for Prostitution: New York Penal Law §§ 230.02-06.

Patronizing a Person for Prostitution is charged when a person pays, or agrees to pay, a fee to another person for sexual contact. These defendants are commonly referred to as "Johns," which originated based on the frequent practice of the person paying for sex giving his name as "John" to a prostitute to maintain anonymity as John is historically one of the most common names in English-speaking countries.

There are three degrees of Patronizing a Person for Prostitution under the New York Penal Law, and they have varying degrees of severity. The lowest level offense is Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the Third Degree, in violation of NYPL § 230.04. The elements of this crime are very simple: a person can be convicted of this offense when he or she patronizes a person for prostitution. All the prosecutor is required to prove is that the defendant solicited or otherwise agreed to pay a fee in exchange for sexual contact. This is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the Second Degree, pursuant to NYPL § 230.05, is more serious. It has the same basic requirements, that a person solicit or otherwise agree to pay a fee for the purposes of engaging in sexual contact, but in order to be convicted of this offense the prosecutor must also prove that the defendant is at least 18 years old and that the prostitute is less than 15 years old. This is a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

The most serious charges one can face for engaging the services of a prostitute is Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the First Degree, pursuant to NYPL § 230.06. There are two ways a person can be convicted under this particular statute: if the prosecutor can show that the prostitute was under 11 years old, or if the prostitute is under 13 years old and the defendant is at least 18 years old. This is a class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison.

While the prospect of serving a significant period of time in jail is, and should be, ominous, frequently cases involving sex crimes result in the collateral consequences of a conviction being far more devastating that the time actually served. Having a criminal record already adds a significant degree of difficulty in obtaining a job or an education. Add to that potentially having a felony conviction and the burden gets heavier. If there is a sex crime on one's record, employers and schools will often feel some sort of moral outrage at the defendant and will refuse to consider him or her for whatever position is being sought. If you have been charged with Patronizing a Person for Prostitution, you will need to focus not just on the outcome of your case, but also what that outcome will mean for your future.

The experienced New York Prostitution attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman understand that the key to these types of cases is always the word of an individual who is already admitting to taking part in a crime. A strong cross-examination of the key prosecution witness, the prostitute, will expose that person as not just a criminal, but as a poor witness as well. Call us today for a free case evaluation at (212) 581-1001, and let us help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.