Where is Prostitution Legal in the U.S.?

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In the United States, most states have made prostitution illegal to some degree. The states have authority to legalize or criminalize many acts such as prostitution. As long as it occurs within a state, and does not involve interstate travel, then a prostitution case will likely be governed by state law.

Legality of Prostitution in The United States

Prostitution is the act of purchasing or selling sexual services for money or something else of value. Prostitution can occur on the street, in brothels or other similarly regulated establishments or through an escort service. Prostitution in most United States jurisdictions is classified as a misdemeanor offense. Nevada is the only state that currently allows prostitution in the United States.

Even in Nevada, prostitution is highly regulated. For the most part, it is still a crime if it occurs outside of highly regulated establishments (known as houses of ill repute or brothels). You should note that not all of Nevada allows prostitution. In several counties, prostitution is just as illegal in Nevada as any other state. Within Nevada, prostitution is illegal outside of a licensed brothel. So, do not be fooled into thinking that you can hire a prostitute just anywhere in Nevada legally.

Depending on which Nevada county a brothel is established, the prostitutes must either be at least 18 or 21 years of age. Counties that allow brothels in Nevada have varied licensing policies and fees as well.

Under Nevada law, any county that meets the minimum population standard (at present 400,000 residents) can legally allow brothels to operate within their boundaries if they so choose. The also have the option of not allowing brothels and restricting them to certain areas. Other legal restrictions may also be placed on brothels by each of the counties that allow them. Nevada law imposes mandatory testing for sexually transmitted diseases on brothel workers to ensure public health is not disrupted by an epidemic.

Getting Legal Advice

An attorney who practices criminal defense in the jurisdiction in which charges have been filed can help you assess your case and potential defenses you may have available to you. You may be unaware of all of the potential defenses for a prostitution charge. That is why it is good to talk to a lawyer about your circumstances and preserve evidence in your case early.