In the grand scheme of criminal offenses, prostitution is not generally considered to be one of the more serious offenses given the fact that it is usually charged as a non-violent misdemeanor. Because it is often thought of as a relatively minor offense, you might not take it very seriously if you have been charged with prostitution in the State of Nebraska. Taking that attitude, however, would be a mistake. Instead, you should consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after being charged with prostitution.
What Is Prostitution in Nebraska?
Nebraska Revised Statute 28-801 governs the criminal offense of prostitution in the State of Nebraska. Although just about everyone could provide a reasonable definition for the crime of prostitution, it is important to know the precise legal definition if you have been charged with the crime yourself. According to the statute:
“…any person who performs, offers, or agrees to perform any act of sexual contact or sexual penetration, as those terms are defined in section 28-318, with any person not his or her spouse, in exchange for money or other thing of value, commits prostitution.”
What are the Potential Penalties for a Prostitution Conviction?
Prostitution is charged as a Class II misdemeanor in the State of Nebraska for a first or second offense. If convicted of a Prostitution as a Class II misdemeanor you face up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000. If you are sentenced to probation as part of your judgment of conviction, the law requires that “such order of probation, as one of its conditions, that such person shall satisfactorily attend and complete an appropriate mental health and substance abuse assessment conducted by a licensed mental health professional or substance abuse professional authorized to complete such assessment.”
If you have two or more previous convictions for Prostitution you will be charged with a Class I misdemeanor which carries up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, if you are placed on probation, the same mental health and substance abuse assessment and treatment requirement applies.
Affirmative Defenses to Prostitution in Nebraska
The Nebraska Prostitution statute has two affirmative defenses built into the law. An affirmative defense is a defense wherein the defendant admits that he/she engaged in the prohibited conduct; however, there is a reasonable or allowable justification under the law for doing so. Self-defense, for example, can be an affirmative defense to crimes such as assault or even murder under the right circumstances. In the case of Prostitution, the two affirmative defenses included in the statute are that the defendant is a victim of human trafficking or that the defendant is under the age of 18 years old.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
In today’s electronic age, your criminal history is available to anyone who really wants to find it. That often includes prospective employers, landlords, even in-laws. For that reason alone, you do not want a prostitution conviction on your criminal record, even if you are unlikely to be sentenced to spend any time in jail. Moreover, Prostitution cases are often riddled with problems from the prosecution’s standpoint; however, defendants rarely put on a defense, which is precisely what the prosecution counts on in many cases. You might be surprised at the options you have when you sit down with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer and discuss your case. Considering the numerous negative ways in which a conviction could impact your future, it should certainly be worth your time to consult with an attorney to discuss those options and potentially avoid a conviction.
If you have been charged with Prostitution in the State of Nebraska it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.