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Many states still prosecute prostitution offenses, despite a growing public opinion that sex work should be decriminalized.

In North Dakota, prostitution is generally a misdemeanor punishable by jail time and hefty fines.

Not only can the alleged individual offering sexual services face criminal charges, but so can other parties allegedly involved with soliciting sex, engaging in sexual activity for money, or facilitating prostitution.

If you have been charged with an offense relating to prostitution, you need to seek the advice of an experienced attorney.

The professionals at the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka are ready to help.

The penal consequences and negative stigma associated with a prostitution conviction can negatively impact your life for years. So don’t risk your future; call us today.

North Dakota Prostitution Laws

There are generally three prostitution-related prohibitions under North Dakota law:

  • Prostitution,
  • Promoting prostitution, and
  • Facilitating prostitution.

The North Dakota legislature enacted specific statutes targeting different alleged offenders.

For instance, promoting or facilitating prostitution targets third parties who benefit from, encourage, enable, or earn money from prostitution.

On the other hand, while the sex worker and “john” (i.e., the prostitute’s client) typically cannot be convicted of promoting, they might be convicted of other crimes. 


Under North Dakota prostitution laws, an adult is guilty of prostitution, a class B misdemeanor, if they:

  • Are an inmate of a house of prostitution or otherwise engaged in sexual activity as a business,
  • Solicits another person to be hired to engage in sexual activity, or
  • Agrees to engage in sexual activity with another for money or items of value.

Both the prostitute and the “john” may be charged with prostitution. 

Under North Dakota law, an individual who hires, offers, or agrees to hire an individual to engage in sexual activity is guilty of a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail for a first offense.

Promoting Prostitution

An individual may be convicted of promoting prostitution if they:

  • Operate a prostitution business,
  • Induce or intentionally cause another to become engaged in sexual activity as a business, or 
  • Knowingly acquire a prostitute to become a part of a prostitution business.

Promoting prostitution is generally a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Facilitating Prostitution

Under North Dakota law, an individual could be guilty of the crime of facilitating prostitution if they: 

  • Knowingly solicit a person to patronize a prostitute,
  • Knowingly procure a prostitute for a patron,
  • Knowingly lease or otherwise permit their property to be regularly used for prostitution,
  • Knowingly induce or intentionally cause another to remain a prostitute, including anyone financially supported by the proceeds of prostitution.

Facilitating prostitution is a class A felony. It is punishable by up to 20 years in prison if the defendant intentionally causes another to remain a sex worker. The defendant can accomplish this by:

  • Force, 
  • Coercion, 
  • Threat, or
  • Deception. 

Furthermore, if the sex worker is the spouse or ward of the defendant—or a person who the defendant is supposed to care for, protect, or support—this also qualifies as a class A felony.

Otherwise, a conviction is a class C felony.

North Dakota Criminal Defense Attorneys

Is prostitution legal in North Dakota? The answer is a resounding no. So if you are facing potential charges, contact our defense team.

A prostitution conviction can result in jail time, fines, and a tarnished reputation.

No matter the circumstances, a sharp defense attorney can help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case.

Our attorneys have been committed to defending the rights of citizens in North Dakota since 2007.

Give us a call today to schedule a free, confidential consultation!

Author Photo John T. Arechigo, Esq.

Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.

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