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A Minnesota prostitution charge can be a life-altering event, causing uncertainty and emotional distress.

If you or a loved one has been charged with prostitution, the potential legal consequences and impact on your life can be paralyzing. 

To clear up some of that uncertainty, we provide a clear breakdown of Minnesota’s prostitution laws, outlining the different offenses and their penalties.

We also explain how our experienced prostitution charges attorney can help defend you or your loved one. If you have questions, please contact us today to share your story.

Is Prostitution Legal In Minnesota?

All forms of prostitution, including buying and selling sex, and promoting and benefiting from another person’s prostitution, are illegal in Minnesota. Harsher penalties are imposed if minors are involved.

Definition of Prostitution In Minnesota

Prostitution is the act of engaging in sexual penetration or sexual contact in exchange for payment.

It includes hiring, offering to hire, or agreeing to hire someone for such purposes, as well as being hired, offering to be hired, or agreeing to be hired for sexual activities.

Summary of Prostitution Laws in Minnesota

Prostitution with an Adult

Engaging in prostitution with a consenting adult (both parties aged 18 or older) is considered a misdemeanor.

Penalties can include up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, a first offense involving soliciting an adult prostitute typically incurs a minimum fine of $500.

Prostitution with a Minor

Engaging in prostitution with a minor is a significantly graver offense. It constitutes a felony, with penalties escalating based on the minor’s age:

  • Under 14: Up to 20 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.
  • Ages 14-15: Up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
  • Ages 16-17: Up to 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

These harsh penalties reflect the vulnerability and exploitation of minors involved in such crimes.

Soliciting or Accepting Solicitation

Soliciting or accepting solicitation for prostitution in public places, such as streets, sidewalks, hotels, and vehicles, is criminalized in Minnesota.

This offense constitutes a gross misdemeanor, carrying penalties of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.

Sex Trafficking Laws

Forced prostitution falls under severe sex trafficking laws, with penalties becoming even more stringent depending on the circumstances.

Sex trafficking involving a minor can result in imprisonment for up to 25 years or a fine of up to $50,000, or both.

Aggravating factors can further increase penalties if present, including: 

  • Prior qualified human trafficking-related offenses, 
  • Bodily harm to victims, 
  • Extended periods of forced labor, or 
  • Involvement of multiple victims.

Penalties may include imprisonment for up to 30 years and a fine of up to $60,000.

Prostitution Law in School or Park Zones

Prostitution offenses committed in school or park zones incur increased penalties in Minnesota. Specifically: 

  • If the crime is a felony, the maximum sentence can be extended by three years.
  • If it’s a gross misdemeanor, the individual is guilty of a felony and may face imprisonment for up to two years and a fine of up to $4,000. 
  • If the offense is a misdemeanor, the person is considered guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Again, these penalties are increased due to the potential harm to children and the general public of witnessing these exchanges. 

Loitering with Intent to Participate in Prostitution

Loitering in public places with the intent to engage in prostitution is a misdemeanor offense in Minnesota, punishable by up to 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000.

The Difference in Penalties for Patrons vs. Prostitutes

As these Minnesota laws show, patrons (those soliciting) face stricter punishments than those performing sex work.

Prostitutes usually face misdemeanor charges unless they are in a public area, in which case they face gross misdemeanor penalties.

Common Defenses Against Prostitution Charges in Minnesota

In Minnesota, if you’re facing prostitution charges, a lawyer will explore various defenses to fight the case, such as: 

  • Lack of Evidence. If the prosecution lacks solid evidence of an agreement for sexual services in exchange for money, the defense attorney can argue for dismissal. This might involve questioning the nature of conversations or whether money actually exchanged hands.
  • Entrapment. This defense argues that law enforcement induced the person to commit the crime through excessive persuasion or coercion. For example, an undercover officer repeatedly pressuring someone into paying for sex could be considered entrapment.
  • Mistaken Identity. This defense applies if you were mistakenly or maliciously identified as someone involved in prostitution.
  • No Agreement. A solicitation charge requires a concrete agreement to exchange money for sexual acts. If the conversation with an undercover officer was vague or no money exchanged hands, your lawyer can argue that this lack of clarity means there was no agreement.
  • Alibi. Having a solid alibi proving you weren’t at the location when the alleged offense occurred can serve as a strong defense against prostitution charges.
  • Due Process Violation. If your arrest violated your rights (illegal search, excessive force), your lawyer could argue to suppress evidence obtained illegally, potentially weakening the case.
  • First Offense. If this is your first offense, your lawyer might negotiate for reduced charges or diversion programs, depending on the circumstances.

The most effective defense strategy depends on your specific situation. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will carefully examine the details of your case and identify the most effective approach.

Get Aggressive Prostitution Defense with Arechigo & Stokka

Let’s face it—the justice system is complicated. That’s why you need a St. Paul criminal defense attorney who understands the complex nature of prostitution charges in Minnesota and will fight for you.

At Arechigo & Stokka, that’s precisely what we do. With decades of combined experience, our attorneys have handled hundreds of cases and know the ins and outs of the Minnesota criminal justice system.

We will keep you updated at every stage to ensure complete transparency on the progress of your case. No legal jargon, just clear explanations.

Our lawyers will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and get the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether. 

Contact us today for a free consultation and take the first steps to protect your rights and freedom.

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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