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  • Pimping and Pandering: Know the Consequences in New Mexico

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    Pimping and Pandering: Know the Consequences in New MexicoProstitution is a crime as old as civilization itself. Pimping and pandering are both serious offenses that are related to prostitution. Although you may hear the two terms used together frequently, they have two different meanings, which we will discuss today. 

    If you find yourself in trouble with the law for pimping or pandering, you must act quickly and speak with a criminal defense attorney. A conviction can affect your social, professional, and financial standing. Contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices to discuss your case today.

    What Is Pimping and Pandering?

    There is a distinct difference between pimping and pandering. Generally, pimping is associated with a person receiving earnings from an act of prostitution. On the other hand, pandering typically occurs when a person convinces or persuades another party to become, or continue to be, a prostitute. Typically, only pimping requires the receipt of money or profits, whereas pandering does not. 

    Pimping and Pandering Laws in New Mexico

    In New Mexico, several laws pertain to pimping and pandering. Depending on the circumstances, you may find yourself charged with one or more crimes relating to prostitution. 


    In New Mexico, a person commits the crime of prostitution by knowingly engaging in, or offering to engage in, a sexual act in exchange for money or something of value. It is important to note that payment does not have to be monetary—it can be anything of value, including drugs or other property.

    In this context, a sexual act means vaginal or anal intercourse, oral sex, masturbation of another, and penetration of the genital or anal opening to any extent or with any object. Whoever commits prostitution is guilty of a petty misdemeanor unless this is their second or subsequent conviction. A second or subsequent charge becomes a misdemeanor, as opposed to a petty misdemeanor. 

    Promoting Prostitution

    In New Mexico, promoting prostitution, otherwise known as pimping, is illegal.    

    Generally, this statute targets third parties who benefit from, facilitate, promote, or make money from prostitution. Although they may face other offenses, the prostitute or “john” (i.e., the prostitute’s client) cannot be convicted of promoting. Instead, the pimp is the target of law enforcement here.  

    An individual might be guilty of promoting prostitution in New Mexico if, while knowing prostitution is occurring, they do any of the following: 

    • Own or manage a house or a place where prostitution is permitted, practiced, or encouraged;
    • Rent any property so that it can be used for prostitution;
    • Procure a prostitute;
    • Induce an individual to become a prostitute;
    • Solicit or find “johns” for a prostitute;
    • Get paid to find a prostitute for the “john”;
    • Transport or facilitate the transportation of a person within New Mexico for prostitution; or
    • Cause a person to enter or leave New Mexico for prostitution by promising something, making threats, or under the pretense of getting married.

    There are many scenarios where a person may face a charge of promoting prostitution. Many do not involve the stereotypical “pimp” you might see in the movies. For instance, an individual could find themselves charged with promoting prostitution for purchasing a train ticket or Uber ride with the intent of bringing an individual to New Mexico for sex.

    Patronizing Prostitutes

    In New Mexico, it is illegal to patronize a prostitute. A “john” can be convicted of patronizing a prostitute under the law if they:

    • Enter a place of prostitution with the intent to engage in any sexual act with a prostitute, or
    • Hire or offer to hire a person, knowing or believing they are a prostitute.

    The crime of patronizing a prostitute is often uncovered due to an undercover sting operation where police officers pose as prostitutes. 

    Accepting Earnings

    In New Mexico, it is a crime to accept the earnings of a prostitute. Specifically, it is illegal to:

    • Accept any money earned by another from prostitution,
    • Own or manage a house of prostitution or a place where prostitution is practiced, or
    • Derive any financial support from prostitution.

    A classic example of accepting earnings is a pimp who takes a portion of the prostitute’s earnings. A less obvious example would be an individual that allows their partner to pay their rent or mortgage knowing the money came from prostitution.  

    Child Prostitution

    One of the most severe and heinous pimping and pandering charges involves children. A person commits the crime of sexual exploitation of a child by prostitution if they:

    • Make money from a child under the age of 16 engaging in any prohibited sexual act with another;
    • Hire or offer to hire a child under the age of 16 to engage in any prohibited sexual act.

    Furthermore, any parent, legal guardian, or person with custody or control of a child under 16 who knowingly permits that child to engage in or assist any person in engaging in any unlawful sexual act is also guilty of child prostitution.

    Child prostitution is prosecuted harshly. You need competent representation immediately if you are accused of committing this offense. 

    Consequences of Pimping and Pandering in New Mexico

    Prostitution or Patronizing a Prostitute

    A first-time charge for prostitution or patronizing a prostitute is a petty misdemeanor.

    A conviction is punishable by:

    • Up to six months in jail,
    • A fine of up to $500, or
    • Both.

    A second offense is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

    Promoting Prostitution

    Promoting prostitution and accepting the earnings of a prostitute are fourth-degree felonies. A conviction is punishable by:

    • Up to 18 months in prison, and
    • A fine of up to $5,000.

    Upon conviction, a judge could give you either of these penalties or both.

    Child Prostitution

    Child prostitution is a second-degree felony, punishable by:

    • Up to 15 years in prison,
    • A fine of up to $12,500, or
    • Both prison and a fine combined. 

    If the child is under 13, it is a first-degree felony, and the punishment increases to up to 18 years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

    In addition to imprisonment and fines, you might have to register as a sex offender, which can have devastating consequences on your life. 

    Contact Our New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers

    Pimping, pandering, and prostitution crimes are not indefensible. Still, it takes a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to get you out of hot water – or at least minimize the burn. Our knowledgeable and committed defense attorneys can help you strategize a defense to combat these charges. For the past 25 years, we have dedicated our careers to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome when they find themselves in criminal trouble. Let us get to work for you. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.