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Is Prostitution Legal in New Mexico?


prostitution legalNew Mexico outlaws the purchase or selling of sexual acts. Also, it is illegal to promote or profit from prostitution, which would include actions such as pimping.

In the state, anyone that commits prostitution by selling or accepting sexual acts in exchange for funds will be arrested. It is important to understand that “sexual acts” are not limited to sexual intercourse; instead, this term involves any sexual act, including oral acts or masturbation. Under New Mexico Statute Section 30-9-2, only those that sell sex are convicted of prostitution.

There is a separate law and criminal charge for those who purchase sex.

What is the Definition of Prostitution?

The state defines prostitution as engaging in a sexual act for payment. The payment does not necessarily have to be cash, either. As long as there is an understanding that an exchange of sexual acts for payment will occur, the person offering the sexual acts will be charged with prostitution.

What is the Penalty for Prostitution?

The state punishes offenders with a misdemeanor, which includes up to six months in jail and a fine of as much as $500 – or both.

What is the Penalty for Purchasing Sex?

Buying sex is equally illegal. Anyone who buys sex, known typically as a “john,” could face criminal charges. If you were to go to a brothel with the intention of buying sex, or pick up a prostitute on the street, you can be arrested and charged with a crime.

The penalties for patronizing a prostitute include up to $500 in fines and six months in jail.

Pandering and Profiting from Prostitution Is Equally Illegal

A person who panders or profits from prostitutes, such as the act of pimping, is committing a crime too. This charge is more serious than those of selling or buying sexual acts.

Those promoting prostitution are charged with a felony, as opposed the misdemeanor charges faced by buyers or sellers of sex.  They could face up to 18 months in prison, and a fine of as much as $5,000.

You can be accused of pimping if you:

  • own or manage a brothel;
  • rent property used for prostitution;
  • find patrons for a prostitute;
  • hire prostitutes or find individuals to work as prostitutes;
  • provide transportation for prostitutes so that they may work within the state;
  • cross state lines for the purpose of prostitution; or
  • receive an income from your acts in the prostitution chain.

Can You Defend Yourself Against Prostitution Charges?

Yes, you can.

However, you need an attorney to assist you with your case. Some viable defenses to prostitution charges, including pimping and purchasing are:

  • Entrapment – Your attorney may be able to argue entrapment, especially if a police officer solicits you into committing a crime that you might not have otherwise committed. If officers entice you to commit a crime just to arrest you, your attorney may succeed with an entrapment defense.
  • Lack of Evidence – The most promising defense is the lack of proof. After all, the officers must show that you were engaging in prostitution or purchasing sexual acts. Without any strong evidence, such as a recording, it is hard to prove the case.
  • Agreement for Commercial Sex – Just walking into a brothel is not a crime. Instead, officers must prove that there was a definite agreement for the purchase of sex.

Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney in New Mexico Today

If you have been arrested for prostitution, pimping, or buying sex, you may have a viable defense. Speak with an attorney today from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices. Our team will aggressively defend your rights and establish a defense strategy that works based on the evidence and factors of your case.

To get started, request a free case evaluation with an attorney by calling 505-375-4664 or by requesting more information online.