PANDERING AND SEX TRAFFICKING CHARGES IN NEVADA…

Nevada law defines sex trafficking as inducing or forcing a person to engage in prostitution, or agree to be married to someone else by force and/or threat of force.  These offenses were codified in 2015 and added to the old pandering statute.  Under Nevada law pandering (C category felony) is inducing someone to become a prostitute or continue being a prostitute, and is punishable by imprisonment from 1-5 years.   Since the legislature passed the new sex trafficking laws in 2015, pandering (NRS 200.300(1))  is virtually never charged anymore; because this conduct is covered in the new sex trafficking offenses and have much harsher penalties. 

Specifically NRS 201.300(2) defines sex trafficking as any person who:

  1. Induces, causes, recruits, harbors, transports, provides, obtains or maintains a child to engage in prostitution, or to enter any place within this State in which prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution
  2. Induces, recruits, harbors, transports, provides, obtains or maintains a person by any means, knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that threats, violence, force, intimidation, fraud, duress or coercion will be used to cause the person to engage in prostitution, or to enter any place within this State in which prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution;
  3. By threats, violence, force, intimidation, fraud, duress, coercion, by any device or scheme, or by abuse of any position of confidence or authority, or having legal charge, takes, places, harbors, induces, causes, compels or procures a person to engage in prostitution, or to enter any place within this State in which prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution; or
  4. Takes or detains a person with the intent to compel the person by force, violence, threats or duress to marry him or her or any other person.

 It is imperative to have an experienced Henderson and Las Vegas criminal defense attorney to stand a chance fighting sex trafficking charges.   Adrian Lobo dedicated four years to defending, exclusively, sex crimes such as sex trafficking. 

 PENALTIES FOR SEX TRAFFICKING

Sex trafficking charges are punishable by prison time and the length of time depends on the age of the alleged victim at the time of the alleged offense and are subject to additional fines.  Here is a breakdown according to age:

·      Adult – Category B Felony – 3-10 years, and a fine of up to $10,000

·      Child between 16-18 years old –  Category A Felony - life with the possibility of parole after 5 years served, and a fine of up to $10,000

·      Child between 14-16 years old – Category A Felony - life with the possibility of parole after 10 years served, and a fine of up to $10,000.

·      Child less than 14 years old – Category A Felony - life with the possibility of parole after 15 years served, and a fine of up to $20,000.

If the alleged victim is an adult, probation is a possibility.  However, any offense involving a minor is not probationable.  And if the offense involves the a child and physical force or violence or the threat of force is used, then a court may order a fine up to $500,000.  Additionally, a conviction of any sex trafficking offense requires the person to register as a sex offender pursuant NRS 179D.470.

DEFENSES TO SEX TRAFFICKING

The prosecution is required to prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  Thus, if they fail to produce sufficient evidence, the case should be dismissed.  The evidence typically seen in these types of cases is largely electronic through wiretaps, search warrants that are executed for computers, phones, tablets and other electronic devices.    Otherwise innocuous communications could be used against against a defendant; Nevada law (NRS 201.305) also allows for expert testimony about the prostitution and pimping subculture to explain the pimping/sex trafficking subculture.  

Every defense to sex trafficking charges is going to depend on the circumstances of each case but one of the main methods of defending sex trafficking charges is to attack the legality of the search or the seizure.  Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Adrian Lobo will aggressively litigate the search and seizure issues to have the evidence suppressed and the case dismissed.

Common questions 

What if the girl was already involved in prostitution before the alleged crime?  For example—

Dan, a 21-year-old year aspiring artist, meets 15-year-old Ann at a nightclub on the Strip.  Ann used her fake ID to get into the nightclub and lives at home with her mother.  In Ann’s spare time she records provocative videos on Snapchat to meet men who wine and dine her, and occasionally give her money to get things she needs.  Ann tells Dan that she is 19 years old, and Dan and Ann begin a romantic relationship, and eventually she moves in with Dan.  Dan has not booked any recent gigs, and money becomes tight.  Dan gets worried that they will not be able to pay rent.  Ann records her Snapchat videos to prostitute herself help pay rent and bills in the house.  Dan often texts her complaining about how they do not have enough money and inquiring about her whereabouts and how much money she is making.

In this example, it does not matter if she was already engaged in prostitution before the alleged crime.   It does not matter that Dan did not force her to commit the crime, nor does it matter that Ann wanted to engage in prostitution, because Nevada law does not allow consent as a defense to sex trafficking. 

Additionally, in this example, Dan could be guilty of Pandering (“pimping”) or Living off the Earnings of a Prostitute under NRS 201.320; however, the prosecution is more likely to charge Dan with the harsher offense of Sex Trafficking. 

But Dan did not know that she was 15 years old?  It does NOT matter; lack of knowledge is not a defense under Nevada law.

If you are facing sex trafficking charges in Henderson or Las Vegas, you need to contact Henderson and Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Adrian Lobo.  Adrian has a decade of trial experience and dedicated years of her practice to exclusively defending people accused of sexual offenses.