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Virginia Prostitution Laws

In the state of Virginia, prostitution-related crimes can be treated very seriously. They fall under Title 18.2 (Crimes and Offenses Generally), Chapter 8 (Crimes Involving Morals and Decency). However, if you are facing charges for prostitution or solicitation, please contact a Virginia criminal lawyer.

Prostitution; Commercial Sexual Conduct (Section 18.2-346)

This section covers two crimes: prostitution and solicitation of prostitution. If an individual performs sexual acts for money or an equivalent (e.g., drugs), or if an individual offers to perform sexual acts for money or an equivalent, then the individual is guilty of prostitution. Section 18.2-346(A). However, the last element of the crime is that the individual then follows up the offer by performing sexual acts or at least “does any substantial act in furtherance thereof.” This crime is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Section 18.2-346(A). Thus, an individual charged with prostitution faces up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a).

Similarly, if an individual offers money to a person in exchange for sexual acts, then acts on the offer, then the individual is guilty of solicitation of prostitution, which is also a Class 1 misdemeanor. Section 18.2-346(B). Thus, the individual faces penalties of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a).

An exception is made if the individual guilty of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Section 18.2-346(B). If the individual solicits prostitution from a minor who is at least 16 years old, then the crime (solicitation of prostitution) is treated as a Class 6 felony. Section 18.2-346(B)(i). In such a case, the individual faces a felony conviction with one to five years in prison, or, at the discretion of the court or a jury, lessened penalties of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-10(f).

If an individual solicits prostitution from a minor who is younger than 16 years old, then the crime is treated as a Class 5 felony. Section 18.2-346(B)(ii). In such a case, the individual faces a felony conviction with one to 10 years in prison, or, at the discretion of a jury or the court, lessened penalties of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-10(e).

Keeping, Living in, or Visiting “Bawdy Places” (Section 18.2-347)

A “bawdy place” is defined as any place (whether inside or outside a building) that is used for prostitution or assignation (a secret rendezvous between lovers). Section 18.2-347.

If an individual (1) keeps, lives at, or visits a bawdy place (2) for immoral purposes (e.g., prostitution), then the individual is guilty of keeping, residing in, or frequenting a bawdy place– a Class 1 misdemeanor. Section 18.2-347. Thus, the individual faces up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a). However, each day that the bawdy place is kept, resided in, or visited constitutes a separate offense. Section 18.2-347.

Aiding Prostitution or Illicit Sexual Intercourse (Section 18.2-348)

If an individual (1) who knows or who should know, (2) transports anyone to any place (3) for the immoral purpose of prostitution, then that individual is guilty of aiding prostitution, a Class 1 misdemeanor. Section 18.2-348. Thus, the individual faces up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a).

Moreover, if an individual (1) helps provide information to a person on how and/or where to procure prostitutes (2) with the intent to enable that person to engage in commercial sexual conduct, then that individual is also guilty of aiding prostitution as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Section 18.2-348. Thus, the individual would also face up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a).

Using Vehicles to Promote Prostitution (Section 18.2-349)

If an individual uses a vehicle or allows for the individual’s vehicle to be used for prostitution or to help prostitution occur, then the individual is guilty of using a vehicle to promote prostitution– a Class 1 misdemeanor. This only applies if the individual knows or has reason to believe that the vehicle will be used directly for or to promote prostitution. Section 18.2-349.

An individual who is guilty of using vehicles to promote prostitution faces up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a).

Taking, Detaining, or Confining a Person for Prostitution (Section 18.2-355)

Unlike the prostitution-related crimes listed above, this crime has very harsh penalties. It applies both to individuals who take or detain someone for prostitution and to parents or guardians who allow the victim to be taken.

Under Section 18.2-355, an individual is guilty of taking, detaining, etc. a person for prostitution or consenting thereto if the individual does any of the following:

  • Takes someone into, or causes someone to enter, a “bawdy place,” or takes a person to any place against that person’s will, for the purpose of prostitution, or;
  • Takes or detains someone against that person’s will with the intent to force or coerce the person into marrying the individual or another person, or with the intent for the victim to be defiled, or;
  • If the individual is a parent or guardian of the victim and consents to the victim being taken or detained for prostitution.

If an individual is guilty of taking, detaining, etc. a person for prostitution or consenting thereto, then the individual is deemed guilty of pandering– a Class 4 felony. Section 18.2-355(C). Thus, the individual faces a felony conviction with two to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-10(d).

Receiving Money for Procuring Person for Prostitution (Section 18.2-356)

If an individual (1) receives money or something of value in exchange for (2) getting someone and/or placing that person in a bawdy place, brothel, or elsewhere for the purpose of prostitution– then the individual is guilty of a Class 4 felony. Likewise, if an individual receives money or something of value (e.g., drugs) for making someone get forced into concubinage, prostitution, forced labor, or the manufacture of child pornography, then the individual is guilty of a Class 4 felony. Section 18.2-356.

If an individual is guilty of receiving money for procuring person for prostitution, then the individual will face a felony conviction with two to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-10(d).

Receiving Money From Earnings of Prostitute (Section 18.2-357)

If an individual, knowing the source of the money, receives money or anything of value from a prostitute’s earnings, then the individual is guilty of pandering– a Class 4 felony. Section 18.2-357. In such a case, a guilty individual would face a felony conviction with two to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-10(d).