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Prostitution and Solicitation


Prostitution and Solicitation Laws in Rhode Island

Prostitution in Rhode Island was outlawed on November 3, 2009, by Governor Donald Carcieri. He signed into law a bill which changed a 29-year-old loophole in Rhode Island Law that allowed indoor prostitution now makes it a crime to exchange sex for money in any setting.

Indoor prostitution was legal in Rhode Island between 1980 and 2009 because there was no specific statute to define the act and outlaw it specifically. Activities such as street solicitation (Loitering for indecent purposes or soliciting from motor vehicles for indecent purposes), running a brothel (Venue of pandering), and pimping (pandering) were and remain illegal.

The penalties for prostitution one may face for selling or soliciting sexual services can come not only with a harsh sentence but also can destroy marriages. It will ruin reputations and endanger one’s career, even if charges are eventually dismissed or you are found not guilty. If you or a family member have been arrested for prostitution or solicitation, Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz can help.

As a former prosecutor who prosecuted thousands of criminal offenses in Rhode Island, Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz understands the need for discretion if you are charged prostitution, whether the act of soliciting sexual activity or promoting sexual activity. Even if you face a false accusation, the notice of your court date can cause serious rifts in interpersonal relationships or your employment. He will use the utmost discretion in representing people charged with:

  • Selling sexual services – Prostitution or Loitering for indecent purposes
  • Soliciting a prostitute – Procurement of sexual conduct for a fee or Soliciting from motor vehicles for indecent purposes
  • Pimping or running a brothel – Pandering or permitting prostitution


Rhode Island Prostitution Defense Attorney

Rhode Island prostitution defense attorney Macktaz places your privacy at a premium. Defense Lawyer Macktaz has years of experience in RI Court system as both a successful prosecutor for the state and as a criminal defense attorney since 1997. He works to avoid the filing of charges, making certain that court notices are sent to our office and not your home. Attorney Macktaz aggressively defends against false accusations and obtains resolutions that leave your dignity and reputation intact. Throughout the process, you will be educated and counseled on what to do to minimize the impact of these types of charges on your life.

If you’ve been arrested or cited, time is of the essence to minimize the impact these charges can have on your personal and professional life. You cannot afford to underestimate the importance of having an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. Securing a defense attorney who is well versed in results-driven legal strategies is critical to the outcome of your case. Attorney Macktaz will conduct a detailed consultation to discuss your case and inform you of your legal options. Call (401) 861-1155 to schedule your free consultation with Rhode Island Prostitution Defense Lawyer Joshua Macktaz.


Under Rhode Island General Law Title 11, (Criminal Offenses), Chapter 11-34 Prostitution and Lewdness:

11-34.1-2. Prostitution (Prostitution) Misdemeanor offense

First Offense: $250 to $1000 fine and up to six months in prison, or both
Multiple offenders:$500 to $1,000 fine, or up to a year in prison, or both
Record may be expunged after 1 year from time of infraction

11-34.1-3. Procurement of sexual conduct for a fee. Misdemeanor offense

First Offense: $250 to $1,000 fine from and up to six months in prison, or both
Subsequent Offense: $500 to $1,000 fine from and up to a year in prison, or both
No expungement option

11-34.1-4. Loitering for Prostitution. Misdemeanor offense

First Offense: $250 to $1000 fine and up to six months in prison, or both
Multiple offenders:$500 to $1,000 fine, or up to a year in prison, or both
Record may be expunged after 1 year from time of infraction

11-34.1-6. Soliciting from motor vehicles for indecent purposes – Forfeiture of a motor vehicle. Misdemeanor offense

First Offense: $500 to $1,000 fine from and up to six months in prison, or both
Subsequent Offense: $750 to $1,000 fine from and up to a year in prison, or both. The vehicle may be seized and forfeited.
No expungement option

11-34.1-7. Pandering or permitting prostitution – Not allowed

First Offense: $2,000 to $5,000 fine and prison for one to five years.
Subsequent Offense: Three to ten years in prison and $5,000 to $10,000 fine.


Bill signing finally outlaws indoor prostitution in R.I.

Providence Journal Rhode Island News – 2:04 PM Tue, Nov 03, 2009 – Lynn Arditi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Governor Carcieri signed into law legislation to outlaw indoor prostitution in Rhode Island at a State House ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

The signing closes a nearly 30-year-old loophole in the state’s prostitution laws that has allowed prostitutes to work legally out of brothels, strip clubs, homes or anywhere else — as long as it’s indoors.

“For almost 30 years Rhode Island has had the terrible distinction of being the only state outside certain counties in Nevada where indoor prostitution is not considered a crime,” Carcieri said.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Joanne M. Giannini, D-Providence, and Sen. Paul V. Jabour, D-Providence, the governor said, will help protect the state’s most vulnerable residents and enhance the quality of life in Rhode Island.

It was approved almost overwhelmingly late last week by the General Assembly, which was meeting in special session.

In addition to the legislation’s sponsors, the attendants at the ceremony included R.I. Atty. Gen. Patrick C. Lynch and State Police Col. Brendan P. Doherty.

The new law “sends a distinct message to any group (which) thinks they could use Rhode Island in furtherance of their illicit business,” State Police Col. Doherty said. “The bottom line is commercial sex is now clearly illegal” in Rhode Island.

Lynch said that the new law will “end a blemish” on the state and give law enforcement the tools they need to investigate and prosecute prostitution and related criminal activity.

“Does this mean prostitution will be eliminated in Rhode Island forever?” Giannini asked. “Of course not. But it means Rhode Island will no longer be a safe haven for pimping and trafficking and the victimization of young women.”

The law makes indoor prostitution a misdemeanor crime punishable, for first offenders, by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000, or both. However, the law empowers judges to erase the criminal convictions of first offenders.

Customers or “johns” face the same penalties as prostitutes but without the possibility of having their criminal record expunged.

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