Is Prostitution Legal in Nevada?

Nevada is the only state in the U.S. in which prostitution is legally permitted in some fashion. Prostitution and solicitation are legal within ten of Nevada’s 16 counties, all of which have populations under 700,000 residents. In counties where prostitution and solicitation are legal, however, it can only occur within officially licensed brothels.

If you are charged with prostitution in Nevada, the first offense will usually be a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine up to $1000. You may not even receive jail time, but rather, a fine and education on AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.

Where is Prostitution Legal in Nevada?

Prostitution is legal as long as it is regulated and occurs within an officially licensed brothel in these Nevada counties:

  • Churchill County
  • Lander County
  • Elko County (only in incorporated Elko, Carlin, Wendover and Wells)
  • Lyon County (only in Mound House)
  • Esmeralda County
  • Mineral County
  • Humboldt County (only in incorporated Winnemucca)
  • Nye County
  • White Pine County (only in incorporated Ely)
  • Storey County

Once again, prostitution in any of the above counties can only occur within licensed brothels. In order to work in a brothel, you must be age 21 or over, have a work card, get paid fair wages, and work there of your own free will. As of February 2021, there are about 20 licensed brothels across seven counties, per the Nevada Brothel Association.

Where is Prostitution Illegal in Nevada?

Prostitution remains illegal in the following Nevada counties (all of which have populations of at least 700,000):

  • Carson City
  • Washoe County
  • Pershing County
  • Lincoln County
  • Eureka County
  • Douglas County
  • Clark County

How is Prostitution Defined in Nevada?

Prostitution is defined in Nevada as the act of trading a fee for sexual favors. These include oral sex, anal sex, intercourse, and groping over clothing. Fees can be anything of value, including money, drugs or jewelry.

Solicitation of prostitution, on the other hand, is offering or agreeing to engage in prostitution. Solicitation is punished the same as prostitution in areas of Nevada in which prostitution is illegal. Solicitation typically occurs on street corners, in lounges, bars, strip clubs, massage parlors, nightclubs, gentleman’s clubs and casinos. Prostitution may also be solicited by the internet, through print ads, or by telephone.

What are the Penalties for Prostitution in Nevada?

Penalties for prostitution in Nevada vary depending upon the crime. For example:

  • If the defendant is the alleged prostitute, a misdemeanor is typically charged, with a fine of up to $1000 and/or six months in jail.
  • If the defendant is the alleged customer, a first offense is a misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of fine up to $1000 and/or up to six months in jail, an additional fine of $400 and a civil penalty of $200; a second offense is a gross misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to $2000 fine and/or up to 364 days in jail, an additional fine of $800 and a civil penalty of $200; and a third offense is also a gross misdemeanor, carrying the same penalties.
  • If the defendant is an alleged prostitute who knows he or she has HIV, a Category B felony is charged, carrying a penalty of two to 10 years in state prison and/or $10,000 in fines.
  • If the defendant is an alleged customer soliciting a child under 18, a first offense is a Category E felony, carrying probation and a suspended sentence, with a possible jail sentence of up to one year. A second offense is a Category D felony, carrying one to 4 years in prison and $5000 in fines; and a third offense is a Category C felony, carrying one to 5 years in prison and up to $10000 in fines.
  • If the defendant has three prior soliciting convictions in five years and is caught again soliciting in a casino, a misdemeanor is charged, with fine up to $1000 and/or six months in jail.

If you have been accused of soliciting prostitution or participating in prostitution, our criminal defense law firm can help you. Contact us today.