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There are many common misconceptions about prostitution laws in Minnesota. In this article we’ll separate fact from fiction regarding Minnesota prostitution laws.
1. Myth: An officer cannot expose himself, or engage in sex with a provider prior to arresting her.
Fact: Police have been known to do both of these things to catch prostitutes. Do not assume that a client who exposes himself cannot be a cop. In State v. Morris, a Minnesota appeals court ruled that an officer exposing himself to a prostitute wasn’t extreme enough to reverse a conviction. Cops will go to incredible lengths to make arrests, and even experienced providers have been duped into incriminating themselves.
2. Myth: If a client has sex with a provider, the provider can’t get into trouble.
Fact: It is unlikely that an officer would actually have sex with a provider, but there have been cases in which police have hired civilians to participate in stings. These civilians could go through with the sex act and police would still be able to charge the provider.
3. Myth: Police only target prostitutes who work on the streets.
Fact: In many areas of Minnesota (and the US), more providers have been caught through postings on Craigslist and other websites than have been arrested on the streets. Prostitution has become an online business.
4. Myth: The client has to physically hand you the payment in order for you to be found guilty of prostitution.
Fact: Juries often conclude that an offer or agreement to have sex for money was implied by your words or actions. If the prosecution can prove that the client contacted you looking for sex, that you agreed to a meeting, and that he brought money to the meeting, you will likely be convicted whether or not any money was exchanged.
5. Myth: Prostitution is a petty crime with minor penalties.
Fact: The least serious prostitution charge is a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty for which is a fine of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. Prostitution offenses can also be classified as gross misdemeanors, punishable by a fine of up to $3,000 and a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail. Public acts of prostitution and solicitation of prostitution are generally charged as gross misdemeanors. Felony prostitution offenses involve minors, promoting prostitution, or prostitution-related racketeering charges and can lead to prison sentences of more than a year or fines greater than $3,000.