5 Myths About Prostitution in Minnesota

Minnesota ProstitutionThere 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.

Read more about the laws and consequences of Minnesota prostitution in our Prostitution in Minnesota blog series.

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Avery Appelman

Avery Appelman is a criminal defense lawyer and the founder of Appelman Law Firm. While his practice is primarily recognized for its work with DWI and related offenses, he has 16 years of experience working with clients on drug, assault, theft, traffic, criminal sexual conduct, and prostitution charges.


  1. says

    Just wondering. If the above is true, how can a prostitute be arrested 69 times. and still be in business?

    How can any front message parlor or front stay in operation?

  2. admin says

    People commit offenses regardless of how many times they have been arrested, especially when law breaking is their job. Prostitution offers a lifestyle and money that is not associated with education or administrative skills.

    These women get attached to the lifestyle and money that prostitution offers them: for the limited hours they work they can make a significant sum of money, they have freedom to work when they want to.

    As for the massage parlor, it is not illegal to own an operate a massage parlor. Legal problems develop when the therapists are providing happy endings. This requires a police investigation, interrogation of customers and staff, and ultimately an undercover sting operation. Only then would law enforcement have the information necessary to shut down the business.

  3. Bill Scott says

    How can a private transaction that does not cause harm to either party be illegal under the US Constitution?
    I don’t believe it can.
    In slightly more than half the countries in the world the ability to sell one’s personal services, even sexual services, is seen as a human right and therefore legal. In fact the United States wrote and endorsed such a statement of human right at the United Nations.

  4. Bob says

    Is it legal to get a topless massage? I can’t find any info on that anywhere. I’m thinking it would be like hiring a stripper but I don’t know.

    • admin says

      Great question Bob! We are writing up a blog post to answer this question now – it should be up by the end of the day so check back!

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