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Portland Prostitution Attorney

In the city of Portland, Oregon it is illegal to purchase or sell sex or sex acts, facilitate prostitution, or force someone to participate in the crime of prostitution. If you or someone you know has has been charged with a prostitution related crime, it is extremely important that you speak with experienced prostitution lawyer Rhett Bernstein immediately.

The Criminal Defense law firm of Rhett Bernstein employs former prosecutors, former law enforcement officers, and former forensic experts. Rhett Bernstein defends clients throughout the state of Oregon, including Clackamas County, Washington County, and the following cities in Multnomah County:

Prostitution Related Crimes

In Oregon, many prostitution crimes are a Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $6,250. The city of Portland and other municipalities also have ordinances prohibiting activities such as "loitering" for the purpose of prostitution, and police in the area frequently conduct stings targeting both alleged johns and alleged prostitutes.

Multnomah county prostitution attorney Rhett Bernstein has extensive experience in Measure 11 sex crime and prostitution-related felony defense. Contact defense attorney Rhett Bernstein right away if you or someone you know has been charged with any of the following prostitution related crimes:

Definitions and Penalties

Click on each crime to view the relevant information.

Engaging in, offering or agreeing to engage in, sexual conduct or sexual contact in return for a fee.

  • Class A Misdemeanor
  • Up to 1 year in jail and $6,250 in fines.

Paying, offering to pay, or agreeing to pay a fee to engage in sexual conduct or sexual contact.

  • Class A Misdemeanor
  • Up to 1 year in jail and $6,250 in fines.

Knowingly promoting prostitution by owning, controlling, managing, supervising, or maintaining a prostitution location or business; causing someone to engage in prostitution or stay in a place of prostitution; or engaging in activity that helps a prostitution based business.

Similar to misdemeanor prostitution, you can be charged with promoting prostitution if money or property was received for a sexual act, even if the act itself did not occur.

  • Class C Felony
  • Up to 5 years in prison and $125,000 in fines.

Attempting or knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining by any means, or to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide or obtain by any means, another person, while knowing the other person will be subjected to involuntary servitude.

  • Class B Felony
  • Up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Paying, offering to pay, or agreeing to pay a fee to engage in sexual intercourse or contact with a minor.

  • First offense:
    • Class C Felony
    • Up to 5 years in prison and $125,000 in fines.
  • Repeat offense:
    • Measure 11
    • 5 years 10 months mandatory minimum sentence.

Buying, selling, bartering, trading, or offering to buy or sell the legal or physical custody of a person under the age of 18 years.

  • Class B Felony
  • Up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Employing, authorizing, permitting, compelling or inducing a child to participate or engage in sexually explicit conduct for any person to observe or to record in a visual recording.

  • Measure 11
  • 5 years 10 months mandatory minimum sentence.

Knowingly using force or intimidation to compel another to engage in prostitution or attempted prostitution; inducing or causing a person under the age of 18 to engage in prostitution; aiding or facilitating the commission of prostitution or attempted prostitution by a person under the age of 18 years; or inducing or causes the spouse, child or stepchild of the person to engage in prostitution.

If any force or intimidation was used to compel another person to engage in prostitution, you can be charged with compelling prostitution.

  • First offense:
    • Class B Felony
    • Up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
  • Repeat offense:
    • Measure 11
    • 5 years 10 months mandatory minimum sentence.

Police Stings

It is common practice for Oregon law enforcement agencies to conduct sting operations set up throughout the state which lure people in and result in criminal charges. If you have been the victim of a prostitution sting in the Portland area, you need an aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner.

Many prostitution cases originate in stings involving female officers pretending to be prostitutes; sometimes street banter between an officer and a civilian is misconstrued as a solicitation. In such cases, law enforcement does not videotape interactions, which means the main witness is an officer, whose word is pitted against an accused person’s word. Cash and/or condoms in a person’s possession can be used as circumstantial evidence.

If you have been charged as part of a prostitution sting, a random arrest, an online interaction or a misunderstanding, get help from a lawyer right away. Do not talk to the police about your case without first obtaining legal advice.

Prostitution is the Class A misdemeanor criminal offense of offering to engage in sexual acts for money or property. You can be arrested for prostitution even if the sexual act itself does not take place. Promoting prostitution is a Class C felony involving the managing of a prostitution enterprise, or inducing or causing a person to engage in prostitution.

Portland Vice Laws

Within Multnomah county, the city of Portland has two very strict city codes in place prohibiting any activity that could be considered related to the crime of prostitution: Loitering to Solicit Prostitution (14A.40.040) and Unlawful Prostitution Procurement Activities (14A.40.050). Both laws have broad legal definitions and the charges can be very difficult to navigate without an experienced criminal attorney on your side.

Definitions and Penalties

Click on each crime to view the relevant information.

It is unlawful for any person to loiter in or near any street or public place in a manner and under circumstances manifesting the purpose of inducing, enticing, soliciting, or procuring another to commit an act of prostitution. Among the circumstances which may be considered in determining whether such purpose is manifested are that the person repeatedly contacts, stops or attempts to stop pedestrians, or repeatedly stops or attempts to stop motor vehicle operators or passengers by hailing them or gesturing to them.

  • Punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $500 in fines.

Any conduct by any person that constitutes a substantial step in furtherance of an act of prostitution. Such activity includes, but is not limited to, lingering in or near any street or public place, repeatedly circling an area in a motor vehicle, or repeatedly beckoning to, contacting, or attempting to stop pedestrians or motor vehicle operators.

It is unlawful for any person to engage in any prostitution procurement activity with an intent to induce, entice, solicit, procure, locate, or contact another person to commit an act of prostitution.

  • Punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $500 in fines.

The following motor vehicles are hereby declared to be nuisances and subject to seizure and in rem civil forfeiture: A motor vehicle used to commit prostitution as defined in ORS 167.007 (Prostitution).

  • Punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $500 in fines.
  • Forfeiture of seised property.

Any property that is used to commit the crime of Prostitution or any proceeds earned during is declared to be subject to forfeiture, as limited by the provisions of Section 14B.50.020.

  • Punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $500 in fines.
  • Forfeiture of seised property.

The city of Portland defines Chronic Nuisance Property as any property where continuous or repeated Oregon state prostitution or prostitution-related crimes have occurred.

  • Court ordered closure of the property for up to 1 year.
  • A fine of up to $100 per day for each day nuisance activities occurred on the property; or
  • The cost to the city to abate the nuisance activities at the property, whichever is greater.

A motel becomes a public nuisance when any motel employee or person in control permits on three or more occasions during any thirty day period or twelve or more occasions during any twelve month period, a customer to rent a room designed for dwelling, lodging, or sleeping purposes by the hour, or rents the same room more than twice within a 24 hour period.

The city of Portland will attempt to notify the owner of record and the person, firm, or corporation in possession of the property, in writing that the property has been determined to be a public nuisance.

  • First-time offenders: $500 in fines.
  • Second-time offenders: $2,500 in fines.
  • Third-time offenders: Closure of the motel for up to six months.

Portland Sex Buyer Accountability and Diversion Program

If you were arrested or received a citation for a misdemeanor prostitution related offense within the city of Portland, it is likely that you were released on your own recognizance and directed to appear in court at a certain date and time. A failure to appear in court at the directed time will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

If this is your first offense, experienced Portland prostitution defense attorney Rhett Bernstein may be able to arrange to have the charges against you dismissed, in exchange for your enrollment in a Sex Buyer Accountability and Diversion program. If you complete all the requirements of the diversion program the charges will be dismissed from your record. To be eligible to participate in this diversion program you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a first-time offenders facing misdemeanor prostitution charges
  • Pled guilty
  • Remain arrest-free for six to nine months
  • Complete a full day Sex Buyer Accountability and Diversion class
  • Pay $1,000 to take the class

The Sex Buyer Accountability and Diversion program, or “john’s” class, offers education about the harsh realities of prostitution, including:

  • Health education, STDs, and other health risks
  • How prostitution affects women and children
  • Mental and physical health
  • Effects on relationships
  • Relapse prevention
  • Healthy relationships
  • Impacts on the community and family
  • The dangers and crimes of pimping and trafficking
  • The ramifications of continued illegal activity

If this is not your first prostitution related offense, a conviction will result in fines and a criminal record that cannot be expunged for at least three years.

Arrested for a Prostitution-Related Crime in the City of Portland?

A prostitution related criminal conviction can result in jail time, large fines, unemployment, and sex offender registration. This type of crime will have a lasting impact on your life, dictating what type of job you are eligible for and restricting your freedom to choose where you live. If you or a loved one are facing the possibility of prostitution related charge and conviction, contact experienced Portland criminal defense attorney Rhett Bernstein right away. Mr. Bernstein will tell you what to expect during your court appearance and advocate for the best possible outcome in your case.


Legal Disclaimer: Nothing on this site shall be taken as legal advice. For advice on a legal matter, contact attorney Rhett Bernstein immediately for a free, confidential, no obligation consultation.

Criminal Defense attorney Rhett Bernstein is available to practice criminal law anywhere throughout the state of Oregon, including: Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties; as well as most municipal courts throughout the Portland Metro area.