Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Utah

Understand the various prostitution crimes and their penalties under Utah law.

By , Attorney · Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Updated March 26, 2024

Utah has laws against buying, selling, or profiting from the sale of sex. Acts of prostitution are generally misdemeanors, but other acts committed by those who aid or exploit prostitution can carry felony penalties.

Is Prostitution Legal in Utah?

No, prostitution and related offenses are not legal in Utah. The state prohibits prostitution by and of adults, as well as the prostitution of children. Cities and towns may also have local ordinances prohibiting prostitution.

Utah's Prostitution Laws and Penalties

Utah, like many states, prohibits and penalizes prostitution offenses committed by those who:

  • work as a prostitute (only adults)
  • solicit or patronize a prostitute (customers)
  • aid in prostitution by procuring a prostitute or customer, or
  • exploit someone to work as a prostitute.

The harshest penalties apply to offenses involving prostituted children.

What Are the Penalties for Prostitution in Utah?

An adult commits prostitution by engaging in sexual activities in exchange for a fee or another item of value. Offering or agreeing to exchange sex for money is also a crime—called sexual solicitation. Loitering in public to find customers also falls under solicitation.

Prostitution and Solicitation Penalties

A first conviction for prostitution carries class B misdemeanor penalties, and subsequent violations are class A misdemeanors. Solicitation by a prostitute carries class B misdemeanor penalties for a first or second offense. Third and subsequent offenses are class A misdemeanors.

Class B misdemeanors carry up to six months of jail time and a $1,000 fine. Class A misdemeanors have maximum jail sentences of 364 days and fines of up to $2,500.

Safe Harbor for Child Victims of Prostitution

Utah authorities can't prosecute a child for acting as a prostitute or for solicitation. Instead, the law outlines specific protocols to protect these children and provide needed services.

Immunity for Crime Victims

A person who reports being the victim of, or witnessing, a violent crime won't be prosecuted for prostitution or solicitation if they call 911. The law provides immunity to individuals who report or attempt to report violent crimes to law enforcement.

(Utah Code §§ 76-3-204, 76-10-1302, 76-10-1303, 76-10-1313 (2024).)

What Are the Penalties for Patronizing a Prostitute in Utah?

It's a crime to pay or offer to pay a prostitute for sexual activities. Entering a place of prostitution is also an offense. These offenses start as class A misdemeanors (up to 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine) but carry felony penalties for repeat convictions or when the prostitute is a minor. Most convictions also require the judge to impose the maximum fine.

Repeat offenses. A person convicted of a third or subsequent conviction for patronizing or soliciting a prostitute faces a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies carry a maximum 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.

Child victim. It's a second-degree felony to patronize or solicit a child younger than 18 for sexual activities. A person convicted of a second-degree felony faces one to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Mistake of age is not a defense.

(Utah Code §§ 76-3-203, 76-3-204, 76-3-301, 76-10-1303, 76-10-1313 (2024).)

What Are the Penalties for Aiding or Exploiting Prostitution in Utah?

Utah also makes it a crime to aid or exploit prostitution. These roles are commonly referred to as pimping or promoting.

Penalties for Aiding Prostitution

A person aids in prostitution by:

  • soliciting customers to pay for a prostitute
  • procuring or attempting to procure a prostitute for a customer
  • permitting one's place to be used for prostitution or the promotion of prostitution
  • providing any service or act that enables another person to commit one of the violations listed above, or
  • soliciting, receiving, or agreeing to receive any benefit for aiding prostitution.

A first conviction for aiding prostitution carries class A misdemeanor penalties of up to 364 days of jail time and a $2,500 fine. All subsequent convictions are third-degree felonies with up to 5 years of prison time and a $5,000 fine.

Penalties for Exploiting Prostitution

In Utah, a person exploits prostitution by:

  • encouraging, inducing, or purposely causing someone to become or remain a prostitute
  • transporting a person (or arranging or paying for their transportation) into or within Utah to provide prostitution services
  • agreeing to share the proceeds of prostitution with a prostitute (does not apply to a child or legal dependent of a prostitute), or
  • owning, controlling, managing, supervising, or otherwise keeping, alone or in association with another, a place of prostitution or prostitution business.

Exploiting prostitution is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Penalties for Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution

Exploiting prostitution becomes an aggravated offense if:

  • the exploited prostitute is a child or the defendant's spouse
  • the defendant used force, threat, or fear against any person when committing an act of exploiting prostitution, or
  • human smuggling or trafficking was involved.

Aggravated exploitation of prostitution is a second-degree felony except when it involves a child. Then it's a first-degree felony. A second-degree felony means one to 15 years in prison, and a first-degree felony carries 5 years to life in prison.

(Utah Code §§ 76-3-203, 76-3-204, 76-3-301, 76-10-1304, 76-10-1305, 76-10-1306 (2024).)

Getting Legal Advice and Counsel

If you are charged with prostitution or a related crime, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal legal system and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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