The New York City criminal defense attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have represented many people arrested and given Desk Appearance Tickets for patronizing a prostitute in Manhattan (Penal Law 230.04). These cases can be highly embarrassing and they sometimes cause real damage to reputations, careers, and family relationships. However, a skillful attorney can help a defendant emerge without a criminal record.
These cases usually arise out of undercover sting operations by the NYPD. In those cases, an undercover officer pretending to be prostitute wears a recording device and comes to an agreement with another person to perform a sexual act in exchange for money. The offer to pay or an agreement alone can be sufficient proof of the crime. Indeed, Penal Law 230.02 defines a person as being guilty of patronizing a prostitute when: “(a) Pursuant to prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; (b) He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person or a third person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or (c) He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.”
The most common charge for such a Desk Appearance Ticket in Manhattan is Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the Third Degree, in violation of Penal Law Section 230.04. This charge is a class A misdemeanor, meaning that it can result in a permanent criminal record and has a maximum possible jail penalty of one year.