Arizona’s Sex Work Laws and the Consequences for Breaking Them

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Arizona’s Sex Work Laws and the Consequences for Breaking Them

It may be the world’s oldest profession, but in Arizona, prostitution is illegal. Understanding the laws surrounding sex work is important because there are very fine differences between escort services and prostitution. If you have been arrested for sex work or charged with prostitution, you will need a good lawyer to avoid jail time.  

How Is Sex Work Defined in Arizona?

Sex Work vs. Prostitution

There has been a recent cultural shift in how many use the word “prostitution.” because of the poor cultural connotations, many have asked that the term “sex work” be used instead. However, sex work and prostitution have the same definition according to Arizona law. And although sex work may be legal in our neighboring state of Nevada, it is always illegal in Arizona.

Sex work means trading sexual contact for money or things of value. Arizona’s prostitution laws cover several facets of sex work.

  • Soliciting (offering or asking for services)
  • Facilitating services (acting as a middleman or pimp, paying utilities or rent on a space)
  • Engaging or making strides to engage in the agreed sexual service

Sex Work vs. Escort Services

Escort services and sex work may be similar, however, one is legal in Arizona and the other is not. 

Escort services are an exchange of companionship for money. This can include accompaniment to events, providing conversation, privately modeling clothes or lingerie, performing a striptease, or doing topless work (like cleaning). The main difference is that none of these actions involve sexual contact, which makes escorting legal in Arizona. 

Consequences for Sex Work in Arizona 

There are several consequences for prostitution in Arizona. It is a stackable law, meaning the penalties become heavier every time there is a guilty charge. 

The first through third offenses are class 1 misdemeanors, with minimum required jail time that varies depending on the number of prior offenses. 

1st Offense Minimum Jail Sentence: 15 days

2nd Offense Minimum Jail Sentence: 30 days

3rd Offense Minimum Jail Sentence: 60 days

The maximum sentences for class 1 misdemeanors are 6 months in jail, 3 years of probation, and fines of up to $2,500. After the third conviction, any repeat offenses will qualify as class 5 felonies. The punishments for felonies increase significantly, with a minimum of 180 days in jail and a maximum of 7.5 years. 

If You Have Been Arrested for Sex Work, You Need a Lawyer

Being charged with a crime, especially for the second, third, or fourth time can jeopardize your opportunities to live a normal life. Spending time in jail or prison may make it more difficult to find housing or employment, and it separates you from your family and loved ones. The best way to mitigate the amount of time you spend incarcerated and reduce the amount of fines you need to pay is to hire an experienced defense lawyer. 

Todd Coolidge is a certified criminal defense attorney with a winning track record. He can give you the best chance at securing a verdict that does the least amount of damage to your life. Todd Coolidge believes that every case matters, and works on each case personally. If you are facing criminal charges, contact us today for a consultation on your case.




Images used under creative commons licence – commercial use (1/30/24). Photo by Terry Vlisidis on Unsplash.