The purpose of pimping and pandering laws is to undermine the sex industry. These laws specifically target those who work as the industry's intermediaries as opposed to those who are actually performing the illegal sex acts. The primary targets are those who take money from prostitutes, drive prostitutes to and from clients, recruit individuals into the sex industry and advertise the sale of sex. In fact, the penalties for pimping are harsher than those for the actual act of prostitution. This is quite the interesting twist to the law few are aware of. Indeed, if pimps did not exist, prostitution would not be as common as it is today.

The majority of states classify prostitution and the solicitation of sex as misdemeanors. Alternatively, pimping and pandering are grouped as felonies. Felonies can incur more than a decade in jail along with tens of thousands of dollars in fines. The severity of the punishment hinges on the intricacies of state law and whether the prostitute was a minor at the time of the incident. It is interesting to note pandering is illegal even in the prostitution-friendly state of Nevada. Pandering is considered a felony in all states. States are free to punish everyone who attempts to encourage others work in this disgusting industry. The decision to enter and stay in the industry is ultimately the choice of the prostitute.

There are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to this area of the law. The average person is woefully unaware of what pandering and pimping actually mean in the context of the law. The street's definitions of pimping, pandering and prostitution are different from the law's definition of these crimes. Below, we take a look at pimping and pandering in the context of the law, explain the potential consequences and help readers better understand what these legal terms actually mean.

The Basics of Pimping and Pandering

Certain states incorporate both of these charges in a single cause of action. As an example, some states consider the promotion of prostitution as an overarching replacement for pimping and pandering. Such a general crime narrows in on those who are not sex workers but benefit, promote or obtain financial compensation from sex activities. In the majority of instances, the crimes of pandering and pimping are interconnected but still distinct. Both of these charges are almost always tied to an act of prostitution. Here is an in-depth look at pimping and pandering as defined by the law. We start out by introducing a few legal terms that are bound to arise when discussing this highly unique area of the law.

Important Legal Terms Relating to Pimping and Pandering

In order to fully understand pimping and pandering, it will help to define the common legal terms used when discussing this area of law. When sex crimes attorneys discuss criminal acts, they are referring to acts performed by a person that violate the law or at a bare minimum pose some sort of threat to the public at large. Intent is a legal term that refers to the willingness to perform an action for a certain purpose. This is a resolution to reach a specific end through a particular means.

Liability means responsibility as assigned by the law. An individual who is liable is held answerable for his or her actions. Perpetrators are those who commit the sex crime or other criminal act. Sex offenders are those found guilty of a crime involving rape, sex, molestation and/or the distribution or production of child pornography. Jurisdiction refers to a court's legal authority to hear a case and issue a judgment. If the act in question did not occur in the court's geographic region, the matter must be heard in the court that has the authority to enforce the rule of law.

Most sex crimes accusations require at least one hearing. This is a legal proceeding in a court of law in which an issue of fact/law is presented, heard and decided upon. Trials are sometimes necessary in order to present evidence in front of a judge and/or jury to prove the guilt or innocence of the accused party. Restitution of property or rights can be granted if the judge or jury determine the individual in question deserves to have those rights/property returned. Furthermore, reparations can be provided. This is a legal term referring to compensation provided for a loss incurred by another person or party's wrongdoing.

The Elements of Pandering

In order for the legal definition of pandering to be met, there must be the procurement of an individual for the intent of prostitution. This element of pandering is met merely with the attempt. All sorts of different behaviors represent procurement. Anything from providing a gift to persuading someone to work as a prostitute to threatening someone with violence for not becoming a prostitute, securing a position in brothel for a sex worker and other actions qualify as procurement.

Furthermore, the individual in question must have had the intent to encourage, facilitate or promote prostitution. The law discerns between those who are ignorant and those who have willful intent to engage in prostitution. The only way one can be found liable for pandering is if he or she actually knew of the illegal activity. As an example, if an employer is unaware employees are prostituting one or several coworkers, the employer cannot be found guilty of pandering.

The Elements of Pimping

In order for pimping to have occurred, an individual must have received benefits from the actions of a prostitute. These benefits are the direct or indirect result of the sex services. As an example, if an individual controls a young woman and forces her to have sex with a business associate in hopes that it will benefit him in some way, he is guilty of the crime of pimping. However, there must be specific intent to obtain financial gain and/or other benefits from the prostitute's sex services.

As an example, if a landlord is paid rent from tenants who use sex services to obtain that money, the landlord cannot be found guilty of pimping. So, do not make the common mistake of confusing pandering with pimping. Though some of those who work in this industry will use the two terms in place of one another, the truth is they have distinct meanings. Furthermore, each of these criminal acts requires certain elements to be in place in order to actually have occurred according to the letter of the law.


Laws against prostitution are in place to make it challenging for anyone to engage in, offer or agree to participate in sexual acts for financial gain. Aside from some parts of Nevada, it is illegal to engage in acts of prostitution or own a house of prostitution. Prostitution involves a client, commonly referred to as a “John,” and the person selling the sex act. The two parties do not have to agree to the trading of the sex act for money in writing or any other manner. As long as their actions show intent, they are willingly participating in the act of prostitution. As soon as the individual agrees to pay money for the prostitute's sex acts, solicitation of prostitution has occurred.

As an example, consider a man named Shawn who is approached by a prostitute named Courtney. Shawn agrees to pay $300 for sex with Courtney. Shawn is arrested as Courtney turns out to be an undercover police officer. Though no money changed hands and no sexual act actually occurred in this example, Shawn can still be charged with soliciting a prostitute as he expressed the intent to participate in prostitution.

The Penalties for Pandering and Pimping

Those who are found guilty of pandering and/or pimping face significant penalties. As an example, the state of California punishes those found guilty of pandering and/or pimping with upwards of six years in state prison and a fine upwards of $10,000. The penalties increase to a maximum of eight years in prison if the individual is found guilty of pandering or pimping a minor. Some other states have penalties for pandering and pimping of a minor that extend to 30 years.

It is clear these charges of pandering and pimping carry serious consequences. If you are charged with pimping or pandering, do not attempt to piece together this complicated legal puzzle on your own. Our sex crimes legal experts are here to help you every step of the way. We will review the unique facts of your pimping or pandering case, help you build a sound defense and fiercely represent your interests in and out of a court of law. This is the expert legal assistance you need during this difficult portion of your life.

Defending Against Pandering and Pimping Charges

If the state is able to prove the elements of either pandering or pimping as outlined above, the defendant can still escape punishment with a prudent legal strategy. It is best to ally with a skilled sex crimes attorney when facing any type of pandering or pimping charge. Consult with our attorneys and we will help you develop a solid legal defense. As an example, our legal team can develop affirmative defenses that will help you avoid liability. Examples of affirmative defenses range from entrapment to coercion, involuntary intoxication, mistake of fact etc. Specific affirmative defenses differ based on state case law and other details so you will need an experienced sex crimes attorney in your corner to emerge with a fair and just result.

A Closer Look at Pandering

According to the strictest of definitions, pandering is an act that provides something another person requires or needs. In relation to the law, pandering is the act of searching for prostitutes and soliciting people for those sex workers. It is important to note the word “pandering” is used interchangeably with “pimping” in certain districts in the United States. Both terms refer to the actions of an individual who operates, manages and profits from sex services.

Pimps and Pandering

The average person is aware of the fact that prostitution is against the law across the country except for portions of Nevada. However, most people are unaware other relating actions are illegal as well. As an example, a pimp engages in illegal activity when he exploits sex workers and/or facilitates sex acts for money or another form of benefit. In order to understand exactly what pandering and pimping are, it will help to provide the most basic of examples of these crimes. Consider a hypothetical situation in which a man convinces a young woman to work as a prostitute on the street. This man is guilty of pandering. If this man takes any part of the young woman's profits made from performing illegal sex acts, he has participated in the illegal act of pimping.

The Targets of Pimping and Pandering Laws

Pandering and pimping laws target a wide range of people. There is no excuse to be involved in sex acts for money of any type. Everyone involved in prostitution from the prostitute all the way on up to the pimp and others who facilitate these transactions are a target of law enforcement. So do not assume it is only the prostitute or the client who is at risk. Everyone who benefits, exploits or promotes acts of prostitution is breaking the law and will be targeted by law enforcement.

Pandering laws zero in on those who solicit financial gain from, work for or advertise on behalf of another party with the overarching aim of facilitating the sex trade. Even providing support for a pimp or prostitute can land you on a list of targeted individuals. Something as indirect as recruiting a prostitute really will lead to serious charges that have the potential to result in a lengthy jail stay, significant fines and other penalties.

Sex Crimes Attorney is Here to Help

If you are dealing with a pimping and/or pandering charge, you should know you are not alone. Reach out to Sex Crimes Attorney at 888-666-8480 to schedule a consultation with our stellar law team. We can help you defeat the charge or at least attempt to decrease the severity of a potential penalty. Contact us today to learn more about our legal services and how we can help in your quest for justice.