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Virginia Prostitution and Solicitation Laws

Prostitution is considered a sex crime in Virginia and a conviction carries jail time and huge fines. Laws against prostitution criminalize the proposal of, agreement to, or participation in any form of sexual act for compensation.

Specifically, prostitution happens when a person trades sexual favors, sexual contact, or the like for financial or other compensation. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable with up to twelve months in jail and/or a maximum fine of $2500.

In Virginia, solicitation is also a crime. Similarly, the acquisition of or attempt to obtain sexual favors, sexual contact, or the like by means of paying another individual for services rendered carries the same penalties. Regardless of whether you are soliciting services or providing them, both individuals are punished under the law.

Associated Crimes

Pandering or promoting prostitution, commonly known as “pimping” and human trafficking are punished ever more severely. By taking or detaining a person for purposes of prostitution, receiving money for placing a person in a place or situation for the purposes of illegal sexual acts, or receiving money from the earnings of a male or female prostitute, one faces Class 4 felony charges.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Virginia's prostitution and solicitation laws.

See also Pimping and Pandering Laws and Solicitation to learn more.


Code Section

Virginia Code §18.2-346 -18.2-359

What is Prohibited


  • either offering or accepting;
  • sexual activity;
  • in exchange for something of value; and
  • both parties had the intent to commit prostitution or solicitation.


Promoting Prostitution: owning, controlling, managing, supervising or otherwise keeping, alone or in association with another, a house of prostitution or a prostitution business;

Who Can be Prosecuted?
  • Prostitute (supplier of services)
  • Customer/"John" (solicitor of services)
  • Pimp/Madame (liaison involved in the transaction)
  • Anyone involved in human trafficking
Penalties Prostitution: class 1 misdemeanor penalties including mandatory STD testing such as hepatitis C and HIV and must enroll in mandatory mental health counseling and STD education.
What is Considered Payment? Money or anything of value in exchange for the sexual services is sufficient (i.e. property).

Definition of "Sexual Activity"

Any kind of sexual relation including traditional sexual intercourse, oral sex, masturbation, touching in a sexual area or even on the buttocks.

Because prostitution laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.

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