Differences Between Prostitution and Escort Services

Many people use the terms “escort service” and “prostitute” interchangeably. But are they really the same thing? Are they similar at all? What are the legal differences between prostitution and escort services?

Our experienced Colorado attorneys at Weeden Law will answer your questions and outline the key differences between a prostitute and an escort service.

What is an Escort Service?

An escort service is any person or persons who, for profit, makes themselves available to the public for the purposes of accompaniment or companionship. The “escort bureau” is the business which arranges meetings between escorts and escort patrons. 

Escorts must acquire an escort license from local licensing authorities. These licenses are only valid within the locality in which the issuance occurs. These licenses allow an individual to:

  • Hold themselves out to the public as an escort service or accept payment as an escort.
  • Manage or conduct an escort bureau.
  • Declare themselves as an escort runner or accept payment as an escort runner.

What is an escort license? 

Local authorities require escort licenses in order to escort or to manage an escort bureau or escort service. However, they only apply to the localities in which they were originally issued. They remain valid for one year from the issuance date and must renew at least 45 days before the expiration date. Any escort service must acquire an individual license for each person associated with or working for the bureau or service.

What is Prostitution?

Prostitution is the performance (or offer or agreement to perform) a sex act in exchange for money, goods, or services with someone who is not that person’s spouse. The prostitute is the individual performing the act. These sex acts may include vaginal, oral, or anal sex, as well as masturbation. 

It is also a crime to say or do anything which promotes prostitution in a public space. One example could be a person working as a prostitute flagging down the driver of a vehicle. Attempting to get the driver’s attention could result in the conviction of “making a display.” There are also laws against pimping (earning money from prostitution), solicitation of prostitution, pandering (promoting prostitution), and patronizing a prostitute.

What are the penalties for Prostitution?

Prostitution itself is a class 3 misdemeanor. It is punishable with up to 6 months jail time and a fine ranging from $50 to $750. “Making a display” is a class 1 petty offense, which is punishable with up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $500. Patronizing comes with more serious penalties, with up to 18 months in jail and fines ranging from $500 to $5,000.

What are the defenses?

There are a few common defense strategies that can help you beat Colorado sex charges for prostitution. Our experienced sex crimes attorneys at Weeden Law have outlined these defenses below.

  • There was no actual agreement to an exchange of money, goods, or services for the sexual act.
  • Any money, goods, or services exchanged were not for the sex act.
  • The defendant was falsely accused of prostitution by someone else. This may have been a misunderstanding, or it may have happened out of anger or revenge.
  • Someone names the defendant as the culprit, but the defendant is not.
  • Police entrapped the defendant into committing the crime of prostitution, even though the act is not typical for the defendant.

Contact Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeff Weeden Today

Understanding the legal differences between an escort service and a prostitute are essential. If you believe you have been wrongly accused of prostitution, if there was an issue with your escort license, or if you want a free consultation, contact Denver attorney Jeff Weeden today. Our office will help you explore your options and fight with compassion and aggression for you.

Return to Blog Home