You work at a "massage parlor" giving massages to clients. Maybe you have nothing but the most sincere and legal intent to service your clients who need your skills and training. In fact, you could be a licensed therapist or masseuse in your native county or even a neighboring state, but not in New York or New York City. In a variation of this scenario, whether you are trained and educated in a legal, viable and legitimate profession, or not, sometimes you go a little further and offer sexual services. Simply, you may be giving a massage, but other times you clearly are not. On a particular day an undercover police officer comes into your establishment after contacting you through your advertisement online or merely as a walk-in. Without diving headfirst into all the potential scenarios, on this particular day all you did was give an actual massage and nothing more. Can the NYPD arrest you and can the District Attorney prosecute you for merely giving a massage without ever offering any sexual services? The short answer is unequivocally yes, and New York Education Law 6512 allows law enforcement to prosecute you for a felony offense.Unauthorized Practice and Unlicensed Massage: Understanding NY Ed. Law 6512
Pursuant to Education Law 6512, Unauthorized Practice, is a class "E" felony punishable by up to four years in state prison. Specifically, Ed. Law 6512(1) criminalizes any person who is unlicensed to do so, to in fact practice or offer to practice any profession where New York State mandates licensure. The law does not stipulate that a person practicing as a massage therapist is treated any more harshly or lightly than an individual practicing as a dentist, physician or lawyer without a license. The District Attorney in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester and Rockland counties can also charge Unlicensed Massage, aka, Unauthorized Practice, based on a different subsection, NY Ed. Law 6512(2). Also a class "E" felony, if you knowingly assist or abet at least three people unlicensed to practice or engage in a profession, you, as the “manager” or “ringleader” face the same crime even if you did not participate in the unlawfully provided services.Prostitution and Unlicensed Massage: Differences and Consequences
Because you need a license to give massages, merely an offer to give a massage or holding yourself out as an individual who can give massages is punishable as an "E" felony if you do not have a license to do so. While this offense is not considered Prostitution and a violation of New York Penal Law Article 230, the ramifications may be worse. The reality is that law enforcement, such as the NYPD, often pursues this charge as means to prosecute those people they believe are involved in Prostitution, but are unable to charge them with the crime of Prostitution or any of the other related offenses.
In the event that you are in the business that requires a license and you fail to have one, you should consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney before continuing your practice. While you may have a legitimate and legal practice, it is important to be aware that law enforcement is not naive or ignorant to the fact that women and men involved in escort agencies or who work in prostitution often attempt to advertise massage services. Unfortunately, this, in itself, may be a potential crime as well.
Because the crimes of Unlawful Massage and Prostitution are routinely considered the same, the embarrassment and judgement is just as harsh when you are arrested or indicted for NY Ed. Law 6512. You may have been ignorant of the law, in desperate need of employment, or a person who knew from the beginning that your services were a cover for prostitution. Regardless, a felony arrest and conviction can have life destroying consequences especially for men and women who may have immigration issues pending or in the future.
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Recognize the severity of NY Ed. Law 6512, but keep calm, take a step back, and assess the charge or charges you face. Although there is no reason to delay too long, once you are able to rationally examine the crimes and consequences, contact the right criminal defense lawyers to present the best and strongest defense whatever you and your legal counsel ultimately decide that defense is. Because you have so much on the line, when charged with any NY Penal Law Article 230 crime or Unlicensed Massage, let experience, knowledge and advocacy guide you through the fighting criminal justice process.
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Call the Prostitution and Escort crimes defense lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.