If you or a loved one are facing solicitation charges in Texas, you need to hire an aggressive prostitution defense attorney in Houston — and fast. As of September 2021, soliciting prostitution is now being charged as a felony, meaning that a conviction will come with more severe consequences including jail time, hefty fines, and, if you’re convicted of compelling prostitution, a lifetime inclusion on the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry.
You only get one shot at freedom. Make sure you have an aggressive prostitution lawyer from Thiessen Law Firm by your side.
What are the Texas prostitution laws?
Texas Penal Code §43.02 widely defines a prostitution offense as when a person “knowingly offers or agrees to receive a fee from another to engage in sexual conduct.” But, is prostitution legal in Texas? Prostitution is absolutely not legal in Texas. In fact, as we mentioned above, the Texas prostitution laws have changed and all prostitution-related offenses are now being charged as a felony.
Keep in mind that you can be arrested for prostitution before money has even changed hands and you only have to offer or agree to engage in paid sexual conduct to be charged with soliciting a prostitute. This is commonly experienced by those who were arrested due to an undercover sting operation.
Common prostitution charges include:
- Promotion of prostitution (Texas Penal Code 43.03) charges can be assigned to both the individual agreeing to participate in the proceeds of prostitution as well as those who solicit another to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee.
- Online promotion of prostitution (Texas Penal Code 43.031) charges are reserved for those who operate or manage an online service that promotes or arranges sexual acts for fees.
- Aggravated promotion of prostitution (Texas Penal Code 43.04) charges are essentially for pimping but are cited as “knowingly investing in or controlling” two or more prostitutes at a time.
- Aggravated online promotion of prostitution (Texas Penal Code 43.041) charges are for the same circumstances as online promotion of prostitution, but with five or more persons involved.
- Compelling prostitution (Texas Penal Code 43.05) charges are for recruitment. They cover compelling someone to engage in prostitution by force or compelling someone under 18 to engage in prostitution at all — regardless of if their age was known. This is charged as a 2nd or 3rd degree felony, depending on the circumstances.
If you have been accused of a more serious prostitution charge, or any other sex crime, you need a prostitution defense attorney in Houston that will aggressively fight for your rights. Once you are convicted of a serious prostitution charge it will follow you for life — fighting the conviction is the only thing that you can do to give yourself a chance.
What is solicitation of prostitution?
Texas Penal Code 43.021 defines solicitation as a person knowingly offering or agreeing to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another. This is the most common prostitution charge, and Texas is the only state that charges it as a felony.
We’ve already discussed that money doesn’t need to change hands to establish intent. Here are some examples of evidence that could be used against you:
- A sex worker entering your car
- Driving to a location in which paid sex will take place
- Withdrawing money from an ATM
Penalties for solicitation of prostitution look like this:
- 1st offense for soliciting prostitution: state jail felony, maximum fine of $10,000, maximum jail sentence of 2 years.
- 2nd offense for soliciting prostitution: third-degree felony, maximum fine of $10,000, maximum jail sentence of 10 years.
- Soliciting someone under the age of 18: second-degree felony, maximum fine of $10,000, maximum jail sentence of 20 years.
If you or a loved one has been accused of soliciting prostitution, remember that it will now always be charged as a felony rather than a misdemeanor, making it more imperative than ever that you get a decorated Houston criminal defense attorney right away.
What is the penalty for prostitution in Texas?
Is prostitution a felony in Houston? Prostitution charges in Texas can assume a wide range of penalties, all of which are felonies, depending on the case specifics. The breakdown looks like this:
State jail felony
Solicitation of prostitution is now a state jail felony, even on a first offense. If you are convicted of solicitation of prostitution you will face a maximum fine of $10,000 and 180 days – 2 years in prison.
Third degree felony
Second offenses for solicitation and first offenses for online promotion of prostitution are third degree felonies. If you are convicted for either you will face a maximum fine of $10,000 and 2 – 10 years in prison.
Second degree felony
Second offenses for promotion of prostitution and online promotion of prostitution are charged as second degree felonies, as are first offenses for solicitation of a minor and aggravated online promotion of prostitution. If you are convicted for any of these charges you will face a maximum fine of $10,000 and 2 – 20 years in prison.
First degree felony
Solicitation and promotion of prostitution are first degree felonies when an individual owns, operates, or finances two or more prostitutes, or forces a minor into acts of prostitution. If you are convicted for either you will face a maximum fine of $10,000 and 5 years – life in prison.
Some of the most serious consequences of a prostitution charge are those not reflected in jail time or fines, but the havoc that can be brought upon a personal life. Prostitution charges, like all sex-related offenses, will show up on a TX background check for employment, housing, and loans; and the Texas expungement process does not make things any easier. Put your future in good hands, and build your case with the right attorney — the courts are building their case against you this very minute,
Continue reading: How long is the expungement process in Texas?
How to beat a solicitation charge in Texas
These are a few common defenses for solicitation charges:
Sting operations are an often employed tactic of law enforcement, but they can quickly cross over into illegally coercing people into charges. If undercover police were involved in your case, there is a chance that you were entrapped due to improper procedure.
Insufficient evidence, lack of exchange:
Your representation can attempt to prove that there was no reasonable, articulable suspicion at the time of arrest, or that the prosecution cannot prove to enough extent that money, goods, or services were exchanged or were intended to be exchanged for a sexual act.
This one is admittedly less common, but it is possible to enter into a transaction with no knowledge of sexual intent, or no knowledge of the prostitute’s line of work. Accidents happen all of the time, as do coincidences.
Your attorney can claim that their client was under duress if you were in any way threatened by the prostitute or their pimp to enter into an agreement.
Going up against Texas courts is tough. It takes an immense amount of know-how and tireless effort to combat prostitution charges in Texas. You need representation that wants to go to trial and fight. Mark Thiessen is not afraid to go to trial: he is the Texas Trial Attorney, who has won over 100+ not guilty verdicts and has gotten 1000s of cases dismissed.
The best defense against prostitution charges is at Thiessen Law Firm
The best defense against a prostitution charge in Houston is hiring the best prostitution defense attorney Houston has to offer. Mark Thiessen is an aggressive attorney that fights battles where cases are won: in trial.
Being charged with any prostitution charge, because of the update to Texas prostitution laws, puts your life on the line. Life after a felony charge can look significantly different and all of the baggage that comes with it can affect your relationships, right to vote, and even your ability to get a job.
Do not gamble with your freedom. Call Thiessen Law Firm at 713-864-9000 or schedule a free consultation online today.