Houston Prostitution Attorney

Prostitution

In Texas, willfully being involved in a sexual act for money is considered prostitution. Attempting to solicit sex for money is also illegal. Police departments throughout Texas are well-trained to break prostitution rings and illegal bath house services, arrest street walkers, and set up stings for individuals looking for paid sex.

Soliciting prostitution can be charged differently based on where the solicitation took place. Public places, like hotels, stores, airports, sidewalks, or other major public-access location are considered public. Solicitation only applies to people looking to engage in sexual conduct for a fee. Prostitutes are charged separately. Texas makes a distinction between every party involved, from the prostitute to johns to pimps.

Promoting Prostitution

It’s illegal in Texas to promote prostitution. This charge extends to any and all circumstances where the defendant advertised a prostitution service in exchange for money or a percentage of referral’s business. Managing, financing, or investing in a prostitution business is also considered promoting prostitution. This charge is elevated to compelling prostitution when the use of force, blackmail, or other subversive tactics are employed.

Compelling Prostitution

This is a crime under Texas law where the defendant forced, coerced, threatened, or defrauded someone into committing prostitution. Bath houses run with human slaves or homeless is considered compelling prostitution. This law also aims to lower instances of children forced to commit sexual acts for money. Laws are harsh against defendants who are found guilty of compelling minors to engage in prostitution, and harsher still for children under the age of fourteen.

Compelling prostitution is a more serious charge. The defendant will automatically be charged with compelling prostitution if they solicited sex from a minor, even if they were unaware of the victim’s age.

Defense Options

There are a number of methods to mount a defense against prostitution charges. If the defendant was engaged in a conversation about exchanging money for sex with an undercover cop, depending on the circumstances, the defendant could claim entrapment.

If no money exchanged hands after the sexual act, the defendant can claim the act consensual.

If the defendant unwittingly picked up an escort worker or prostitute without prior knowledge of their profession before engaging in sexual activity, the lack of knowledge could be a defense.

In rare cases, the defendant might have been in duress. The prostitute may have threatened the defendant with physical harm into prostitution. Defenses are largely circumstantial. Contact criminal defense lawyer Samuel Gardner for advice if you have been charged with prostitution.

Penalties

Patronizing and basic prostitution charges are Class B misdemeanors. This can result up to 180 days in jail and possibly a $2,000 fine. If this is your second offense, the state may decide to upgrade the charge to a Class A misdemeanor.

Repeat offenses (three or more prostitution convictions) is charged as a state jail felony. State jail felonies go on your permanent record as a felony, but the defendant is placed in jail rather than prison. The jail sentence can range 6 months to 2 years in a state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine.

Soliciting a minor is a serious offense. If the minor is between the ages of 14 and 18, the crime is considered a third-degree felony. Children younger than 14 result in second-degree felonies. These charges may result in a maximum prison sentence of 10 and 20 years, respectively.

Prostitution charges can compound on one another. Promoting prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense. Aggravated promotion (managing or investing in a prostitution ring) is a third-degree felony. Compelling prostitution is a second-degree felony, but will be charged as a first-degree felony if the victim is a minor.