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If you or a loved one are facing prostitution charges in Texas, you need to hire a prostitution lawyer, fast. As of September 1st, 2021, soliciting prostitution is being charged as a felony in Texas rather than as a misdemeanor. Not only can being convicted permanently stain your reputation, it can also result in jail time and hefty fines. Additionally, the more often you’re caught and convicted, the worse your punishments become — after three offenses, you could be looking at jail time of up to 10 years and fines as high as $10,000!

Don’t leave your case up to chance — get prostitution defense from the Fort Worth sex crime attorneys at Sellers Law Firm for the aggressive representation you deserve.

Charges for Prostitution in Texas

Is soliciting a prostitute a felony in Texas? Thanks to TV, pop culture, and urban legends, prostitution charges in Texas may often be misunderstood, especially with the new changes to Texas law. Clients routinely asks questions such as “what is the charge for prostitution in Texas?” “How long can you go to jail for prostitution?” “How do you beat a prostitution charge in Texas?”

If you’ve been accused of soliciting prostitution, these are the kinds of questions that you might be asking yourself — or at least the kind of questions you should be asking your prostitution lawyer.

According to Texas Penal Code §43.02, prostitution and/or solicitation occurs when someone offers to “engage, agrees to engage, or engages in sexual conduct for a fee,” or when someone “solicits another in a public place to engage with him or her in sexual conduct for hire” and it is charged as a felony.

There are several legal charges related to prostitution in Texas, but some of the most common include:

  • Promotion of prostitution (Texas Penal Code §43.03): Solicitation to commit prostitution is soliciting or offering another person, sometimes a sex worker, to engage in a sexual act in exchange for a fee. Legally, a fee for prostitution doesn’t have to be money. Jewelry, clothes, and other items are also illegal to directly exchange for sex. Remember: prostitution is illegal, so promotion of prostitution charges apply equally to prostitutes and their clients if caught.
  • Online promotion of prostitution (Texas Penal Code §43.031): Applies to pimps who own, manage, or operate any online services that promote or arrange sexual conduct in exchange for a fee.
    Aggravated promotion of prostitution (Texas Penal Code §43.04): Knowingly “investing in or controlling” two or more prostitutes at a time. Aggravated solicitation to commit prostitution is typically a charge faced by customers or pimps rather than the prostitutes themselves.
  • Aggravated online promotion of prostitution (Texas Penal Code §43.041): This charge includes the same specifications as online promotion of prostitution except that it promotes five or more persons to engage in sexual conduct for a fee.
  • Compelling prostitution (Texas Penal Code §43.05): In addition to promotion charges, pimps can also face second or first-degree felony charges of compelling prostitution. Compelling prostitution occurs when a person causes someone else to engage in prostitution by force, or by any means if the person being prostituted is under the age of 18. It does not matter whether or not age was known prior to the exchange.

Due to the wide variety of charges you or a loved one may face, it is vital that you’re entrusting your prostitution defense to a specialized criminal defense attorney. Generalist or high-volume attorneys may have difficulty fighting the specific case(s) against you and may not be willing to take you through the entire Tarrant county criminal court process.

Penalties for soliciting prostitution in Texas

How long can you go to jail for prostitution? Solicitation laws in Texas represent a broad legal category with possible punishments ranging from state jail felonies to second-degree felonies. Both the specific charges and the potential penalties for soliciting and prostitution can vary significantly based on the specifics of your case.

State jail felony

Solicitation to commit prostitution becomes a felony offense even if it is the accused first conviction of a prostitution-related offense. If convicted, you face anywhere from 180 days – 2 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Third-degree felony

Individuals who are facing their second offense of a prostitution-related offense or who promote prostitution online are facing a third degree felony, punishable by 2–10 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.

Second degree felony

If anyone is accused of solicitation of a minor (also referred to as pimping a minor) you can be charged with a second-degree felony, regardless of criminal history or knowledge of the minor’s age. You can also be facing a second-degree felony charge if it is your second promotion of prostitution offense, second online promotion of prostitution offense or if you are facing charges of aggravated online promotion of prostitution. Second-degree felonies are punishable by between 2 to 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

An important note: If you believed that the individual you were soliciting was under the age of 18, you will be charged with a first-degree felony regardless of the individual’s actual age. This is a common tactic used in Fort Worth prostitution sting operations, using your intent to solicit a minor as cause for enhanced charges. You could also land a longtime spot on the TXDPS sex offender registry.

First degree felony

Almost exclusively reserved for pimps, individuals engaging in organized criminal activity, and offenses including minors under the age of 18, solicitation to commit prostitution charges become first-degree felonies if an individual owns, operates, or finances a prostitution enterprise (two or more prostitutes). You can also be charged with a first degree felony for forcing anyone under the age of 18 into acts of prostitution. If convicted, you are facing anywhere from 5 years to life in prison, and a maximum fine of $10,000.

How to beat a solicitation charge in Texas

Prostitution defense options vary depending on the specifics of each case. However, there are several legally valid prostitution defense options that you and your attorney may be able to use, including:

1. Entrapment

If undercover police aggressively coerced you into falling for a Fort Worth prostitution sting, you and your lawyer may be able to invoke police entrapment as a defense against your accusations.

2. Lack of exchange

If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that money, goods, or services were exchanged for sexual activity, then the act does not meet the legal requirements for prostitution and/or solicitation to commit prostitution.

3. You were threatened (duress)

If a pimp or any other individual used the threat of violence to force paid sexual activity between you and another individual, you and your lawyer can use that fact to argue your case.

4. Lack of knowledge

Although rare, people can end up in an unintentional transaction with a prostitute. If the prosecution cannot prove active intent to solicit a prostitute, you may be able to chalk your accusations up to an unfortunate accident and avoid a conviction.

Don’t risk your freedom — get Fort Worth’s most aggressive prostitution lawyer on your side.

If you’re facing prostitution or soliciting prostitution charges in Texas, you only have one option for maintaining your freedom: hiring the best criminal defense attorney in Tarrant County. With decades of combined experience handling the most complex sex charges, the trial attorneys at Sellers Law Firm know the ins and outs of defending sex crimes such as prostitution, solicitation of a minor, and indecent exposure in Texas.

Take the first step towards regaining your freedom — contact Sellers Law Firm online or at 817-928-4222 to schedule a free consultation today.

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