Prostitution Charge Defense
Houston Prostitution Lawyers :: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp
In Texas, a crime of prostitution may involve 1) an individual’s offer of sexual activity in exchange for money, goods, or another type of compensation, or 2) an individual’s solicitation of prostitution, involving his or her seeking out another individual to perform sex for money. Under Texas Penal Code Section 43.02, it’s illegal for an individual to solicit a prostitute for the purposes of engaging with him or her in sex for hire.
Prostitution Crimes in Texas
Becoming willfully or knowingly involved in sexual conduct for money is prostitution in Texas. The attempt to solicit sex for compensation is illegal:
- Law enforcement officers in Texas are trained to identify and break prostitution enterprises, illegal bathhouse or massage services, or create sting operations to identify individuals in search of paid sex.
- In the majority of instances, a crime of prostitution is considered a misdemeanor crime punishable by probation, fines, and/or jail time.
- An individual prostitute offering sexual hire for compensation faces a different charge. Texas law distinguishes the parties involved in a prostitution service, from the individual prostitute to the client (john) to the manager (pimp).
Soliciting Prostitution in Harris County
- Soliciting prostitution is typically charged differently and depending on where the solicitation occurred.
- If convicted of this type of offense, the defendant faces a Class B misdemeanor charge. Although the penalties for a misdemeanor sex crime are less than those sex crimes charged as felonies, the accused must take the charges very seriously. If convicted of soliciting prostitution, the offender faces up to 180 days behind bars, a maximum $2,000 fine, community service, and/or house arrest or probation instead of jail time.
- In addition to facing a criminal sanction, a sexual offense charge such as prostitution or soliciting prostitution may be extremely embarrassing to the defendant.
- Although a conviction won’t require the offender to register as a sex offender in Texas, it can promote angst among spouses, family members, employers, and work colleagues.
- The law particularly considers whether the accused individual solicited prostitution in a public place, such as a sidewalk, hotel, retail store, airport, train station, or another public-access location. A solicitation charge is only applicable if the individual sought to engage in sexual activity in exchange for payment.
- If the defendant faces a second offense, the state prosecutor may opt to upgrade the charge to a Class A misdemeanor.
Promoting Prostitution in Texas
It is also illegal in the state of Texas to promote or manage prostitution. This charge may extend to any or all circumstances in which a defendant accused of prostitution advertised a sex for money service or received a referral percentage from another party offering sex for hire.
The management, finance, or investment in a prostitution enterprise or business is considered promoting prostitution. This charge may be elevated to compelling prostitution if the offender used force, blackmail, or employed other subversive tactics.
Related prostitution crimes include:
Common Defenses for Prostitution Charges
Each case is unique. The number of options to mount a defense against a charge of prostitution, soliciting prostitution, or promoting prostitution charge will vary. For example:
- If the defendant allegedly engaged in a discussion about sex for hire with an undercover police officer, it may be possible for him or her to argue entrapment.
- If money didn’t change hands after the commission of sexual activity, the defendant could argue that the sex act was consensual.
- If the accused unknowingly picked up a prostitute or sex worker without prior knowledge of his or her profession before proceeding with sexual conduct, he or she could argue lack of knowledge as a defense.
In some instances, a defendant may have been threatened with physical harm for failure to engage in sexual conduct. In this example, the Houston prostitution attorney might present circumstantial defenses.
Contact a Houston Prostitution Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been accused of a prostitution related crime in Houston, contact at The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp 713-868-6100 now. Experienced Houston prostitution lawyer Matthew D. Sharp will prepare a custom defense designed to protect your rights and reputation.