Frequently Asked Questions about Prostitution in Texas

What is prostitution?

Prostitution involves the exchange of sexual favors (or acts and/or sexual services) involving more than sexual intercourse. The prostitute is paid for his or her services in money, goods, or services.

In Texas, defendants face two kinds of prostitution charges: 1) prostitution (the individual is alleged of selling sex for compensation) and 2) soliciting the services of a prostitute (the individual is alleged of offering to pay for sexual services from a prostitute.

Can I be arrested for prostitution charges?

Yes. If police or law enforcement officers have reason to believe the individual is engaging in selling sex for money or wants to pay for sexual services, he or she can be arrested. It’s unnecessary for law enforcement to catch him or her “in the act.”

Law enforcement agents frequently engage in sting operations that target escort services, adult entertainment businesses, swingers’ clubs, or massage establishments.

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Should I agree to speak with the police officers after an arrest?

No, don’t speak with anyone other than your attorney. Stop talking. You have the right to remain silent and you have the right to request a defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may improve the outcome of your case. He will protect your rights.

Should I bother to hire a lawyer? The police said the charge of prostitution is no big deal.

Yes, you should absolutely hire a lawyer to defend your legal rights. You face jail time and significant fines. If this is your first offense, your new criminal record can affect where you go to school, getting financial aid, or finding a good job you want.

How should I hire a lawyer to defend my prostitution charge?

Realize that you need a specialist attorney. He should have experience in defending prostitution charges. Your family lawyer or traffic court lawyer doesn’t have the experience you need to defend you.

What does an experienced prostitution lawyer cost?

You may also want to ask questions about legal fees. The truth is, you don’t want a discount-rate attorney when you’re facing a jail sentence and significant fines.

What if I didn’t accept any compensation for sex?

Under Texas Penal Code § 43.02 – 43.06, the actor may be charged with prostitution in Texas even if he or she didn’t receive the fee. If the actor offered to perform sexual services in exchange for any type of compensation, he or she may be charged with prostitution in Texas.

What are the differences between prostitution charges?

Texas prostitution law distinguishes between 1) the prostitute (the person engaging in the sale of sexual favors for compensation), 2) the client (sometimes called the john,), and 3) the promoter (known as the madame or pimp who markets the services of prostitutes to others.

Generally speaking, johns and pimps face greater legal consequences than prostitutes in greater Houston.

When could I be convicted of prostitution charges?

A defendant charged with a crime of prostitution may be found guilty when he or she:

  • Offers to engage in prostitution
  • Agrees to offer sexual favors for compensation
  • Engages in any type of sexual act for payment
  • Solicits another person in a public area to have sex in exchange for compensation

What punishments could I face if convicted of a prostitution charge in Texas?

The default punishment for prostitution in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor. The offender faces a maximum 180-day jail term and up to $2,000 in fines.

Could the punishments for a prostitution conviction be increased?

Yes, the offender can face increased punishments, such as:

  • When he or she has up to two prior prostitution convictions, he or she may face a Class A misdemeanor
  • When he or she has at least three prior convictions, he or she may face a state jail felony
  • If he or she solicited a young individual between 14 – 18 years of age, he or she may face a third or second-degree felony charges
  • If he or she solicited a very young individual, less than 14 years of age, he or she may face a second or first-degree felony charges

What if someone else made me commit a prostitution offense?

Is this a possible defense?

Yes, it could be a possible defense. In the state of Texas, a defense to a prostitution charge is if the defendant was a victim. This may include human trafficking.

Are there other possible defenses to a prostitution charge?

Each case is unique. In general, other defenses to a charge of prostitution might include:

  • The actor lacked knowledge
  • He or she was intoxicated
  • He or she lacked discretion because of age
  • He or she was entrapped, such as by a police officer operating undercover or in a sting operation
  • He or she acted under duress, such as when another party threatened bodily injury if he or she didn’t perform sexual favors for compensation
  • He or she received no compensation for the sexual act

What is a promotion of prostitution charge?

Promotion of prostitution or aggravated promotion of prostitution in Texas is a pimping charge. The law says that a defendant commits a crime if he or she acts (other than as the individual directly receiving compensation for sexual favors).

I was accused of promoting prostitution. What does this mean?

In Texas, it’s a crime to promote the services of a prostitute as a pimp or panderer. The promotion of prostitution can include receipt of compensation from an existing agreement to receive benefits from another’s prostitution services.

For instance, if Jack agrees with James to split Kelly’s prostitution fees, this could constitute the crime of promoting prostitution.

If Jack speaks to James and encourages him to have sex with Kelly for money, this is also the promotion of prostitution in Texas.

If James asks Kelly her sex worker rates, this could constitute the solicitation of prostitution.

If Jack engages Kelly to perform sexual favors for compensation and Kelly is younger than 18 years of age at the time, he may face the crime of compelling prostitution. It’s not a legal defense if Jack doesn’t realize that Kelly is 16 years old.

Should I call a Texas prostitution lawyer about my charges?

Yes. Contact our offices immediately regarding your prostitution charge. With the aid of a knowledgeable Texas prostitution lawyer, you may be able to avoid harsh penalties stemming from a criminal conviction.

Contact Matthew Sharp