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What Is Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution in Texas?

The aggravated promotion of prostitution offense in Texas allows law enforcement professionals to arrest an individual if they believe he or she runs, or helps to run, an enterprising with at least two prostitutes.

This is a very serious charge. It is described under Title 9 (“Offenses against Public Order and Decency”) in the Texas Penal Code.

Texas Penal Code Ann. § 43.04, aggravated promotion of prostitution, states that an individual commits the offense if he or she “knowingly” manages, owns, supervises, controls or finances a prostitution business or enterprise. The offense is considered separate from the promotion of prostitution under Texas law. In short, aggravated promotion of prostitution isn’t merely an enhanced form of the promotion of prostitution.

If you or someone you care about if facing an aggravated promotion of prostitution charge, don’t delay. You must consult with an experienced Texas sex crimes lawyer right away. He will protect your legal rights.

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Legal Terms in the Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution in Texas

  • Under Texas Penal Code Ann. § 1.07, actor involves an individual’s issue in a certain criminal action.
  • Felony is an offense punishable by imprisonment.
  • Person is an association, individual or corporation.

Solicitation of Prostitution in Texas

Solicitation of prostitution involves asking another party for sexual favors in an exchange for money or other items of value. Prostitution involves an individual’s sales of sex for money, services, or goods.

In comparison, the promotion of prostitution always involves a third party (not a prostitute or “john”) who obtains money, services, or goods in exchange for sex.

This is a less serious charge than aggravated promotion of prostitution.

Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution vs. Promotion of Prostitution in Texas

The primary difference between promotion of prostitution and aggravated promotion of prostitution comes down to the number of people who sell sex for money in a prostitution enterprise. (Note: the statute does not provide a definition of ‘prostitution enterprise, but Texas Penal Code § 43.02 defines the term “prostitute.”)

In addition to the number of prostitutes working in the enterprise, aggravated promotion of prostitution focuses on the alleged offender’s active participation in the prostitutes’ activities:

  • If an individual knowingly receives compensation in the agreement of another party’s participation in prostitution, he or she may be convicted of the promotion of prostitution.
  • In comparison, aggravated promotion of prostitution always requires the individual’s involvement with two or more prostitutes.

It is a crime to pimp, i.e. make compensation from the work of a prostitute, or to promote prostitution in any form in Texas.

Promotion of prostitution is considered a less serious crime. Under H.B. 29 (2017), the offender faces a jail term of 180 days to two years and significant fines of up to $10,000 if convicted.

Texas Penal Code Ann. § 43.04(b), amended by H.B. 29 (2017), elevates the punishments for aggravated promotion of prostitution to a second-degree felony. The punishments for aggravated promotion of prostitution include two – 10 years in a Texas prison plus a maximum $10,000 fine.

Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution Punishments in Texas

Texas Penal Code Ann. § 43.04(a) loosely defines the concept of “prostitution enterprise” as a venture, design, or plan in which at least two people agree to, then offer or engage in the provision of sexual favors for compensation.

A man or woman may be accused of aggravated promotion of prostitution when he/she:

  • “Knowingly” acts
  • Engages at least two prostitutes in the prostitution enterprise
  • Controls, supervises, finances, manages, owns, or invests in a prostitution business or enterprise

A person may face a charge of aggravated promotion of prostitution if the prosecutor believes that he or she reflects the elements of Penal § 43.04(a):

  • If convicted, the defendant faces second-degree felony punishments. Default punishments were increased last year.
  • The offender may in some instances face a first-degree felony if the prostitution enterprise employed or managed a young prostitute under age 18. It doesn’t matter if the prostitute shared his or her age with the offender and it doesn’t matter if he or she told the offender his or her real age.

First-degree felony punishments in Texas are severe. If convicted of a first-degree felony, the defendant faces five to 99 years or life in prison plus a maximum $10,000 fine.

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Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Prostitution

The Texas Legislature continues to focus on providing more protections against the sexual exploitation of minor children. The enacting of these statutes expresses an essential awareness that young people are much more vulnerable to the effects of sexual exploitation by adults.

The laws of Texas provide misdemeanor punishments when an adult individual is engaged in the promotion of prostitution of another adult (when force, fraud, or threats aren’t used).

Penalties are much more severe when an adult individual is engaged in the promotion of sexual exploitation of children.  These prostitution-related offenses include:

  • Texas Penal Code 20A.02: Trafficking a minor individual under the age of 18 for the purposes of compelling sexual performance or prostitution;
  • Texas Penal Code § 43.25(e): Inducing a minor individual under the age of 14 to engage in sexual performance or conduct;
  • Texas Penal Code §§ 22.011, .021: The sexual assault of a minor less than 14 years of age is considered aggravated sexual assault (and subject to the consequences of rape of an adult individual in which serious bodily injuries or other aggravating circumstances occur; and
  • Texas Penal Code §§ 43.03, .05: Compelling a minor younger than 18 years of age to commit prostitution is considered a criminal equivalent to the use of fraud, force, or threat used to compel an adult individual to commit prostitution.

Texas Prostitution Lawyer for Solicitation Charges

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a sex crime, it’s important to contact an experienced Houston prostitution attorney right away. It’s essential to defend yourself against aggravated promotion of prostitution charges or any promotion of prostitution charge.

Matthew D. Sharp represents people facing prostitution and solicitation charges throughout the Houston metro area. Contact The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp at 713-868-6100 to schedule an initial case review.

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