Solicitation of Prostitution Laws in Texas
Exchanging money for sex in the state of Texas is strictly illegal. This crime is known as solicitation of prostitution and it can land anyone behind bars, staring at months of confinement and steep fines. In addition, an arrest and conviction for solicitation of prostitution can cause serious damage to a person’s public image. This might lead to the loss of a job or career and shame in a family or community.
When someone is busted for prostitution, it is almost always the client, or the “john”. While prostitutes can be arrested and charged with a criminal offense, the person who is paying money for sex will be the first to find themselves in handcuffs and placed in the back of a squad car.
Prostitution Laws and Regulations
Texas laws are very clear when it comes to the issue of prostitution. According to the law, attempting to pay someone for sexual favors is a crime. Contrary to what some people may believe, a person does not have to actually engage in any type of sexual activity in order to be arrested for this crime. All that is required for an arrest is for a person to agree to exchange money for sexual favors and then attempt to carry out the agreement.
In fact, simply offering to pay for sex can count as solicitation of prostitution. However, a conviction can be reached only if a person actively tries to pay for sex and then attempts to commit the act that was agreed upon.
How The Law Is Enforced
In many cases, law enforcement officers will set up sting operations to catch people in the act of solicitation of prostitution. In these scenarios, an undercover officer or an actor will pose as a prostitute in order to entice someone to offer to pay for sex. When that person attempts to carry out the agreed-upon sex act, officers will rush in to make the arrest.
Despite a popular myth, these kinds of scenarios do not constitute entrapment by law enforcement. Entrapment refers to a situation in which police officers persuade a person to engage in an activity that they would not normally do. However, if a person is driving through a neighborhood known for prostitution and pulls up to a woman to request sex, it can be reasonably assumed that that person was intending to pay for sex.
Although it is a crime to offer sex for money, in many cases, the people who are convicted of prostitution crimes are the people who are attempting to pay for sex. Many law enforcement agencies have rehabilitation programs for prostitutes but this isn’t the case for the johns.
A first time conviction for solicitation of prostitution in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by:
- Up to 180 days in jail
- A fine of up to $2000
A person who has one or more previous prostitution convictions can have their penalty upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to one year in county jail
- A fine of up $4000
People convicted of this crime may also be ordered to perform community service or attend mandatory educational classes.
Hiring an experienced defense attorney is the first step to take after being charged with solicitation of prostitution. An attorney may be able to offer invaluable advice and guidance on how to handle this kind of legal case.
In order to secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to pay for sexual favors. The defense attorney can argue that the agreement was only for sex and payment was not part of the deal. A defense attorney can also attempt to argue that the defendant is only a first-time offender and can enter a guilty plea in exchange for probation, rather than jail time. In these cases, the judge may agree to a plea bargain and the defendant may avoid incarceration.
If you have been charged with prostitution or solicitation of prostitution, it is important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Brett Podolsky can provide the legal assistance needed in difficult times. Contact his office today at 713-227-0087.