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Caught with a Prostitute: You May Sit in Jail for 6 Months

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When most people think of prostitution, they only associate criminal penalties with the call girl or hooker, when there are actually multiple people involved in the act. One such person is the client or “john”, who can also face criminal penalties for soliciting another person to perform sexual conduct in exchange for something of value. In Texas, this is considered a Class B misdemeanor in most cases, with penalties that include:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Fine of up to $2,000
  • Probation

Some individuals may also be required to register as a sex offender. Other times, advocacy groups will simply circulate a defendant’s picture on the Internet to serve as a deterrent for others who are considering visiting a prostitute.

Required Elements

In order to be considered solicitation, the actor must:

  • Knowingly solicit another to perform a sex act
  • Make the solicitation in a public place

An area is considered a public place if it is a location the public regularly has access to. As such, a number of places could be considered public, regardless of how much privacy the parties involved were provided. This includes hotel rooms and individual apartments under certain circumstances.

In addition, a sex act does not actually have to take place in order to bring charges. Merely soliciting someone to perform sex for hire is sufficient evidence for an arrest, which is why police sometimes use “sting” operations to help catch solicitors.

Additional Penalties

Those who solicit a child prostitute face stiffer penalties than those who solicit adults.
Section 43.02 of the Texas Penal Code makes it a second degree felony to solicit a person under the age of 18, regardless of whether the defendant actually knew the age of the other person. Individuals can also receive stiffer sentences if they have previously been arrested for the same crime. One or two previous convictions will increase charges to a state jail felony, while having three or more prior convictions will escalate the offense to a second degree felony.

Affirmative Defenses

There are a number of defenses available to those charged with soliciting a prostitute, a few of which are:

  • Entrapment, which involves the police enticing someone to do something he or she would not otherwise have done
  • The defendant acted under threat or duress
  • No offer of money or item of value was actually made

Soliciting a prostitute is not considered a harmless act, as law enforcement is increasingly considering its ties to human trafficking. As a result, those accused of this crime are likely to be prosecuted harshly, and must be prepared to vigorously defend their innocence.

Hire a Sex Crimes Attorney

Getting convicted of a sex crime will affect your relationships with your friends and family members, your professional career and ultimately strip away your freedoms. The best way to prevent this from happening is to hire a devoted criminal defense lawyer. In these types of circumstances, it’s very important to hire an attorney who specializes in sex based crimes. Such an attorney will be able to provide a solid defense strategy.

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