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Prostitution Crimes

Texas law provides for harsh penalties for a variety of different offenses related to being a “prostitute” (paid for sexual contact), a “john” (the person that pays for the act), or a “pimp” (the person who facilitates the transaction). Because of the underground nature of these transactions, law enforcement officer typically have a difficult time investigating sex workers and those who seek out their services.

An easier way for an officer to make an arrest is during an undercover sting operation. In the sting operation, law enforcement officers will pose as either the prostitute or the john in order to manufacture a crime that can then be more easily prosecuted.

Investigations into major prostitution ring operations and those engaged in the organized criminal activity of prostitution are more difficult, although law enforcement officers will sometimes infiltrate “massage parlors” being run as brothels.

Attorney for Prostitution and Solicitation Charges in Plano, TX

If you were arrested for prostitution or solicitation in San Antonio, TX, then contact the criminal defense attorneys at Goldstein & Orr. We also represent clients throughout the Bexar County. We are experienced in fighting these types of criminal offenses throughout the State of Texas.

During the consultation, we can help you understand the charges pending against you and discuss your legal options.

Call (210) 226-1463 to discuss your case today.

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Prostitution Crimes under Section 43.02

The criminal offense of prostitution under Section 43.02 is violated when a person ether offers to engage in, or agrees to engage in, or engages in sexual conduct for a fee. Prostitution can also occur under the statute for soliciting another in a public place to engage in sexual conduct for hire. Prostitution is a class B misdemeanor unless the defendant has been convicted of the offense before. With a prior conviction, prostitution can be charged as a class A misdemeanor.

The statute does not require any specific language to show that an offer and acceptance was made. In many of these cases, the prosecutor will argue that it is apparent from the conversation that one person wishes to agree to engage in sexual conduct for a fee and that another person agreed to pay. The person who accepted the offer to trade services for compensation will be charged with engaging in prostitution and face up to a class A misdemeanor depending on the facts of the case.

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Solicitation Crimes under Section 43.02

Under Subsection (a)(2), the criminal offense of “solicitation” requires the defendant to solicits another to hire the defendant or to offer to hire the person solicited. Thanks to new legislation passed in 2021, solicitation is a state jail felony unless the defendant has been convicted of the offense before. This is an drastic reclassification from a class B misdemeanor to a felony offense. If the defendant has a prior conviction, they will instead face a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The new bill was passed in an effort to “decrease human trafficking.” While human trafficking has always been a hot-button issue in Texas, it doesn’t mean the majority of prostitution cases are linked to human trafficking. For many people, prostitution is a choice they voluntarily made themselves in order to provide for themselves or their family. Those who solicit their services are not keeping them against their will but are in fact providing funds needed to survive.

The offense of solicitation under Section 43.02(a)(2) requires proof that the defendant either offered to hire someone for sexual conduct or asked another to hire someone. The term “solicit” means to offer and agree to engage in an activity. The solicitation required under the statute is to “engage” with the defendant in sexual conduct for a fee.

Under the statutory scheme, the crime is committed when the agreement to commit the act of sexual conduct occurs and it does not matter that the act was not actually consummated. Therefore, the focus of the prosecution is on the act of agreeing or offering to engage. The prosecutor is required to show under (a)(2) that the offense of solicitation occurred in a public place.

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Texas  Penalties for Engaging in Prostitution

The crime of prostitution or solicitation is normally charged as a class B misdemeanor. The offense is elevated to a class A misdemeanor if the defendant has a previous conviction for an offense under this section. Under Section 43.02(c), the offense of prostitution can be charged as a state jail felony if the defendant has three prior convictions. Even though the statute enacted 2001, even convictions prior to that day can still be used for purposes of the enhanced penalties and classification.

If the person solicited a person under the age of 18 year old, then the offense can be charged as a felony in the second degree. This is three even if the defendant did not know the age of the person solicited.

A more serious offense of compelling prostitution can be charged under Section 43.04 or aggravated promotion of prostitution under Section 43.04. Other related offenses include public lewdness under Penal Code Section 21.07 or indecent exposure under Penal Code Section 21.08.

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Strippers Under the Age of 21 Are Now Illegal

The year of 2021 was a turning point for sex crimes in the State of Texas. Not only were the penalties for Johns enhanced, but exotic dance clubs and other sexually oriented businesses were harmed by recent legislation. S.B. 315 passed in both the Senate and House in May, which outlawed employers or business owners of any “sexually oriented business” to hire any person aged between 18 and 21 years old.

Violations of Section 43.251 of the Texas Penal Code will result in a third-degree felony, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The bill is mostly directed towards strip clubs and exotic dancers, but it points to any business that sells sexually oriented goods, videography etc. Places like sex shops, adult goods stores, webcam studios, modeling agencies, and other similar businesses can no longer employ persons aged from 18-21 in any capacity, even if that person is not employed as a dancer or isn’t involved in commercial sex activity like pornography.

In addition, sex shops and other sexually oriented businesses are losing a ton of their clientele thanks to a consequence of S.B. 315. The new law also bans admittance of anyone under the age of 18 from entering a sexually oriented business and violation of this could result in a class A misdemeanor, which can lead to a year-long sentence in jail.

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Additional Resources

The History of Prostitution in Texas – Visit the website of the Texas State Historical Association to learn more about the history of prostitution in the State of Texas. The article recounts stories dating back to 1817 when nine prostitutes were expelled from the then Spanish province of San Fernando de Bexar (now known as San Antonio). The article discusses newspaper articles from throughout the State on houses of ill fame including Houston, Galveston, and Corpus Christi prior to the Civil War. The article traces the history of prostitution from 1870 until 1910 when it was particularly prevalent. Houses for prostitution were often found near gambling houses and saloons. Although some prostitute had pimps, historically, brothel prostitutes were managed by madams. Find information on how both white and black women figured prominently among Texas prostitutes throughout the last hundred years. Find information on attempts to outlaw prostitution throughout Texas’ history.

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Finding an Attorney for Prostitution and Solicitation Crimes

If you were arrested with either prostitution or soliciting a prostitute in the State of Texas, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Goldstein & Orr. We represent clients charged with sexual abuse crimes throughout Plano, TX, in Collin County and Denton County. We also represent clients throughout the greater Dallas–Fort Worth area including Dallas County and Tarrant County, TX.

Call today to discuss the facts of your case and important defenses that might apply. We can begin your defense today.

Call (210) 226-1463.

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