The criminal offense of “compelling prosecution” under Texas Penal Code Section 43.05 sets out two alternative ways of proving the offense:
- forcing another to commit the offense; or
- showing that the prostitution involved a child younger than eighteen (18) years old.
The penalties and punishments for each version of the offense is different because an offense charged under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the second-degree while an offense under Subsection (a)(2) is charged as a felony of the first-degree.
Attorney for Compelling Prostitution Crimes in Plano, TX
If you were charged with compelling prostitution under Texas Penal Code Section 43.05 then contact a criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, TX. Our attorneys represent clients charged with misdemeanor prostitution and solicitation charges in San Antonio, TX, and the surrounding areas throughout Bexar County. We also represent clients charged with more serious felony offenses for promotion of prostitution, compelling prostitution and human trafficking.
Call us at (210) 226-1463 to discuss your case. We provide a free consultation.
To Compel Prostitution by Fraud, Threat or Force
Under the first method of proving the offense, the elements of compelling prostitution include:
- a person knowingly causes;
- by fraud, threat or force; and
- another person to commit prostitution.
The Statute requires fraud, threat or force although no magnitude is specified. Although the statute appears to require that the other person actually committed prostitution, the courts have held that the actual commission of prostitution is not required. See Davis v. State, 635 S.W.2d 737 (Tex.Crim.App.1982) and Waggoner v. State, 897 S.W.2d 510 (Tex.App. Austin, 1995).
To Compel Prostitution by a Person Under 17 Years Old
For prosecutions involving promoting under aged prostitution, the person that is being compelled to commit the act of prostitution must be less than 18 years old, regardless of whether the defendant knows the age of the child at the time of the offense.
In these prosecutions, being compelled to commit prostitution does not require a showing of threat, force or fraud. Instead, any means of compelling the prostitution will be sufficient. The elements of this alternative way of proving the offense include:
- a person knowingly;
- causes by any means;
- a person under the age of eighteen years old; and
- to commit prostitution.
As to the second element, “causes by any means” is not well defined under Texas law. In fact, the courts have acknowledges that Texas law provides little guidance as to the meaning of “causing” a minor to commit prostitution “by any means.” The Texas Penal Code’s general definition of causation provides:
“A person is criminally responsible if the result would not have occurred but for his conduct, operating either alone or concurrently with another cause, unless the concurrent cause was clearly sufficient to produce the result and the conduct of the actor clearly insufficient.”
See Waggoner v. State, 897 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Tex. App.–Austin 1995, no pet.) (citing Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 6.04(a) (West 2011)).
The courts in other states when interrepting similar statutes have found that: “The purpose of … this statute is to provide maximum protection for minors from the harmful, cumulative effects of a life of prostitution…. [The statute] is intended to prohibit ‘conduct that exploits the immature’ regardless of coercion.” See State v. Wood, 34 Or.App. 569, 579 P.2d 294, 296 (1978).
The Court then found “[o]ne who provides opportunity for a willing minor to engage in prostitution and influences, persuades or prevails upon her to do so has induced or caused the prostitution within the meaning of the statute regardless of her consent.” Id. Using this logic, Texas courts have also found sufficient evidence when the record established that:
- the appellant clearly provided the opportunity for the minor to engage in prostitution; and
- the appellant persuaded the minor to go through with the encounter.
See Kelly v. State, 453 S.W.3d 634, 641-42 (Tex. App. 2015), petition for discretionary review refused (Apr. 15, 2015). A lesser included offense of compelling prostitution can include the charge of being a party to prostitution under Section 43.02. See Raven v. State, 533 S.W.2d 773 (Tex.Crim.App.1976).
Prosecuting Human Trafficking, Compelling and Promoting Prostitution – Visit the website of the Texas District & County Attorneys Association (TDCAA) to learn more about prosecutions for human trafficking from a prosecutor’s perspective. The article is a primer on how Dallas County prosecutors go after the criminals in these cases when victims might be unsympathetic and uncooperative. Read more about human trafficking which refers to harboring, transporting, recruiting for the purpose of forcing them into labor through coercion, fraud or force. The article focused on why prosecutors focus on these charges, how the charges are investigated, options for charging the offenses, and ways to successfully prosecute the cases.
Finding a Lawyer for Compelling Prostitution Crimes in Bexar County, TX
If you are charged with compelling prostitution under Texas Penal Code Section 43.05 then contact a criminal defense attorney at Goldstein & Orr. We represent clients throughout San Antonio, TX, and the surrounding areas in Bexar County.
We represent clients for a variety of prostitution and solicitation charges including serious felony offenses for compelling prostitution and promoting prostitution.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 22, 2017.