If you’ve found yourself wondering, “is soliciting a prostitute a felony in Texas?” You may be surprised to hear that the answer is Yes. As of September 1st, 2021, all forms of prostitution including soliciting a prostitute are charged as a state jail felony — regardless of whether it is your first offense. Texas is the first state in the United States of America to make solicitation of prostitution a felony.
If you’ve been arrested for prostitution or solicitation of prostitution in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it is more important than ever that you hire an aggressive prostitution lawyer. Being charged with prostitution can now come with more serious punishments that can ruin your reputation, cost you tens of thousands of dollars, and even put you behind bars.
Is prostitution legal in Texas?
According to Texas Penal Code § 43.02 – 43.06, prostitution is defined as “knowingly offers to receive or solicit another in a public place to engage in sexual conduct for a fee.” This includes offering or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee whether or not you pay/receive the fee or are actually engaging in sexual conduct.
All forms of prostitution are illegal in Texas including:
- Promoting prostitution (pimping or pandering): A third party who knowingly receives money or other forms of payment in exchange for soliciting another to engage in sexual conduct.
- Online promotion of prostitution: Any person who owns, manages, or operates a computer service that intends to promote or facilitate prostitution.
- Aggravated promotion of prostitution: Knowingly owning, investing in, financing, controlling, supervising, or managing a prostitution enterprise that uses two or more prostitutes.
- Compelling prostitution: Anyone who knowingly causes a child younger than 18 years old to commit prostitution whether they knew the age at the time of the transaction or not.
The new law defining prostitution as a state jail felony rather than a Class A misdemeanor will be added as “Solicitation of Prostitution” to Section 43.021 as pursuant to the bill H.B.2975.
Examples of soliciting prostitutes
You can still be charged with soliciting prostitution if you are caught offering or agreeing to engage in paid sexual conduct regardless of whether the transaction has been completed. Therefore, you can be arrested for behavior that simply demonstrates the intent. Examples of soliciting prostitutes include:
- Withdrawing cash from an ATM
- Picking up the prostitute
- Driving to the location the sexual conduct is intended to take place (i.e. a hotel room)
- Asking an individual to engage in sexual conduct for a cash payment
Since buying sex is primarily a crime of words and you can be charged even if you do not actually perform the exchange, police officers often go undercover in a police sting operation and set the prostitute, client, or a third party up to agree to the transaction. All the officer needs to make an arrest is an intent to buy or sell sex for a fee.
Possible penalties for solicitation of prostitution
Anyone who is arrested for, convicted of, and charged with a solicitation offense will now face higher fines and increased jail time depending on the offense. First solicitation offense charges could face state jail felony penalties of between 180 days in jail and up to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Second solicitation offenses are considered third-degree felonies and face penalties including 2 to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
With the increase in the seriousness of a prostitution charge comes an increase in the seriousness of its penalties. If you’re facing a prostitution charge, do not wait to hire a Fort Worth sex crimes attorney.
How can a prostitution lawyer help
Being charged with solicitation of prostitution is nothing to take lightly. As we mentioned, if you are convicted, not only are you facing criminal penalties including hefty fines and a jail sentence, but you could have to deal with repercussions to your career, personal life, and reputation.
Hiring a successful prostitution lawyer with a proven track record can help to build your defense by exploring every option available to you including taking your case to trial.
Possible defenses your prostitution lawyer in Fort Worth might use include:
- Police entrapment (read more on the difference between a sting operation vs. entrapment)
- Lack of sufficient or trustworthy evidence against you
- Legal impossibility
- Duress (you were threatened to engage in sexual conduct for a fee against your will or better judgment)
- There was no fee paid for the sexual conduct
- Lack of knowledge
Looking for an aggressive prostitution lawyer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area? Don’t wait to call Westfall Sellers.
So, is soliciting a prostitute a felony in Texas? With the new changes to Texas law, solicitation offenses are now convicted as a state jail felony, at minimum. If you’re facing prostitution allegations, avoid discussing the allegations with anyone outside of your lawyer. Even with the best intentions, you may end up incriminating yourself. Instead, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The prostitution lawyers at Westfall Sellers have years of experience handling the most serious prostitute charges. We are ready to aggressively fight for your case all the way to trial.
Contact us online or give us a call at 817-928-4222 today to get started.
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