If you were charged with any type of prostitution charge in Texas before 2021, you most likely would be facing a misdemeanor charge at best.
However, that has now all been changed. This harsh new legislation, put into Texas law in 2021, now makes it a state jail felony offense that usually will carry jail time. If you, or any person, solicits another for paid sexual conduct, you will now face a state jail felony instead of a class B misdemeanor!
Texas became the first state in the union to make solicitation of prostitution a felony offense. Traditionally, Texas police focused on the sellers of prostitution, but now these new laws and penalties are designed to target you as a buyer of sexual favors equally.
Historically, the buying of sex was never legal in Texas. Under both the old and new laws, it is the act of knowingly offering or agreeing to pay a fee to another person to engage in sexual conduct.
Sexual conduct in Texas is legally defined as “deviate sexual intercourse, sexual contact, and sexual intercourse.”
Under these new laws, it is illegal to simply ask for sex in exchange for payment of any type. This means that even if no sexual conduct occurred and no money was exchanged, you can be convicted of solicitation of prostitution.
So, the first radical change to the law makes it much easier for you to be charged by the police for prostitution but also inflicts harsher penalties.
Before passing these new Texas prostitution laws, if you solicited prostitution, you usually would be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for first offenses. Your penalty could be 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. These offenses were not charged as a felony unless you had been convicted three or more times or solicited sex from someone under 18.
Under the new law, penalties for soliciting prostitution are much more severe. Even your first offense is charged as a state jail felony, and you can receive a maximum of two years in state prison, with a minimum sentence of 180 days and up to a $10,000 fine.
Suppose you’re charged with any type of prostitution charge in Texas. In that case, you must immediately seek the professional help and guidance of a Collin or Dallas County, criminal defense lawyer and ensure your rights and freedom are protected at all costs.
What Else Should I know If I’m Facing a Prostitution Charge in Texas?
First, you must remember that under the current changes in the Texas prostitution laws, even your first offense for soliciting prostitution will be a felony offense and almost always carries jail time.
Texas’s current prostitution laws will give you a state jail felony if convicted, up to two years in state jail, and a possible $10,000 fine. It then gets worse; a second offense for soliciting prostitution is usually considered a third-degree felony and carries even harsher consequences and jail time.
Under these new and revised prostitution laws, the crime becomes a third-degree felony if you have a prior conviction.
Even a first offense may become a second-degree felony if:
- The person you solicited is under eighteen.
- The accused (meaning you) believed the person solicited was under eighteen.
- The person solicited even represents themselves as being under eighteen.
When you’re arrested for prostitution in Texas, you’ll be embarrassed, scared, and stressed about what will happen next. With the current harsh realities of the new Texas prostitution laws, your consequences almost always are severe, and a first offense will affect you and those you love for the rest of your life.
So, it’s mandatory to consult with a Collin or Dallas County, criminal defense lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable about prostitution charges and all the new and severe consequences.
What Possible Defenses May My Criminal Defense Lawyer Use?
Some good news is that to be convicted of prostitution; the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following:
- You knew that the person you spoke with was a prostitute or a client.
- You knowingly asked for sex or sexual conduct in exchange for a “fee.”
- You were in a public place.
Contrarily, your lawyer may use as a defense that:
- You both agreed to sexual conduct, but there was no agreement to give or take money or anything of value in exchange for the sexual act.
- You were unaware the person was a prostitute.
- The police “entrapped” you by using harsh language, intimidation, or coercion.
- There is insufficient evidence.
- The evidence presented isn’t trustworthy, or it comes from a person or source that isn’t credible.
“Time is of the essence” in these cases, and the quicker your Collin or Dallas County, criminal defense lawyer knows the details of your charges, the faster they can “get ahead” of your case and help avoid harsh penalties and life-changing consequences.
What Should I Do If I’m Arrested During a “Prostitution Sting” in Texas?
While the way prostitution transactions are arranged has changed with technology, the primary strategies law enforcement agencies use to make arrests for prostitution remain unchanged. Most utilize some variation of the “sting” operation (or “bust”) to crack down on prostitution.
Prostitution is a secretive profession, and most participants tend to work in a particular area of town. The secretive and commercial characteristics of prostitution allow the police to set up “sting” operations where they monitor these areas with a high level of prostitution. The police also will often monitor people connected to illegal sex work.
During a sting operation, an officer may pose as a “buyer” or “seller” of sex. For example, once you agree to the transaction, the police will generally arrive on the scene and arrest everyone involved.
When you are arrested, the police officers will place you in custody first and ask questions later. Any competent lawyer will tell you to say nothing, to anyone, at this time. You must note that from the time of your arrest, the prosecution will use everything you say against you!
As soon as possible, and before police questioning, obtain the professional guidance and help of a Collin or Dallas County, criminal defense lawyer. You have rights, and keeping silent until your lawyer is present is one of the most important.
I’ve Been Charged With a Prostitution Charge in Texas; How Should I Proceed?
The harsh nature of any prostitution charge, if you are to protect your freedom, makes it mandatory to consult with a knowledgeable, thorough, and experienced Collin or Dallas County, criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Ensure you consult and work with a successful and winning law team defending its clients aggressively against all prostitution charges. Consult with them as soon as possible; they will help eliminate or minimize the effects of this life-altering event and get your life back on track.