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Houston Prostitution Defense Lawyer

The State of Texas views prostitution as a crime deserving of punishment throughout their legal system. There are several aspects to the crime of prostitution:

  • Offering or agreeing to engage in a sexual act for a fee.
  • In a public place, soliciting someone to engage in sex for hire, including inquiring of a person believed to be a sex worker as to the person’s rates.
  • Promoting prostitution ─ commonly referred to as pimping ─ which is obtaining money for an act of prostitution committed by another person or offering the services of another person for a fee.
  • Aggravated promotion of prostitution, which involves owning, investing, financing, controlling, supervising, or managing a prostitution business involving two or more sex workers.
  • Compelling prostitution, which is forcing another person to commit acts of prostitution by threats or fraud, or by causing a child under age 18 to commit acts of prostitution.
  • Sex trafficking, a particular problem in Texas because of its long border. Human trafficking for sex purposes is a form of modern-day slavery. It involves the recruitment of vulnerable people, often across borders, but also domestically, exploiting their economic vulnerability, and by use of force or threats of harm against the trafficked persons or their families, forcing them to commit sex acts for the financial benefit of the trafficker. In these cases, the trafficker, but not the trafficked person, cannot be found guilty of a crime.

Two consenting adults freely choosing to engage in a sexual act for money is less reprehensible than exploiting a child or engaging in sex trafficking for profit, and this distinction is reflected in the law.

Penalties for Prostitution in Texas

Committing or soliciting an act of prostitution will typically be charged as a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of as much as $2000; however, if the person has one or two previous prostitution convictions, it becomes a Class A misdemeanor, with a potential sentence of anywhere from 180 days to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $4,000. With three or more prior convictions, it is charged as a state jail felony, punishable by incarceration of between 180 days and two years in prison and/or a possible fine as high as $10,000.

Promotion of prostitution is usually a Class A misdemeanor, while aggravated promotion of prostitution involving two or more prostitutes is a third-degree felony.

Compelling prostitution is a second-degree felony, which can result in a sentence of two to twenty years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $10.000.

Sex trafficking is a second-degree felony under Texas law, with a sentence of between two and 20 years of imprisonment. If any of the victims are under age 14, or if a victim dies as a result of being trafficked, it becomes a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison. Human trafficking can also be charged as a federal crime, with rather complex sentencing guidelines incorporating with various aggravating and mitigating factors.

If You’ve Been Charged with Prostitution

A conviction on any prostitution charge is sure to damage your reputation as well as your finances, and possibly even your freedom. You need experienced legal representation to avoid the worst consequences of a conviction, and having a good sex crimes lawyer working for you can often significantly improve the outcome for you. Defenses are available, which, depending on the circumstances, may include:

  • You were compelled by another person to commit the act of prostitution under duress.
  • There was no exchange of money.
  • You were the victim of entrapment by police. Law enforcement agencies often conduct sting operations aimed at generating prostitution arrests. If a police officer used a bribe or sexual favor to entice you to commit the crime, forced or coerced you into committing it, or made repeated attempts to push you into committing it, you might have a viable entrapment defense. (However, if you approached a prostitute of your own free will, offered to pay for sex, or approached a prostitute with cash and condoms, an entrapment defense is unlikely to succeed.)

Get the Top-Rated Legal Representation You Need in Houston, Texas

In Houston, if you have been arrested for any type of prostitution charge, contact the Houston area sex crimes defense attorney Mary E. Conn. Mary has earned the highest possible ratings from clients and peers in the legal community and has earned the gratitude of many clients who have been spared the ignominy, embarrassment, and loss of money, freedom, and reputation of a prostitution conviction as a result of her efforts in their behalf. Exercise your rights to counsel and to remain silent, and call Mary E. Conn Law for the legal help and protection you need. Your initial consultation is free.