Understanding Prostitution Laws in Texas
Despite the fact that prostitution is illegal everywhere in the United States, outside of a few counties in Nevada, thousands of Americans engage in sexual solicitation each year. Nationwide, there were more than 38,000 prostitution arrests in 2016 alone.
Here in the state of Texas, prostitution is quite prominent. In the fifteen-year span between 2001 and 2016, Texas ranked second in the United States for prostitution arrests, with 4,506 people being charged. However, it is important to note that an arrest does not necessarily mean the arrested party will be convicted. With the help of a quality legal team, a prostitution arrest could have minimal implications. However, if handled incorrectly, a prostitution charge could lead to substantial jail time, large fines, and a permanent mark on one’s criminal record.
Different Types of Prostitution Charges in Texas
Here in the state of Texas, a person can face prostitution charges if they are offering sexual acts for a fee, or if they solicit another person, in public, for sexual acts. A person can be charged with managing a prostitution enterprise if they are caught receiving financial compensation for prostitution services rendered. A person can be charged with the offense of compelling prostitution if they knowingly cause a person under the age of 18 to take part in prostitution.
Implications of Prostitution Charges
It is incredibly important for those arrested for any prostitution charges to understand the potential consequences. In the state of Texas, the severity of a charge can be dictated by the type of crime and the number of times the accused party has committed a comparable crime.
A first-time offender convicted of a basic prostitution charge is likely to face a Class B misdemeanor. According to the Texas Penal Code, a Class B misdemeanor charge could lead to a $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in prison. If the person has been convicted of previous prostitution charges, they could face a Class A misdemeanor or even a state jail felony.
Those convicted of managing a prostitution enterprise are likely to face a state jail felony, or in cases involving multiple prostitutes, they could face a third-degree felony. A state jail felony charge can have a monumental impact on a person’s life, resulting in a fine of up to $10,000 and potentially as many as two years in prison. A third-degree felony conviction could lead to a decade of jail time.
In cases of compelling prostitution charges, the importance of quality legal representation is amplified. A person convicted of a compelling prostitution charge is likely to face a second or first-degree felony charge. This means the convicted party could face anywhere from 20 years to a lifetime in prison, as well as fines of up to $10,000.
Contact a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer
Nathaniel Pitoniak has years of experience helping those charged with sex crimes in the greater Houston area. If you have been arrested for prostitution charges of any sort, the importance of quality legal representation cannot be overstated. To set up a free consultation with a knowledgeable Harris County criminal defense attorney, call our office today at 832-315-6283.