How Is Prostitution Defined and Charged in Texas?
Exchanging money or property for sexual contact is against the law in the majority of the United States, including Texas. Being charged with a prostitution-related crime can result in serious criminal consequences as well as devastating damage to the accused person’s career and reputation. This is especially true if the alleged crime involved a person younger than 18 years old. Read on to learn about prostitution-related crimes in Texas and what you should do if you or your loved one has been accused of this serious criminal offense.
Prostitution According to Texas Law
According to the Texas Penal Code, a person can be charged with prostitution if he or she:
Offers to engage in sexual conduct or actually engages in sexual conduct with another person in exchange for money or property
Solicits, or asks, someone else to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for money or property
It is also against Texas law to profit from the promotion of prostitution, which is sometimes referred to as “pimping.” Promotion of prostitution is elevated to aggravated promotion of prostitution if the defendant is part of a prostitution operation or “ring” involving two or more individuals offering sex for hire.
Compelling Prostitution May Result in Decades of Incarceration
The most harshly punished prostitution-related crime in Texas is referred to as compelling prostitution. An individual may be charged with compelling prostitution if he or she knowingly:
Causes someone under 18 years of age to commit prostitution
Causes someone to engage in prostitution through fraud, coercion, force, or threat
Causes someone to become intoxicated to a level that impairs his or her ability to understand or resist engaging in prostitution
Withholds drugs or alcohol from a person who has a chemical dependency to a degree that he or she cannot understand or resist engaging in prostitution
It is very important to note that a person can be charged with compelling prostitution of a child even if he or she did not realize that the other individual was underage. Typically, soliciting a prostitute or receiving money in exchange for sex acts is a misdemeanor offense in Texas. However, compelling prostitution may be charged as either a first-degree felony or a second-degree felony in Texas. This means that if you are convicted of compelling a person under age 18 to engage in prostitution, you could potentially face life imprisonment.
Contact a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer
Prostitution-related crimes can result in harsh criminal penalties, including significant jail time. If you or someone you know has been charged with prostitution, soliciting a prostitute, or compelling prostitution, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight aggressively for your freedom. Plano, Texas sex crimes attorney Darlina Crowder has successfully obtained over 300 not guilty verdicts and acquittals for her clients. To set up a free initial consultation at the Crowder Law Firm, P.C., call our office today at 214-303-9600.