February 1, 2023
Prostitution is a criminal offense in Texas, and soliciting prostitution is a crime that is taken very seriously by law enforcement. If you have been charged with soliciting prostitution in Houston, it is important to understand the potential consequences and to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
In Texas Penal Code Section 43.021, soliciting prostitution is defined as intentionally offering or agreeing to pay someone for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct. This can include offering money or other forms of payment in exchange for sexual acts, or even just making an agreement to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for payment.
What Constitutes Soliciting Prostitution?
In Texas, soliciting prostitution is defined by Texas Penal Code Section 43.021 as intentionally offering or agreeing to pay someone for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct. Here are a few examples of actions that may constitute soliciting prostitution in Texas:
- Approaching someone on the street and offering them money in exchange for sexual acts.
- Negotiating with someone over the phone or online to pay for sexual acts.
- Exchanging money with someone for sexual acts that have already taken place or are about to take place.
- Offering to pay someone for sexual acts as a condition of their employment or as a condition of providing them with goods or services.
It’s important to note that in Texas, soliciting prostitution can also include agreeing to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for payment, even if the payment is not actually made. Additionally, it is illegal to solicit prostitution regardless of whether or not the sexual conduct is actually completed.
It is important to note that a person can be charged with soliciting prostitution even if they didn’t complete the act, just the agreement of payment in exchange for sexual conduct can be considered a crime. And it’s always best to seek help from a criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges for soliciting prostitution in Texas.
Penalties for Soliciting Prostitution in Texas
The penalties for soliciting prostitution in Texas can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, but they can include fines, jail time, and a criminal record. In some cases, a conviction for soliciting prostitution can also lead to the loss of a professional license or other negative consequences.
In general, the punishment for prostitution defined in Texas Penal Code Section 43.021 are:
- State Jail Felony: For a first-time offender, prostitution is generally considered a State Jail Felony, which carries a punishment range of 180 days to 2 years in State Jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third Degree Felony: If the offender has a previous conviction for prostitution, the charge can be elevated to a Third-Degree Felony, which carries a punishment range of 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Felony of the Second Degree: If the person with whom the offender agrees to engage in sexual conduct is: younger than 18 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person at the time of the offense; represented to the actor as being younger than 18 years of age; or believed by the actor to be younger than 18 years of age.
|State Jail Felony
|180 days to 2 years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000
|Previous conviction for prostitution
|Felony of the Third Degree
|2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
|Person is or offender believes is under the age of 18
|Felony of the Second Degree
|2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and the specific punishment range for a prostitution charge can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the offender’s criminal history. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you to understand the specific charges against you and the potential penalties.
Diversion Programs for Soliciting Prostitution
Harris County – First Chance Intervention Program (FCIP)
The Harris County First Chance Intervention Program (FCIP) is a pre-charge diversion program that is implemented by the Harris County District Attorney’s office in Houston, Texas. The program is designed to provide education and resources to first-time offenders who have been arrested for soliciting prostitution. The goal of the program is to break the cycle of recidivism by addressing the underlying issues that lead to prostitution-related offenses, such as drug addiction, poverty, and lack of education.
To be eligible for the program, an individual must meet the following criteria:
- Be a first-time offender for the offense of soliciting prostitution
- Be at least 17 years of age
- Have no prior convictions for any other offenses
- Have no outstanding warrants
- Agree to participate in the program
Individuals who are eligible for the program will be given the opportunity to participate in a diversion program in lieu of prosecution. The program typically includes the following components:
- Education: Participants will attend an educational class that focuses on the harms of prostitution and the effects it has on the community. The class is intended to help participants understand the gravity of the crime and the impact it has on society.
- Counseling: Participants may be required to attend counseling sessions to address underlying issues that may have contributed to their involvement in prostitution-related activities.
- Community Service: Participants may be required to complete a certain number of hours of community service as a condition of the program. This is intended to give back to the community and to hold the participant accountable for their actions.
- Restitution: Participants may be required to pay restitution to any victims of the crime.
- Compliance Monitoring: Participants will be required to comply with all conditions of the program, and their progress will be monitored by the program staff.
If an individual successfully completes the program, their charges will be dismissed, and their record will be expunged. However, if they fail to comply with the program requirements or if they are arrested for any other offense, their case will be prosecuted, and they will be held accountable for their actions in court. The program not only provide a second chance for the offender but also helps the community by addressing the causes of the crime and reducing recidivism.
Montgomery County – Prevention of Sex Trafficking Program (POST)
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s office provides the P.O.S.T. Program which was created to assist people who have bought, or attempted to buy, sex from another person and recognizes that everyone has different reasons (or contributing factors) for engaging in such behavior. The Program identifies that, if the demand for buying sex from another person diminishes, sex trafficking can be prevented. The Program allows each participant to learn about their own contributing factors to the sexual behavior and gain knowledge about human trafficking and the effects of this problem on communities, sellers, and buyers of sex.
The P.O.S.T. Program combines assessment, group meetings, and online education to meet the requirements for successful completion. After you complete the assessment, you will be placed in a class. The class will meet once a month for several hours. Additionally, you will be required to complete the online portion of class according to your needs. The online class will be used in conjunction with the face-to -face meetings. The Program is set up to be completed between 6 and 18 months.
The P.O.S.T. Program is administered in different locations depending on where you live. The days and times of the week for face-to-face meetings will vary; we will try to work with your employment schedule as much as possible when placing you in a group class. Most classes will be delivered in either Conroe or the Woodlands and there is an online component.
Everyone who completes the program will have demonstrated self-knowledge around his/her contributing factors to the arrest, have learned skills to manage these factors, and demonstrate knowledge around human trafficking and its effects. Upon completion of the program, everyone will receive a certificate.
Contact a Houston Lawyer for Soliciting Prostitution Charges Today
If you have been charged with soliciting prostitution in Houston, it is important to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand the specific charges against you and the potential penalties and can work to build a strong defense on your behalf.
An attorney can also help you to negotiate a plea bargain, if appropriate, or to take your case to trial if necessary. Additionally, a criminal defense attorney can also help you to address any other legal issues that may arise because of your arrest, such as the potential loss of a professional license or other negative consequences.
At the Napier Law Firm, we understand the seriousness of a soliciting prostitution charge and the potential consequences for our clients. We are dedicated to providing the highest level of legal representation and to fighting for the rights of our clients. If you have been charged with soliciting prostitution in Houston, contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help. We also serve Harris County, Montgomery County, Houston County, Galveston County, Conroe County, and Fort Bend County.