Prostitution is one of the oldest professions in the world. Many people feel that prostitution should be legalized. With that being said, the crime of prostitution is prosecuted heavily in the State of Texas. Harris County receives grants to prosecute these cases and they do so by spending a significant amount of money and resources prosecuting these cases. Whether you are a female or male, accused of being a prostitute, or accused of agreeing to exchange money for sexual services, the stigma and repercussions of being charged with this offense are serious. Receiving a conviction for this offense is considered a crime of “moral turpitude” the same way a charge for theft is. A conviction can keep you from ever being able to find a job down the road, an apartment/lease for a home, or even a loan. That is why it so important to fight to keep this charge off your record. You need to find an attorney who is experienced in handling these cases and that cares about you record. Our office will fight for you and defend you against these charges. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
What is Prostitution?
According to Section 43.02 of the Texas Penal Code, prostitution occurs when an individual:
(1) “knowingly offers to engage”;
(2) “agrees to engage”;
(3) “engages in sexual conduct for a fee”; or
(4) “solicits another in a public place to engage with him in sexual conduct for hire”.
Some other prostitution-related offenses under Texas State law are:
- Promoting prostitution
- Aggravated promotion of prostitution
- Compelling prostitution
A person can be charged with one of these offenses if he or she invests in, solicits or uses threats of force to compel another individual to engage in prostitution. Additionally, charges can be brought if an individual encourages a child less than 17 years of age to commit prostitution regardless of the circumstances. The Law Office of Henry K. Nguyen, P.C. is experienced in defending all types of prostitution charges and can provide you with a Prostitution Attorney to represent you.
What is the punishment for Prostitution in Texas?
The punishment for a first time offender for a crime of prostitution is a Class B Misdemeanor. That carries a possible punishment of up to 180 days in County Jail and up to a $2,000 fine. If you have prior convictions, the offense can be enhanced to a Class A Misdemeanor or State Jail Felony depending on the number of prior convictions. A Class A Misdemeanor carries a punishment range of up to a year in County Jail and up to a $4,000 fine. A State Jail Felony carries 6 months to 2 years in State Jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
The charge of Prostitution can also be a 3rd Degree Felony if the either party is under 18 years of age, is “represented” as being under 18 years of age or is “believed” to be under 18 years of age. A 3rd Degree Felony carries 2-10 years in the Texas Department of Corrections and up to a $10,000 fine.
Other Consequences of a Prostitution Conviction
Being charged with a crime related to prostitution can be devastating because of the social stigma attached to this offense. Defendants often face public hostility, anger and find that friend, co-workers, and loved ones distance themselves after an arrest for prostitution. We understand the stresses associated with dealing with a charge of Prostitution, not only relate to the criminal charges, but many times involve salvaging a marriage or employment situation. We work discretely and diligently to do everything we can to beat these charges. Property owners are sometimes hesitant to rent apartments to those accused of these crimes, so many people find themselves without adequate housing while their charges are pending.
Defending Prostitution charges
The prosecution’s case depends a great deal on witness testimony. Many of these cases are typically a result of a sting conducted by the Vice department of a police agency. This involves a undercover officer posing as a prostitute walking the streets and approaching people randomly, posing as a patron coming into a strip club or massage parlor asking for sexual favors, or the posting of craigslist.com or backpage.org ads and waiting for people to contact them for services. In these cases, the State usually must establish that an “agreement” was made. Many times, these conversations are recorded, but the quality may not capture the entire conversation or the agreement. Sometimes, there are communication issues due to a foreign language or loud background noise that make it impossible to hear any type of agreement. These cases are often won on the quality of the recordings or the lack of a recording. Make sure you know your rights and do not to incriminate yourself. You have the right to remain silent and not make any statements that can be used against you. Invoke your rights and find an aggressive and experienced attorney who knows how to fight these cases and will work to get your life back.
Contact Henry K. Nguyen Today
Henry K. Nguyen is a Houston criminal lawyer who fully understands what it means to be charged with a crime. His goal is not to be judgmental but to offer support and the best defense possible. Call Mr. Nguyen today at (713) 222-1800 for a free case evaluation in order to give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome.