In the state of Texas, it’s a felony to solicit prostitution. The state defines solicitation as paying or offering to pay to engage in sexual conduct with an individual. A person is also considered to have solicited prostitution if they offer to pay someone for the right to have sex with a man or woman other than the person who is collecting the money.
Prostitution can take place online and in the physical world
As prostitution is generally defined as engaging in any sort of sexual conduct in exchange for money, you don’t necessarily need to hire someone on the street to violate the law. Instead, you could theoretically do so by hiring someone to take off their clothes for you on a webcam. Furthermore, you might be on shaky legal ground if you pay for sex through an online portal, even if you engage in such an activity in a hotel or at your house.
How many people are arrested for soliciting prostitution each year?
Each year in the U.S., tens of thousands of people are taken into custody for solicitation and prostitution-related crimes. In Texas, solicitation is classified as a felony due to the state’s long history of problems with human trafficking. Despite the harsh penalties, Texas remains one of the top 10 states for prostitution arrests in the U.S., according to a report by ProCon.org.
Learn what Texas law says about a compelling prostitution charge, as well as the penalties for pimping and pandering.
What are the penalties if you’re convicted of solicitation in Texas?
If it’s your 1st offense, you can expect to spend at least 180 days in a state jail if you are convicted of solicitation in Texas. Additionally, you may be fined up to $2,000. If you’ve been convicted of this charge in the past, you will likely spend at least 2 years in state prison and pay a fine of up to $10,000.
Penalties may be more severe if you‘re charged with engaging in sexual conduct with an individual under the age of 18 or with someone who you believed was under the age of 18. It’s worth noting that your reputation within the community can also be affected, which can make it more difficult to obtain a decent job or suitable housing.
What other crimes might be related to prostitution?
There are a variety of criminal acts that might arise from a person’s attempt to solicit prostitution. For example, if an individual contacts a minor about engaging in sexual conduct, that act would be considered a crime regardless of whether money was exchanged or there was a promise to exchange money.
Even if an adult agrees to have sex in exchange for money, that person has the right to withdraw consent at any time. If the person paying for sex refuses to stop after consent is withdrawn, they can be charged with sexual assault, rape or similar crimes.
If you are charged with solicitation, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. It’s not uncommon for police to use tactics like entrapment to unfairly target and arrest people for solicitation, so you need someone by your side who understands the laws around prostitution and solicitation in Texas. An experienced sex crime criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case and devise the best possible defense to ensure your rights are protected.