Prostitution and Solicitation in Williamson and Bell County
The non-violent act of consensual sex for payment has been criminalized. With a more focused eye on human trafficking, law enforcement resources are going into combatting prostitution. The customers sometimes called “johns,” are a prime target of stings and other operations.
Within Williamson County, the Prostitution Section Detectives investigates and sets up in-person and online sting operations to find those paying for a sexual act. If you are being charged with any crime related to prostitution, including solicitation, you should seek a skilled defense attorney to represent you before the court and at trial, if necessary.
Prostitution and Solicitation Defense Lawyer in Williamson County
Price & Twine, PLLC are committed to your freedom. We will handle your case with the sensitivity and professionalism that are due for crimes of a sexual nature. The penalties for prostitution or solicitation offenses in Texas should never be taken lightly. By calling (512) 354-1880, Price & Twine, PLLC will schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to review your case and answer your questions.
Michael J. Price represents clients across Williamson County and Central Texas. They’re thoughtful and careful with their clients while aggressively representing them in court.
Prostitution Charges Overview
- Definitions of Prostitution and Soliciting Prostitution
- Penalties for Soliciting and Engaging in Sex Work
- Promotion of Prostitution
- Aggravated Promotion Charges in Central Texas
- Compelling Sex Work
- Defenses to Charges of Solicitation
Definitions of Prostitution and Soliciting Prostitution
Tex. Penal Code § 43.02 defines any sexual conduct for a fee as prostitution. Sexual conduct includes:
- Deviate sexual intercourse – any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person
- Sexual contact – any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person
- Sexual intercourse – any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ
The offense may be committed by the actor who wishes to perform a sexual activity with another person for remittance or by someone soliciting an actor to perform a sexual activity for payment. In other words, both the alleged prostitute and the customer are vulnerable to being prosecuted for prostitution.
The offense can occur before any money is exchanged or sexual act performed. Simply the offer or agreement to engage in sexual activity for payment is an act of prostitution.
Penalties for Engaging in Sex Work
A first-time violation of Tex. Penal Code § 43.02 occurs when a person knowingly offers or agrees to receive a fee from another to engage in sexual conduct. Engaging in the act of prostitution may result in a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and $2,000 in fines.
A second or third violation will result in a class A misdemeanor. This will also expose the defendant to up to one year behind bars and $4,000 in fines.
With a fourth violation, the state will sentence the defendant with a state jail felony. The possibilities of jail time are very likely as the penal code sets forth a minimum six months of jail time and maximum two years. The maximum fine may not exceed $10,000.
If the person being solicited is under 18 years of age, the charge is automatically increased to a second-degree felony, regardless if the defendant was aware of the individual’s age. A second-degree felony will be punished by two to 20 years in state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Updates to the Texas Prostitution Laws 2021
For decades, those who solicit prostitutes faced the same consequences as the sex workers upon conviction. However, a new bill known as House Bill 1540 passed the Texas House and Senate in May 2021. The law was put into effect in September 2021 and ultimately enhanced the penalties for soliciting and/or attempting to solicit a prostitute for services.
Under the new legislation, solicitors will face a state jail felony. If convicted, the defendant will face a punishment of up to two years in prison with a minimum of 180 days in jail as well as a fine of up to $10,000. A second violation will lead to third-degree felony charges, which includes a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
In addition, Texas legislators have deducted that those who purchase services from a prostitute are implied supporters of human trafficking. The act of human trafficking is often referred to as “modern day slavery” as it involves people being coerced/forced into performing labor or commercial sex activity. However, statistics reveal that most sex work is not related to human trafficking at all and they are in fact two separate situations.
Strip Clubs Employees Must be 21 Years Old
In 2021, the State of Texas raised the legal age required to work in a strip club, sex store, adult goods store, or any other “sexually oriented business.” A new bill known as S.B 315 passed in May of 2021 enhanced the age limit for employers of sexually oriented businesses to hire employees from 18 to 21 years old. The bill has majorly impacted Texas’s economy especially strip clubs where the majority of their workers are young adults. However, this isn’t the only type of business affected. Adult modeling studios, webcam studios have also been harmed due to the passing of this bill.
If a sexually oriented business like a strip club employs a person aged 18-21 years old, then they will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. In addition, it’s important to note the business owner/employer could be charged even if they didn’t hire the young adult as an exotic dancer. They could still face criminal charges even if they hired a 20 year old to wash the dishes in the back.
Promotion of Prostitution
Tex. Penal Code § 43.03 defines promotion of prostitution, more commonly known as pimping. The actor in violation of this section will have received money or other property pursuant to an agreement to participate in the proceeds of prostitution or solicits another to engage in sexual conduct with another person for compensation.
Penalties for a first offense of promotion of prostitution will be a class A misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, and up to $4,000 in fines. If this is a second conviction, the defendant will face a state jail felony.
If the individual who has engaged in prostitution is under the age of 18, the offense is a felony of the second degree. This offense carries a prison term of two to 20 years.
Aggravated Promotion Charges in Central Texas
A person who owns, invests in, finances, controls, supervises, or manages an enterprise of prostitution including two or more employees is conducting aggravated promotion of prostitution as defined in Tex. Penal Code § 43.04.
An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree with a prison term of two to ten years. If the enterprise involves anyone under the age of 18, the sentence increases to a felony of the first degree with a prison term of five to 99 years.
Compelling Sex Work
Compelling prostitution, defined in Tex. Penal Code § 43.05, is to force another person to commit prostitution through force, threat, or fraud. The offense is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. If the individual in question is under 18 years of age, the punishment increases to a first-degree felony. An incredibly serious charge, the prison term for a first-degree felony increases to a range of five to 99 years.
Defenses to Charges of Solicitation
Defenses to prostitution typically revolve around poking holes in the state’s claim that any payment was agreed upon for a sexual activity. Additionally, if a person was intoxicated and could show they did not have any intent to exchange money or make an agreement to exchange money, they may be able to provide enough reasonable doubt to be acquitted.
Law enforcement will often set up sting operations with recordings of the agreement. Police officers will go undercover both as customers and providers, and they will pose on popular websites such as Backpage.com or public places known for prostitution. The defense of entrapment has consistently been denied in these sting operations.
A solid defense to prostitution is if the person was performing prostitution under threat or duress.
Experienced Solicitation Defense Lawyer in Georgetown
Being arrested is a frightening experience. Do not let the system intimidate you, but rather arm yourself with an advocate in court. If you are confused about where to turn, call us at (512) 354-1880 immediately. We will schedule a free consultation to talk about your charges, your history, and the potential outcomes of your case.
Price & Twine, PLLC firmly believes in your innocence and our role as the state’s adversary. Our Georgetown criminal defense attorney will take your case to trial or find the best possible outcome before that point. Call us today if you have been arrested for prostitution in Round Rock, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Leander, Taylor, Hutto, or the surrounding areas.