Fort Worth Prostitution Lawyer
Under Texas law, both individuals who agree to engage in prostitution and those who attempt to solicit prostitution are at risk of criminal charges. Regardless of whether the agreed-upon sexual contact actually occurs, individuals can face charges simply for the act of agreeing.
A Fort Worth prostitution lawyer may be able to look at the totality of the circumstances surrounding your charges and identify the strongest possible defense for your case. Allegations of involvement in prostitution can be damaging to your professional life, your reputation in the community, and your family. As a result, you may wish to consult a dedicated criminal lawyer for advice about how to handle the accusations against you.
Prostitution Laws in Fort Worth
Tex. Pen. Code § 43.02 establishes the offense of prostitution. In order for prostitution to occur, a person must either knowingly offer or agree to receive a fee from another to engage in sexual conduct or pay a fee to engage in sexual conduct with another.
Someone still can face criminal charges if they do not actually engage in any sexual conduct. It is sufficient for individuals to merely make the offer or agreement to commit prostitution. The fee also does not simply refer to money; rather, it can involve a transaction based on anything of value.
Penalties for This Offense
Prostitution is generally a Class B misdemeanor. Pursuant to Tex. Pen. Code § 12.22, the penalties for a Class B misdemeanor can include incarceration of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000. A second or third conviction for prostitution, however, is a Class A misdemeanor, which increases the potential penalties to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
In some cases, prostitution charges may become a felony offense. A fourth or subsequent prostitution charge can be a state jail felony. This charge carries a potential penalty of 180 days to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Another circumstance in which prostitution can become a felony offense is if those intended to be the subject of the sexual conduct are under the age of 18. The offense is a felony regardless of whether the accused knew the subject of the sexual conduct was under 18. This is also the case if someone believes the subject of the offense is under the age of 18 or another has portrayed the subject as being under the age of 18.
Prostitution in this situation is a second-degree felony. According to Tex. Pen. Code § 12.33, conviction on a second-degree felony can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and a fine of $10,000.
Other Related Offenses
Texas law also establishes other prostitution-related offenses that may involve harsher penalties, based on the circumstances. For instance, Tex. Pen. Code § 43.03 establishes promotion of prostitution as a criminal offense. This occurs when someone receives money or property from an agreement to participate in prostitution or solicit another to engage in sexual conduct with others for compensation.
Promotion of prostitution is a state jail felony, but it can be a third-degree felony for those with a prior conviction, and a second-degree felony if it involves a person under the age of 18. The offense remains a second-degree felony even if the accused unaware that the other person was under the age of 18.
Talk to a Fort Worth Prostitution Attorney
Prostitution charges can be a very difficult and stressful situation to handle. Consider allowing a Fort Worth prostitution lawyer to assess your case and help build a strong defense on your behalf. Once you are aware of all your options, you can make the decisions that are right for you.
A creative criminal lawyer may be able to evaluate the evidence in your case and create sufficient reasonable doubt to minimize the impact of these allegations on your life. As the potential penalties for a prostitution conviction are weighty, you should strongly consider seeking advice from a seasoned legal professional.