Prostitution is the act of offering, agreeing to, or actually engaging in sexual conduct for a fee. Most people are surprised to find out that merely an agreement – and not a sexual act – is sufficient to prove prostitution in Texas.
Prostitution arrests are not just made on the roadside. They are commonly made through online stings, undercover operations at strip clubs, and massage parlors. If you were arrested for or charged with sexual services involving payment, call a Fort Worth prostitution lawyer for help. Our seasoned attorneys could help to explain your rights and guide you through the legal process.
With some regularity, North Texas law enforcement agencies, including the Fort Worth Police Department and Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department, run sting operations to make prostitution arrests. They seek to arrest both “johns” and prostitutes. While websites like Backpage and Craigslist have been shut down for human trafficking, sites like Escort Directory, ListCrawler, and Adult Search are crawling with police officers who posts ads or respond to ads.
1. Police officers have to admit they are police officers. Johns often call the numbers listed in the ad and ask if the person on the other end is in law enforcement. The answer will always be “no.” Officers will lie to you and this will not limit their ability to file a case against you
2. If you used coded language, the police can’t arrest you. Using phrases such as “around the world,” “half and half,” “full service” doesn’t mean the officers won’t arrest you. They simply add a sentence to their report along the lines of, “Arrestee asked if undercover would go around the world, meaning arrestee was looking for vaginal, anal, and oral sex.”
3. The prosecutor will be sympathetic to someone with no criminal history. Prosecutors see thousands of cases a year. There were 2,392 misdemeanor prostitution cases filed in Texas in 2018. There were 2,874 felony prostitution cases filed. Many of prostitution cases are against first-time offenders. Prosecutors do not find the argument that this is a “first-time offense” a compelling one.
4. If you leave a “donation” that is not paying for sex. It is common, especially for online listings, for prostitutes to list services such as sensual massages or deep body rubs for a donation or for “100 roses.” While you may think this side-steps the law, be aware that officers use the same tactics to arrest would-be prostitutes or johns.
5. If money is not exchanged, or if there was no sexual contact, there’s no case. The law in Texas is that a person is guilty of prostitution if there is an agreement to exchange money for sexual services. It is the agreement that is illegal – not the act of exchanging money or the sexual act.
Although prostitution is a misdemeanor for a first offense, it is a crime that carries a stigma. Many people are under the impression that officers cannot lie to you, or believe there must be an actual sex act to face prostitution charges in Texas. Neither are true.
A case can be filed against you merely for discussing an exchange of money for sex – even if you never intended on acting on it. It does not matter if the offer was made in jest or if the actor never intended to carry out of the offer or verbal agreement. A knowledgeable lawyer in Fort Worth could help a person who has been charged with prostitution to better understand their legal rights and options.
A person who owns, invests in, finances, controls, supervises, or manages a prostitution enterprise that uses two or more prostitutes commits the offense of Aggravated Prostitution. This is a third degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.
Pursuant to Penal Code 43.03, a person who receives money or solicits another for a third party who is a prostitute commits the Class A misdemeanor offense of Promotion of Prostitution.
A Fort Worth prostitution defense lawyer could help if you are facing charges. Call today to learn more.
For more information, please reference Penal Code 43.03