Solicitation of Prostitution in Texas | 7 Best Defenses

What is Solicitation of Prostitution in Texas?

Solicitation of prostitution is a criminal offense in Texas, involving an individual offering, agreeing to, or engaging in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee. Under Texas Penal Code §43.021, a person commits solicitation of prostitution if  he or she:

  • knowingly offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person for purposes of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another.
  • It is important to stress that sex doesn’t have to occur to be arrested and charged with prostitution or solicitation of prostitution. Prosecutors only have to prove that an agreement was made. That’s why so many people get arrested in sex stings – just making the deal and meeting up can lead to an arrest.

Under Texas law, both the individual who offers sexual services and the individual who seeks those services can face criminal charges for solicitation. This article explores the consequences of a solicitation charge and discusses possible defenses to help protect your rights and reputation.

Prostitution vs. Solicitation of Prostitution in Texas

In the past, Texas law used to make no distinction between “prostitution” and “solicitation of prostitution.” Prostitutes and “Johns” faced a misdemeanor charge and were punished equally. That all changed in September 2021 when Texas became the first state to make solicitation of prostitution a felony. This means that “Johns” actually face harsher punishment than the person offering sexual services (who still faces a misdemeanor.)

Solicitation of Prostitution

Implications of a Solicitation of Prostitution Charge

pretty prostitutes are police

Harm to Reputation

If not handled correctly, being charged with solicitation of prostitution can have long-lasting repercussions on your personal and professional life. It can damage your reputation, strain relationships, and create difficulties in finding employment or housing.

Crime of Moral Turpitude

In Texas, solicitation of prostitution is considered a crime of moral turpitude. Crimes of moral turpitude involve dishonesty or morally reprehensible behavior, which may lead to further consequences, such as impacting immigration status or professional licenses.

Solicitation of Prostitution is a Felony in Texas

As of September 1, 2021, Texas made solicitation of prostitution a felony. That made Texas the only state where this first-time offense is a felony. As a result of this enhanced range of punishment, it is not uncommon in North Texas for law enforcement to initiate prostitution stings in an effort to catch customers or so-called “Johns.

Be Aware of Sting Operations

Police often use websites and online platforms to conduct sting operations targeting individuals involved in the solicitation of prostitution. These websites may include classified ad sites, social media platforms, or dating apps. Law enforcement officers may pose as individuals offering or seeking sexual services to catch those engaged in solicitation. It is crucial to be aware of these tactics and to understand your rights if you are caught in a sting operation.

Being arrested for solicitation of prostitution is an embarrassing charge that can impact your family, finances, and freedom. That’s why it’s imperative to contact a Fort Worth solicitation lawyer as soon as possible if you have been accused of soliciting a prostitute. It’s important to try and get in front of the charge as quickly as possible in an effort to lessen the impact it will have on your personal and professional life, as well as your reputation.

The experienced defense attorneys at Varghese Summersett have successfully represented countless clients accused of sex crimes. We will handle your case with sensitivity and discretion while working to resolve it in a manner that will leave your record clean.

Criminal Consequences of Solicitation of Prostitution

Solicitation of prostitution can range from a state jail felony to a second-degree felony depending on the facts and circumstances. Here’s a breakdown of punishments stemming from solicitation of prostitution:

  • First-time offenders face a state jail felony punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine.
State Jail Felony
State Jail Felony Punishment in Texas
  • A person convicted two or more times of solicitation of prostitution face a third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
  • Defendants face a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine, if the person with whom they agreed to engage in sexual conduct is:
    • younger than 18, regardless of whether the actor knew the age of the person at the time of the offense; or
    • represented to the actor as being younger than 18;
    • or believed by the actor to be younger than 18 years of age

Defenses Against Allegations of Solicitation of Prostitution

To be convicted of prostitution or solicitation, the prosecutor must prove several elements and this is not always easy – especially if you’ve got a savvy, experienced defense attorney. The defense can argue that the defendant didn’t know the other person was a prostitute or that a fee was never exchanged or agreed upon. Entrapment or duress could also come into play.

A seasoned Fort Worth solicitation attorney at Varghese Summersett will listen to the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegation and tailor a defense strategy unique to your case.

Defense: Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer induces someone to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. To raise the entrapment defense, you must show that the officer used coercive or persuasive tactics to encourage the crime, and you were not predisposed to commit it.

Defense: Lack of Evidence

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you engaged in solicitation of prostitution. If there is insufficient or unreliable evidence, such as inconsistent witness statements or inconclusive surveillance footage, your attorney may be able to argue for a dismissal of charges or an acquittal.

Defense: Forced Self-Incrimination

The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from self-incrimination. If law enforcement coerced or forced you to provide a confession or make incriminating statements without reading you your Miranda rights, your attorney may be able to have the statements excluded from evidence.

Not a Defense: No Actual Exchange of Sexual Services

In a solicitation of prostitution case, the prosecution does not need to prove that sexual services were actually provided or performed. Instead, they must prove that you offered, agreed to, or engaged in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee. Your attorney may argue that there was no explicit agreement or intention for sexual services, which could help in your defense.

Not a Defense: No Actual Exchange of Something of Value

Similarly, the prosecution does not need to prove that money or something of value was exchanged in a solicitation case. The mere offer or agreement for an exchange is sufficient for charges. However, your attorney could argue that there was no clear understanding or intent for the exchange of something of value, potentially leading to a dismissal or reduction of charges.

Defense: Identity

Mistaken identity is a possible defense in a solicitation of prostitution case. If you can prove that you were not the person who engaged in the alleged solicitation, your attorney may be able to have the charges dismissed. This defense could involve presenting alibi witnesses, surveillance footage, or other evidence to establish that you were not involved in the alleged offense.

Defense: Mens Rea

Mens rea, or the mental state required for a crime, is a crucial element that the prosecution must prove in a solicitation case. For solicitation of prostitution, the required mens rea is the intent to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee. The prosecution must provide evidence demonstrating that you knowingly engaged in the solicitation. Your attorney may argue that you lacked the requisite intent, potentially weakening the case against you.

Defense: Unreasonable Search and Seizure

During a solicitation investigation, law enforcement may seize your phone to gather evidence, such as text messages or call logs that demonstrate your involvement in the alleged offense. This evidence could be used to establish intent or to confirm the details of the solicitation. It is essential to consult with a criminal defense attorney to ensure that any search and seizure was conducted lawfully and that your rights were not violated.

Immigration and Naturalization Consequences to Solicitation of Prostitution Charges

Non-Citizens

A solicitation of prostitution charge can have severe consequences for non-citizens, including potential deportation, denial of naturalization, or exclusion from re-entry to the United States. It is essential for non-citizens facing solicitation charges to consult with an attorney who can help navigate them through these landmines.

Undocumented Individuals

If you are undocumented and charged with solicitation of prostitution, you may face additional challenges, including possible detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and potential deportation proceedings. It is vital to work with an attorney who understands the intersection of criminal and immigration law to protect your rights.

Get in Touch with a Fort Worth Solicitation Attorney Today

Being accused of soliciting a prostitute could negatively impact your personal and professional life and leave an embarrassing blemish on your record. Contact our firm today to find out how a Fort Worth solicitation lawyer can help you can put this mistake behind you so you can move on with your life.

Call 817-203-2220 to speak with a member of our team.

What is Solicitation of Prostitution in Texas?

Solicitation of prostitution is a criminal offense in Texas, involving an individual offering, agreeing to, or engaging in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee. Under Texas Penal Code §43.021, a person commits solicitation of prostitution if  he or she:

  • knowingly offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person for purposes of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another.
  • It is important to stress that sex doesn’t have to occur to be arrested and charged with prostitution or solicitation of prostitution. Prosecutors only have to prove that an agreement was made. That’s why so many people get arrested in sex stings – just making the deal and meeting up can lead to an arrest.

Under Texas law, both the individual who offers sexual services and the individual who seeks those services can face criminal charges for solicitation. This article explores the consequences of a solicitation charge and discusses possible defenses to help protect your rights and reputation.

https://youtu.be/ar5LryZT7jM

Prostitution vs. Solicitation of Prostitution in Texas

In the past, Texas law used to make no distinction between “prostitution” and “solicitation of prostitution.” Prostitutes and “Johns” faced a misdemeanor charge and were punished equally. That all changed in September 2021 when Texas became the first state to make solicitation of prostitution a felony. This means that “Johns” actually face harsher punishment than the person offering sexual services (who still faces a misdemeanor.)

Solicitation of Prostitution

Implications of a Solicitation of Prostitution Charge

Solicitation of Prostitution

Harm to Reputation

If not handled correctly, being charged with solicitation of prostitution can have long-lasting repercussions on your personal and professional life. It can damage your reputation, strain relationships, and create difficulties in finding employment or housing.

Crime of Moral Turpitude

In Texas, solicitation of prostitution is considered a crime of moral turpitude. Crimes of moral turpitude involve dishonesty or morally reprehensible behavior, which may lead to further consequences, such as impacting immigration status or professional licenses.

Solicitation of Prostitution is a Felony in Texas

As of September 1, 2021, Texas made solicitation of prostitution a felony. That made Texas the only state where this first-time offense is a felony. As a result of this enhanced range of punishment, it is not uncommon in North Texas for law enforcement to initiate prostitution stings in an effort to catch customers or so-called “Johns.

Be Aware of Sting Operations

Police often use websites and online platforms to conduct sting operations targeting individuals involved in the solicitation of prostitution. These websites may include classified ad sites, social media platforms, or dating apps. Law enforcement officers may pose as individuals offering or seeking sexual services to catch those engaged in solicitation. It is crucial to be aware of these tactics and to understand your rights if you are caught in a sting operation.

Being arrested for solicitation of prostitution is an embarrassing charge that can impact your family, finances, and freedom. That’s why it’s imperative to contact a Fort Worth solicitation lawyer as soon as possible if you have been accused of soliciting a prostitute. It’s important to try and get in front of the charge as quickly as possible in an effort to lessen the impact it will have on your personal and professional life, as well as your reputation.

The experienced defense attorneys at Varghese Summersett have successfully represented countless clients accused of sex crimes. We will handle your case with sensitivity and discretion while working to resolve it in a manner that will leave your record clean.

Criminal Consequences of Solicitation of Prostitution

Solicitation of prostitution can range from a state jail felony to a second-degree felony depending on the facts and circumstances. Here’s a breakdown of punishments stemming from solicitation of prostitution:

  • First-time offenders face a state jail felony punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine.
State Jail Felony
State Jail Felony Punishment in Texas
  • A person convicted two or more times of solicitation of prostitution face a third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
  • Defendants face a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine, if the person with whom they agreed to engage in sexual conduct is:
    • younger than 18, regardless of whether the actor knew the age of the person at the time of the offense; or
    • represented to the actor as being younger than 18;
    • or believed by the actor to be younger than 18 years of age

Defenses Against Allegations of Solicitation of Prostitution

To be convicted of prostitution or solicitation, the prosecutor must prove several elements and this is not always easy – especially if you’ve got a savvy, experienced defense attorney. The defense can argue that the defendant didn’t know the other person was a prostitute or that a fee was never exchanged or agreed upon. Entrapment or duress could also come into play.

A seasoned Fort Worth solicitation attorney at Varghese Summersett will listen to the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegation and tailor a defense strategy unique to your case.

Defense: Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer induces someone to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. To raise the entrapment defense, you must show that the officer used coercive or persuasive tactics to encourage the crime, and you were not predisposed to commit it.

Defense: Lack of Evidence

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you engaged in solicitation of prostitution. If there is insufficient or unreliable evidence, such as inconsistent witness statements or inconclusive surveillance footage, your attorney may be able to argue for a dismissal of charges or an acquittal.

Defense: Forced Self-Incrimination

The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from self-incrimination. If law enforcement coerced or forced you to provide a confession or make incriminating statements without reading you your Miranda rights, your attorney may be able to have the statements excluded from evidence.

Not a Defense: No Actual Exchange of Sexual Services

In a solicitation of prostitution case, the prosecution does not need to prove that sexual services were actually provided or performed. Instead, they must prove that you offered, agreed to, or engaged in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee. Your attorney may argue that there was no explicit agreement or intention for sexual services, which could help in your defense.

Not a Defense: No Actual Exchange of Something of Value

Similarly, the prosecution does not need to prove that money or something of value was exchanged in a solicitation case. The mere offer or agreement for an exchange is sufficient for charges. However, your attorney could argue that there was no clear understanding or intent for the exchange of something of value, potentially leading to a dismissal or reduction of charges.

Defense: Identity 

Mistaken identity is a possible defense in a solicitation of prostitution case. If you can prove that you were not the person who engaged in the alleged solicitation, your attorney may be able to have the charges dismissed. This defense could involve presenting alibi witnesses, surveillance footage, or other evidence to establish that you were not involved in the alleged offense.

Defense: Mens Rea 

Mens rea, or the mental state required for a crime, is a crucial element that the prosecution must prove in a solicitation case. For solicitation of prostitution, the required mens rea is the intent to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee. The prosecution must provide evidence demonstrating that you knowingly engaged in the solicitation. Your attorney may argue that you lacked the requisite intent, potentially weakening the case against you.

Defense: Unreasonable Search and Seizure

During a solicitation investigation, law enforcement may seize your phone to gather evidence, such as text messages or call logs that demonstrate your involvement in the alleged offense. This evidence could be used to establish intent or to confirm the details of the solicitation. It is essential to consult with a criminal defense attorney to ensure that any search and seizure was conducted lawfully and that your rights were not violated.

Immigration and Naturalization Consequences to Solicitation of Prostitution Charges 

Non-Citizens

A solicitation of prostitution charge can have severe consequences for non-citizens, including potential deportation, denial of naturalization, or exclusion from re-entry to the United States. It is essential for non-citizens facing solicitation charges to consult with an attorney who can help navigate them through these landmines.

Undocumented Individuals

If you are undocumented and charged with solicitation of prostitution, you may face additional challenges, including possible detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and potential deportation proceedings. It is vital to work with an attorney who understands the intersection of criminal and immigration law to protect your rights.

Get in Touch with a Fort Worth Solicitation Attorney Today

Being accused of soliciting a prostitute could negatively impact your personal and professional life and leave an embarrassing blemish on your record. Contact our firm today to find out how a Fort Worth solicitation lawyer can help you can put this mistake behind you so you can move on with your life.

Call 817-203-2220 to speak with a member of our team.

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About the Author Board Certified Lawyer Benson Varghese

About the Author

Benson Varghese is the managing partner of Varghese Summersett. He is a seasoned attorney, highly esteemed for his comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field. He has successfully handled thousands of state and federal cases, ranging from misdemeanor driving while intoxicated cases to capital offenses, showcasing his commitment to preserving justice and upholding the rights of his clients. His firm covers criminal defense, personal injury, and family law matters. Benson is also a legal tech entrepreneur. Benson is a go-to authority in the legal community, known for his ability to explain complex legal concepts with clarity and precision. His writings offer a wealth of in-depth legal insights, reflecting his extensive experience and his passion for the law. Not only is Benson an accomplished litigator, but he is also a dedicated advocate for his clients, consistently striving to achieve the best possible outcomes for them. His authorship provides readers with valuable legal advice and an understanding of the complexities of the criminal justice system. CriminalPersonal InjuryFamily Law Contact
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