Prostitution may be the “oldest profession” around; however, it’s still illegal in the United States. In Texas, prostitution is criminalized under Section 43.02 of the Texas Penal Code.
Under this section, a person can be found guilty of prostitution even if they didn’t have sexual intercourse; in many cases people can be convicted of prostitution if they engage in “sexual conduct” for payment.
What constitutes prostitution in Plano, Dallas, and the rest of the Lone Star State? A person commits prostitution when he or she, in return for money, knowingly:
- Offers to engage in sexual conduct
- Agrees to engage in sexual conduct
- Engages in sexual contact or conduct
- Solicits another person in public to engage in sexual conduct for money
If you notice, we mentioned “sexual conduct” above. You may be wondering, “What counts as sexual conduct under the law?” Sexual conduct is defined under the Texas Penal Code as “deviate sexual intercourse, sexual contact, and sexual intercourse.”
As you can see, “prostitution” encompasses more than actual sexual intercourse. This is because sexual contact under the law includes touching another’s breast, genitals, or anus for the purpose of sexual gratification.
So, if a woman were to charge a man to touch her breasts, she could technically be charged with prostitution under Section 43.02.
What Are the Penalties for Prostitution?
In Texas, prostitution is a Class B misdemeanor upon a first offense. If the offender was previously convicted of prostitution once or twice before, it’s a Class A misdemeanor. If the offender was previously convicted of prostitution on three or more occasions, it’s a state jail felony.
As a Class B misdemeanor, prostitution is punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000, or by up to 180 days in jail, or by both. As a Class A misdemeanor, it’s punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000, or by up to one year in jail, or by a fine and imprisonment.