Penalties for Prostitution in Texas

Prostitution may be one of the oldest trades to exist, but it’s still quite illegal in Texas and throughout the United States. Many people have wondered, “Why is prostitution against the law?” There are a couple main reasons why it’s illegal. For one, to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Second, to reduce the demand for underage prostitutes, many of whom are victims of human trafficking.

In Texas, prostitution is criminalized under Section 43.02 of the Texas Penal Code. Under Sec. 43.02, you commit the offense of prostitution if you knowingly, and in exchange for a fee:

  • Engage in sexual conduct,
  • Offer to engage in sexual conduct,
  • Agree to engage in sexual conduct,
  • In public, solicit another to engage in sexual conduct, or
  • In public, solicit another person to engage in sexual conduct with the prostitute.

Please be aware that you can commit the offense of prostitution, even if the act is not carried out or completed. Simply offering or agreeing to engage in prostitution is enough to be arrested and charged with this offense.

Prostitution under Sec. 43.02 is a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000, or by up to 180 days in jail, or by a fine and imprisonment. Prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $4,000 fine, or by up to a year in jail, or by a fine and imprisonment.

Prostitution is a state jail felony when the individual has been previously convicted of the offense on three or more occasions, and it is a felony of the second degree when the person solicited was under the age of 18. Please note that not knowing the minor’s age is not considered a valid defense.

Need a Plano criminal defense lawyer to defend you against misdemeanor or felony prostitution charges? Contact our firm today!

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