Pursuant to Texas Penal Code §43.02, the criminal offense of prostitution can occur in one of the following circumstances:
An individual knowingly offers or agrees to receive a fee from another to engage in sexual conduct.
An individual knowingly offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another.
This broad definition criminalizes both sides to the transaction, whether you are offering or receiving the fee. It is not necessary for any sexual activity to have occurred in order for you to face prostitution charges. Plus, the fee that this section refers to does not have to be money. Rather, the fee can be goods, services, or anything that is beneficial to the individual.
For a first offense, you can face Class B misdemeanor charges, which carries a potential penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 under Texas Penal Code §12.22. If you have one or two prior prostitution convictions, however, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in a jail sentence not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $4,000 under Texas Penal Code §12.21. If you have three or more prior prostitution convictions, the charge becomes a state jail felony, which has a minimum sentence of 180 days in jail and a maximum sentence of two years in jail, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. The charges and penalties may become even more severe if the prostitution offense involves a minor in any way.
If you find yourself charged with prostitution or any other type of criminal offense, you need legal advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. As the consequences of any criminal conviction may be severe, you should immediately contact a skilled defense lawyer for help if you have been accused of a criminal offense. Peek & Toland provides strong legal representation on a regular basis for adults who are charged with various crimes. It is our priority is to represent your interests and protect your rights. Call us at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.