Charged with prostitution, pimping, or pandering in Houston? You are facing serious criminal charges that require a tactical defense. Often, prostitution charges, of any type, are initiated through a sting operation or coordinated effort by Houston law enforcement, and the charges are difficult to overcome. A Houston prostitution lawyer with experience in these specific defenses can help. Our team of Houston lawyers at Greco Neyland regularly represents individuals in defense of prostitution, and we are ready to take your case under any of the Texas prostitution statutes.
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It is a crime in every state to solicit sex for money, but each state operates under its own unique prostitution laws – meaning the law in Houston could be different from Portland, Boston, or New York. In Texas, the statutes of the Texas Penal Code criminalizing prostitution are broad and strictly enforced in Houston.
The laws in Houston don’t provide specific terminology related to the various acts involved in prostitution but do differentiate between the various actors. There is a clear distinction between prostitution, pimping, and pandering. A Houston criminal lawyer could handle cases involving any of these actions.
Prostitution is the act of offering sexual conduct for money. Pimping is the act of offering or promoting a prostitute. Pandering is the act of soliciting sexual conduct for money. Despite the use of these various definitions in the statutes, the criminal punishment for prostitution relies more on the extent of the criminal operation and age of the individual engaging in sexual conduct.
What Do the Texas Laws Say About Prostitution in Houston?
The statutes on prostitution, pimping, and pandering is found in Sections 43.02 through 43.06 of the Texas Penal Code. Unlike other crimes in Texas, such as assault and possession of a controlled substance, there isn’t a single statute that covers all criminal actors and actions involved in prostitution.
Under Section 43.02(a) of the Texas Penal Code, you can be charged with prostitution if in exchange for payment or a fee you knowingly:
- Offer to engage, agree to engage or do engage in sexual conduct; or
- Solicit another person in a public place to engage in sexual conduct for hire.
Under Section 43.02(b) of the Texas Penal Code, you can also be charged with prostitution if based on the payment of a fee, by the actor or “john,” you knowingly:
- Offer to engage, agree to engage, or do engage in sexual conduct for hire; or
- Solicit the actor in a public place to engage in sexual conduct for hire.
Sections 43.03 and 43.04 of the Texas Penal Code make it a criminal offense to promote prostitution, otherwise called pimping. The statute makes it a criminal offense to receive compensation in exchange for the promotion of prostitution or sexual conduct for hire.
Heightened Charges Under the Houston Prostitution Statutes
In Houston and Harris County, Texas, you can also be charged with more substantial and serious charges for involvement in prostitution. These aggravated or heightened offenses aren’t usually levied on the individuals acting as prostitutes, but rather the actors promoting, coercing, or forcing prostitution through threats. Individuals facing these charges are entitled to the same robust defense from a Houston prostitution lawyer.
It is a heightened offense under Section 43.04 to be involved in the aggravated promotion of prostitution. A person is charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution if:
- As part of a prostitution enterprise that uses two or more prostitutes or
- The defendant promotes the prostitution of an individual under the age of 18.
The most serious crime associated with prostitution is compelling prostitution. Compelling prostitution under Section 43.05 of the Texas Penal Code is either a felony in the second or first degrees, which are the most serious charges under Texas law. You could be charged with compelling prostitution by:
- Compelling prostitution through force, threat or fraud; or
- Causing a minor under 18 to commit prostitution by any means.
Why Hire a Houston Prostitution Lawyer?
Under Texas law, prostitution in Houston is a serious offense. Many defendants are charged with a felony, which means the possible sentence for a conviction is one year or more in state prison. Other repercussions of a prostitution conviction include payment of a criminal fine and notice of a felony offense on your criminal record.
A prostitution lawyer in Houston will do everything possible to eliminate these negative ramifications. Along the way, a Houston lawyer at Greco Neyland will ensure you understand the criminal justice process, your rights are respected by law enforcement and prosecutors, and you have the best arguments at a criminal trial.
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