Prostitution Charges and Defenses
Prostitution is a crime where although the first offense is a misdemeanor, it is an offense that carries with it a stigma. The law prosecutes the person offering the services the same as the person who seeks out the services, sometimes referred to as “johns” the same. Stings commonly target men and women on websites such as Craigslist and Backpage. Similarly, undercover officers sometimes also pose as sex workers in areas where roadside prostitution is common.
Many people are under the misimpression that officers cannot lie to you, or believe there must be an actual sex act to face prostitution charges in Texas. Neither are true. A case can be filed against you merely for discussing an exchange of money for sex – even if you never intended on acting on it.
For women who are ready to get out of the life and are facing a criminal offense, Tarrant County offers an excellent diversion program called the RISE program which aims at providing these women with a safe place to stay, a way to get on their feet, and an opportunity for a changed life. Admission into the RISE program is difficult and there are a limited number of spots available.
For women who are seeking help, but are not facing criminal charges, we recommend contacting http://www.wearecherished.com/.
Penal Code Section 43.02: PROSTITUTION
(a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly:
(1) offers to engage, agrees to engage, or engages in sexual conduct for a fee; or
(2) solicits another in a public place to engage with him in sexual conduct for hire.
(b) An offense is established under Subsection (a)(1) whether the actor is to receive or pay a fee. An offense is established under Subsection (a)(2) whether the actor solicits a person to hire him or offers to hire the person solicited.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is:
(1) a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted one or two times of an offense under this section;
(2) a state jail felony if the actor has previously been convicted three or more times of an offense under this section;
(3) a felony of the third degree if the person solicited is 14 years of age or older and younger than 18 years of age; or
(4) a felony of the second degree if the person solicited is younger than 14 years of age.
(d) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor engaged in the conduct that constitutes the offense because the actor was the victim of conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 20A.02.