Soliciting a Prostitute: Houston Solicitation Defense Attorney
Houston Sex Crimes Lawyer
The consequences for soliciting a prostitute in the state of Texas are more severe than you might realize. If you face charges of solicitation, schedule a free case evaluation with a Houston sex crimes lawyer today.
As of September 1, 2021, a new Texas prostitution law took effect. This law, House Bill 1540, transformed the act of buying sex from a Class B misdemeanor into a state jail felony. Moreover, it still carries much harsher punishments than that. According to some reports, this makes Texas the first state across the US to make the act of purchasing sex a felony.
Additionally, it increased penalties for any persons who attempt to recruit victims for use as prostitutes from residential treatment facilities and shelters.
Do you face charges for soliciting a prostitute in Harris County? Call our law firm today to protect your future.
Is Soliciting a Prostitute a Felony in Texas?
Under the old Texas law, “Johns” – those buying sex – faced a Class B misdemeanor with a maximum jail time of 180 days as well as maximum fines of $2,000. Moreover, anyone convicted for solicitation a second time faced a Class A misdemeanor with harsher punishments.
However, under the new law, those charged with arrested and charged for the crime of solicitation face a state jail felony with a first-time conviction. This includes punishments of up to 2 years in state prison and a minimum of 180 days as well as fines up to $10,000.
A second conviction under the new law increases the charge to a third-degree felony. The punishment for this ranges from 2 to 10 years in state prison as well as fines up to $10,000.
The Impact of This Change
With this change, Texas legislators construe anyone who buys sex as – effectively – an active supporter of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is a crime in which someone coerces another into either labor or sex. However, many instances of prostitution do not involve trafficking. Still, the update to the law increases punishment in those cases as well.
Human Trafficking in Houston and Beyond
Across the United States, and especially in Texas, human trafficking is a major issue. In fact, along with California, Texas is one of the states with the largest amount of human trafficking. Moreover, this issue impacts numerous communities prompting a variety of responses across America.
However, as law enforcement pursues sting operations in the sex industry, not everyone they ensare is guilty of soliciting a prostitute. When you haphazardly find yourself caught up in these activities, it is crucial that you fight to protect your future.
How the State Investigates Solicitation Cases
Generally speaking, a criminal charge for soliciting a prostitute almost always results from an undercover sting operation. As such, it is crucial to work with a criminal defense attorney who understands the tactics and methods of these investigations. Moreover, you need an attorney who understands how they prosecute these crimes.
Oftentimes, these investigations happen in one of two ways.