Solicitation is the crime of attempting to engage another person in a transaction exchanging money or something of value for sex. Getting arrested on a solicitation charge could lead to public humiliation, family problems, and issues at your job.
If you were arrested or accused of trying to buy sex, a Frisco solicitation lawyer understands the difficulties you are going through. As your legal representative, they could guide you through the process of resolving the charges in the most discreet way possible. Reach out to a dedicated criminal defense attorney at Barbieri Law Firm, P.C. today for your consultation.
The Agreement is the Crime
Sometimes people accused of solicitation believe that if no sexual contact occurred or no money changed hands, there is no solicitation act. This is a misunderstanding of the law. Arranging with someone to trade sex for money, goods, or services qualifies as solicitation, and it does not matter whether the agreed transaction took place.
A first offense is a Class B misdemeanor, and the maximum penalty is 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. One conviction renders a subsequent charge of a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. After two convictions, a prosecutor could charge any further solicitation arrests as felonies. A conviction for felony solicitation could lead to two years in state jail and a $10,000 fine.
Recently, there has been an increased understanding that many sex workers may be crime victims or exploited people. Accordingly, law enforcement tends to focus on confronting and prosecuting the sex buyers, while sex sellers often have access to rehabilitation services. However, a diligent Frisco solicitation lawyer could convince a prosecutor to negotiate a lesser charge or a conditional discharge in some circumstances, especially for first offenders. In such a case, an offender might accept probation, a fine, community service, or some combination of these.
Defenses Against Solicitation Claims
The specific defenses that an attorney might raise to a solicitation charge largely depend on the circumstances of the case. The prosecutor must prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt; the defense need only establish doubt. If the defense could raise enough doubt early in the process, a prosecutor might decide not to press charges.
Challenging the prosecutor’s evidence of intent is often a fruitful defense strategy in a solicitation case. The defense could assert that the accused believed the encounter was romantic and any valuable consideration was a gift. If the agreement was not explicit, the accused might not have realized that a conversation was about trading money for sex.
In any criminal case, an accused’s legal representative could scrutinize law enforcement conduct to ensure no infringement of the individual’s rights. If any conduct was problematic, a Frisco sex solicitation attorney could file a motion to suppress any evidence gathered in violation of the client’s rights.
Solicitation of a Minor
Sometimes people face solicitation charges resulting from interactions over the internet with an underage person. Texas Penal Code § 33.012 makes it a crime to engage in sexually-oriented conversation with a minor or provide them with explicit materials over the internet, via text messaging, or through other electronic or digital platforms.
If the accused is over 17 years old and believed the minor to be between 14 and 17, online solicitation is a third-degree felony. It is a second-degree felony if the accused believed the minor to be under 14. It does not matter if the target of the communication was actually older than 17 if the accused believed the target was a minor. In addition to substantial prison time and large fines, a person convicted of the online solicitation of a minor must register as a sex offender.
If law enforcement improperly accessed an individual’s private communications without a warrant, any evidence acquired is deemed illegally obtained and must be suppressed. Sometimes the communications the prosecution relies on are ambiguous and could be interpreted innocently. A savvy solicitation lawyer in Frisco can examine the means law enforcement used to acquire the evidence and determine whether it has been misinterpreted or obtained illegally. Either case could result in a dropped charge.
Trust a Frisco Solicitation Attorney to Fight Your Charges
Solicitation is a crime that police and prosecutors take seriously, and you should too. If you were arrested and accused of soliciting sex, you need a knowledgeable legal professional on your side.
A Frisco solicitation lawyer can work diligently to get you the best outcome possible, given the circumstances. Reach out to one of our many resourceful and relentless attorneys at Barbieri Law Firm, P.C. as soon as possible after your arrest.