Many people think of prostitution as a victimless crime, but state law enforcement authorities take it seriously. If you have been arrested and charged with prostitution, you could face a prison sentence, especially if you try fighting without a skilled defense attorney.
A Plano prostitution lawyer could help you navigate the legal process so that you do not pay too high a price for your alleged transgression. Let Barbieri Law’s dedicated and experienced team assist you.
Defining Prostitution Under State Law
State law defines prostitution as knowingly attempting to sell sex for money, goods, or services or knowingly attempting to buy sex for money, goods, or services. It is not necessary that an exchange takes place or that sexual contact occurs. Agreeing to exchange sex for something of value is the critical element in the crime.
Penalties For Prostitution Offenses
Prosecutors might steer people who offer sex for money in Texas into rehabilitation or diversion programs. However, law enforcement efforts usually focus on deterring and punishing the customers of prostitutes.
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The seriousness of a prostitution crime and penalty varies depending on whether the offender has a history of prostitution crimes. For first offenders, prostitution or solicitation is a Class B misdemeanor. Upon conviction, offenders face up to 180 days in jail and a $2000 fine.
A person with up to two prior convictions for prostitution-related offenses might be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and could face as much as one year in jail and a $4000 fine.
Prostitution is a felony offense when the defendant has three or more prior convictions for prostitution-related offenses. Upon conviction, a person could face six months to two years in state prison and fines up to $10,000.
Texas Penal Code §43.03 makes promoting prostitution a felony that carries a penalty of up to two years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. If the defendant had a prior conviction for a prostitution-related offense, promoting prostitution could be a third-degree felony. The sentence could be two to ten years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
State law is especially harsh if the person providing sex is under age 18, regardless of whether the offender knew the person’s actual age. Causing someone under 18 to engage in prostitution is a first-degree felony. Upon conviction, offenders could face a prison sentence of between five and 99 years. Promoting prostitution is also a first-degree felony if one of the prostitutes is less than 18.
A conviction for engaging in prostitution can be severe. To avoid the harshest of penalties, it is crucial to have a lawyer in Plano who has extensive experience fighting prostitution charges.
Defending Prostitution Charges In Plano
Although entrapment could be a defense in some prostitution cases, entrapment involves convincing someone to commit a crime they would not have committed otherwise. When a potential customer is arrested while arranging for sex in an area known for prostitution, an entrapment defense is rarely successful.
Sometimes an individual did not realize that another person expected compensation in exchange for sex. Under these circumstances, a dedicated attorney in Plano could argue that the individual did not have the knowledge or intent required to support a prostitution charge. Similarly, without adequate proof that people intended to exchange something of value for sex, the prosecution cannot demonstrate that the participants knowingly engaged in prostitution.
Defend Your Reputation With A Plano Prostitution Attorney
A prostitution charge could upend your career and family life, damage your reputation, and even send you to jail. Do not try to handle such severe consequences alone.
A Plano prostitution lawyer knows the local legal scene and how to manage a defense to your advantage. Schedule a meeting as soon after your prostitution arrest as possible to get an aggressive advocate to defend you.
A Word from Heather
“When individuals come to us seeking legal assistance, they are often in a vulnerable situation. We will never take advantage of the distressed state a client is in, but rather will stand by his or her side from start to finish, never giving up.”
-Heather Barbieri, Founding Attorney
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