An arrest for soliciting sex is harmful to an individual’s reputation, but it is also a serious legal matter. Authorities in Plano invest considerable effort in suppressing the prostitution trade, and coming down hard on customers is one way they go about it.
Skilled criminal attorneys put great effort into defending prostitution-related charges. A Plano solicitation lawyer has the knowledge and skills to get you as satisfactory a result as the circumstances allows. Still, it is crucial to act fast to retain legal assistance.
Factors That Determine Severity of Charge
Offering or agreeing to give anything of value in exchange for sexual favors is solicitation. When the parties make the agreement, the crime has been committed, meaning it does not matter if the agreed act took place or not.
An initial solicitation charge is a Class B misdemeanor, and the maximum penalty is 180 days in jail and a $2000 fine. After one conviction, a second charge is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $4000 fine. Third and subsequent offenses are felonies and might result in up to two years in state jail and a $10,000 fine.
Soliciting a Minor
The stakes get much higher if the charge involves soliciting a minor. It does not matter whether the accused knew the individual was underage. If the person allegedly solicited for sex was under 18, the charge will generally be a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
Online Solicitation Conviction Can Lead to Sex Offender Registration
Law enforcement focuses much of its attention on protecting minors from sexual exploitation through the internet. These efforts often involve a police officer posing as a young person on social media platforms, message boards, and internet chat rooms. When an adult attempts to engage with the officer, they respond in a manner the adult might find encouraging, maintain all records of the communications, and use it later to support an online solicitation charge.
Texas Penal Code §33.012 requires prosecutors to establish that the accused had electronic communication with the minor and engaged in sexually explicit communication or provided them sexually explicit materials. They must present proof that the adult intended to engage in a sex crime. A capable attorney in Plano could challenge a prosecutor’s evidence of intent, which is often circumstantial and subject to interpretation in solicitation cases.
Defenses to Solicitation Charges in Plano
Prosecutors must have evidence to prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced lawyer in Plano who challenges the sufficiency of the evidence of the solicitation crime stands a reasonable chance of sparing the charged party from the harsher consequences of the charge. It could be possible to dismiss a charge entirely or arrange a plea to a less serious crime in many cases.
Defenses that might be effective in a solicitation case include:
- Defendant was too impaired by drugs or alcohol to form the intention to solicit sex
- Defendant provided money or other benefits as a gift, not as an exchange for sexual favors
- Constitutional defenses related to the way law enforcement gathered their evidence and conducted the arrest
Even if the prosecution has audio or video recordings or records of electronic messages, the intent behind an accused person’s words is often ambiguous. A seasoned legal professional could also emphasize any ambiguity to raise doubt about the defendant’s intent.
Fight Back Against Charges with an Aggressive Plano Solicitation Attorney
If you are facing a solicitation charge, a board-certified member of the team could be an important ally. You need advice from a professional who understands the law and all its ramifications.
Contact a Plano solicitation lawyer as soon as you learn you are facing charges. Together we can present the strongest defense available under the circumstances.