Is Solicitation of Prostitution a Felony? What You Need to Know

Is Solicitation of Prostitution a Felony? What You Need to Know

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While solicitation of prostitution may not appear to be a serious offense, in Texas, it’s a felony. The penalty can be up to jail time. If you are not a citizen of the United States, it can lead to deportation, and/or removal from the United States. Even if the illegal act didn’t happen, you can still be charged and convicted for inducing the person to perform it.

If they charge you with solicitation of prostitution, you need legal assistance. An experienced criminal defense attorney can work toward reducing or dropping these major charges.

Understanding the legal landscape surrounding the solicitation of prostitution can help you avoid unfortunate consequences.

What Is Solicitation of Prostitution?

Solicitation of prostitution is an act of offering money or another form of compensation in exchange for sexual activities. Usually, it involves one person asking another person, often in a public setting, to commit an illegal act of prostitution with the intent to receive payment for it.

The act of solicitation itself is a criminal offense, even if the actual sexual activity does not take place. The law sets serious penalties for solicitation aiming to combat the harm associated with the sex trade industry and maintain public order.

Woman walking barefoot at night on the streets.

When Is Solicitation of Prostitution a Felony?

In the past, solicitation of prostitution in Texas was a misdemeanor. On September 1, 2021, it became a felony. If you were arrested for solicitation of prostitution after this date, you are likely to be charged with a state jail felony.

The state jail felony conviction comes with a serious penalty. According to Texas Penal Code §12.35, you can face between 180 days and 2 years in jail and pay a fine of up to $10,000.

If you’ve been convicted of solicitation of prostitution before, you may be charged with a third-degree felony that comes with a longer jail term.

In case the person whom you were trying to engage in an illegal act is a minor, you could be facing a second-degree felony. If the prosecution can prove that you had reason to believe that the person was a minor, even if they weren’t, you could still be charged.

How You Can Be Arrested for Solicitation of Prostitution

In the majority of situations, it can be hard to collect sufficient evidence to charge a person with solicitation of prostitution. Law enforcement officers don’t usually have an opportunity to see solicitors in action. They may not have probable cause to arrest you if they do.

If they arrest you for solicitation of prostitution, there may be multiple reasons why the arrest wasn’t legal. If you contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible, they can help get the charges dropped or reduce the penalty.

Prostitution Stings

Prostitution stings are operations that usually involve law enforcement officers posing as sex workers. They wait for a person to offer them money in exchange for sexual services and then make an arrest.

Even if you were arrested during a prostitution sting, it still doesn’t mean that you will be convicted. These stings aren’t always performed according to the law. An experienced criminal defense attorney can build a strong defense to help you avoid a penalty.

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Defenses Against Solicitation Charges

While solicitation of prostitution is a serious charge, many defenses can help prevent unfair punishment. Some of them are:

Low Evidence Quality

The first step your defense attorney is likely to take is to scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence. Even if you were arrested during a sting, there can still be significant flaws in the case, including:

  • Illegally obtained evidence
  • Biased witnesses
  • Witnesses with credibility issues
  • Errors in policy work

Your attorney can also investigate the case and find contradictory evidence that creates reasonable doubt.

Lack of Intent

The solicitation of prostitution charge requires the prosecution to prove that you intended to commit a crime. Your attorney may be able to demonstrate your lack of intent to ask a person for sexual services in exchange for payment.  For example:

  • You were making a joke and weren’t planning to take any action
  • The situation was a misunderstanding
  • The police officers in a sting manipulated you into taking action

If you have any medical issues that may have altered your judgment, the attorney can also use them as a defense.

Police Misconduct

Prostitution stings often don’t go as planned, and police make mistakes that violate your rights. If they manipulate you into inducing a person to engage in sexual behavior in exchange for payment, they aren’t acting according to the law.

Your attorney can investigate the situation and speak to the witnesses. They can also build a strong case against the behavior of law enforcement officers. This could cause the prosecution to drop the charges.

Each felony charge is different and requires a personalized approach. A criminal defense attorney may be able to use one of these defenses or build a new one depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, they could also bring in character witnesses who can testify about your reputation or find evidence of sloppy police work.

Client consulting an attorney at a law firm.

What to Do if You Are Charged With Solicitation of Prostitution

Even if you are innocent, you can still be charged with solicitation of prostitution. While this can be stressful, frightening, and embarrassing, you have to remain calm and take action. The first thing to do is to contact a criminal defense attorney with experience in solicitation cases.

Many respectable law firms offer free initial consultations to help you understand how to proceed. Take advantage of this opportunity to speak with a legal professional and avoid making mistakes that could hurt your case.

Speak to a Solicitation of Prostitution Defense Attorney Today

Since solicitation of prostitution is a felony in Texas, this charge requires a robust approach to defense. Mr. Kent Starr and his team of experienced criminal defense attorneys have already helped hundreds of people in Texas avoid unjust penalties.

If you’ve been arrested or charged with solicitation of prostitution, call us for a free consultation as soon as possible. We work hard to protect your rights and reputation.

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