Promotion of Prostitution

Establishments like massage parlors are often in the news for arrests related to prostitution. Even the most public of figures have been associated with massage parlors and prostitution across the country. Houston is home to many as well. And those that run these establishments are known to be and can be arrested for promoting prostitution. The charge is a serious one, and it is one that can be aggravated under certain circumstances, which results in harsher penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with promoting prostitution, you need a legal defense that will save you from jail and your establishment -- if you have one -- from being taken by the authorities. Doug Murphy has been representing clients for more than twenty years. He understands the laws and the State attorney's office. He knows what their arguments will be and he plans for them, strategically and persuasively.

An experienced trial attorney, Doug Murphy prepares each case as though you are going to trial, and that's important because it means strength from the very beginning. He won't advise you to settle for a plea deal that is not in your favor -- and most of them aren't. He wants to make your innocence known or to give you a second chance, and he wants to do it by setting your name right again.

Below is information on promotion of prostitution in Harris County, Texas. If you still have questions or want a strategic, aggressive legal defense, contact Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today.

What is promotion of prostitution in Harris County?

Promotion of prostitution is a crime defined by Tex. Pen. Code 43.03 that occurs when a person -- who is neither acting as the prostitute nor as the john -- knowingly:

  1. receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement to participate in the proceeds of prostitution; or
  2. solicits another to engage in sexual conduct with another person for compensation.

So, promoting prostitution involves a third party who shares the fee paid for the act of prostitution. Anyone could be charged with this offense, whether or not he or she runs some kind of establishment or simply makes arrangements from a phone.

Promoting prostitution becomes aggravated promotion of prostitution when a person -- who is neither acting as the prostitute nor as the john -- knowingly:

  • Owns
  • Invests in
  • Finances
  • Controls
  • Supervises, or
  • Manages a prostitution enterprise that uses two or more prostitutes.

Thus, if you take part of the prostitute's fee and otherwise manage an establishment, like a massage parlor, knowing there are at least two women who act as prostitutes working at the establishment, then you are committing aggravated promotion of prostitution. The focus here is on your alleged active participation or role with at least two prostitutes.

What must the State of Texas prove to get a conviction of promotion of prostitution?

Before you can be convicted of a promotion of prostitution charge -- or any crime -- the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. A crime can be broken down into elements, and each element must be proven using the same standard.

There are two main elements of promotion of prostitution:

  1. Knowingly. The prosecutor must provide evidence that you knew someone was a prostitute in fact and knowing such you represented him or her and took part of his or her fee for the act of prostitution.
  2. Promoting. You must have attempted the promotion by (1) receiving money in exchange for someone else to engage in sexual conduct with a prostitute, or (2) soliciting another person to engage in sexual conduct (either the prostitute or the client) in return for some kind of compensation.

The act of prostitution does not actually need to take place in order for a person to be guilty of promoting it. Further, to be guilty of aggravated promotion, the State must also prove:

  1. You ran an establishment that had
  2. Two or more prostitutes.

Doug Murphy will hold the State and jury accountable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt your guilt. Proving guilt is not as easy as it sounds. The facts are rarely straightforward. Witnesses are hard to come by in prostitution cases. And the evidence relied upon is often faulty. Doug Murphy will use the gaps and inconsistencies to your benefit.

What are the penalties of a conviction of promotion of prostitution in Texas?

Promotion of prostitution carries with it different punishment than aggravated promotion.

Promotion of Prostitution

Promotion of prostitution is usually charged as a state jail felony, punishable by:

  • 180 days to 2 years in jail; and/or
  • a fine of up to $10,000.

If, however, this is your second conviction of promoting prostitution, then it is upgraded to a third-degree felony, punishable by:

  • 2 to 10 years in state prison; and/or
  • a fine of up to $10,000.

If a minor under the age of 18 was involved or engaged in prostitution, regardless of whether or not you knew the person was a minor, the offense is charged as a second-degree felony, punishable by:

  • 2 to 20 years in state prison; and/or
  • a fine of up to $10,000.

You can also expect the judge to order community supervision and mandatory education classes. If not completed properly, you may suffer more penalties.

Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution

Aggravated promotion of prostitution is charged as a second-degree felony, punishable by:

  • 2 to 20 years in state prison; and/or
  • a fine of up to $10,000.

If, however, a minor under the age of 18 years, regardless of whether or not you knew the person was a minor, was involved or engaged in prostitution, the offense is charged as a first-degree felony, punishable by:

  • 5 to 99 years or life; and/or
  • a fine of up to $10,000.

Also, if convicted and depending on the facts and circumstances – namely the conviction included a minor acting as a prostitute – you may be required to register as a sex offender with the Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) and the law enforcement agency where you live. This requirement may be a lifetime one, requiring you to check in with local law enforcement wherever you move.

As you see, the penalties are severe. And this does not begin to describe what life will be like after you pay your debt to society. For instance, you may have particular problems:

  • finding and maintaining a job because you are now a liability issue;
  • finding and keeping housing because you are a sex abuse offender;
  • maintaining or regaining child custody because the judge may not find it is the child's best interest; and, among other hardships,
  • keeping and using a firearm because – if convicted of a felony – federal and state laws require you to give this right up.

What are defenses to a Harris County promotion of prostitution charge?

Defenses to a promotion of prostitution charge can include any of the following:

  • You did not know prostitution was occurring in the establishment.
  • You did not receive anything in the way of compensation.
  • You did not agree to allow prostitution on the premises.

In prostitution cases, however, the heart of the defense does not lie only with a viable defense but with a strategy to defend. This means incorporating a strategy that bolsters any defense you may have but does not focus only on that defense. Your attorney must also effectively challenge the State's evidence against you by, for example, proving it as faulty or unreliable and thus worthy of doubt.

This takes a persistent, keen, fearless defense attorney -- someone like Doug Murphy who has been doing this for more than twenty years.

Who should you contact to defend your Harris County prostitution or solicitation of prostitution charge?

Prostitution charges can be laid against just about anyone. We represent clients who have been wrongly charged or who want to fight the charge because – with a criminal record – it will impact their lives for the rest of their lives.

To defend yourself, your name, and your enterprise, against a promotion of prostitution charge, contact Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. We have the knowledge, the insight, and the resources to fight on your behalf.

Doug Murphy possesses a strong passion to defend clients against overzealous law agencies in Houston who are known to be aggressive and intimidating and to falsify information and evidence. Doug Murphy applies his proven skills -- as witnessed by his Board Certification in criminal defense that only a fraction of criminal lawyers in Texas possesses -- to develop a solid case for you. Of course, each case is different, so your defense will be dependent on the facts and circumstances of your case.

With his office conveniently located in Houston, Doug Murphy represents clients throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today for a free initial consultation.

Contact Us Today

If you are facing DWI or other criminal charges in Texas, contact our office today to discuss your case, so we can begin working on your defense. Please provide only your personal email and cell phone number so that we can immediately and confidentially communicate with you.

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