Solicitation of Prostitution in Houston TX

Harris County continues to crack down on prostitution -- on the streets and in massage parlors as well as elsewhere. Law enforcement agents are aggressive and persistent. They follow you online. They follow you on the streets. They make it their business to know your business. Regardless of what you think about prostitution, whether or not it's your own body and you can do with it what you like or you can pay whoever what you want -- the agreement to engage in sexual conduct for a fee is illegal. And arrests are made from top executives down to the janitor of a school.

If you have been arrested and charged with prostitution or solicitation of prostitution, you need a legal defense that parallels the State's aggressive tactics. Doug Murphy has been representing clients for twenty years now. He has seen just about everything, and he has a plan for it all. His defense is designed to get the charges dismissed or you acquitted -- he never settles for a plea just to get the case over and done with because more often than not, those plea deals are not in your best interests. You need to fight the charge.

And you can win with an attorney possessing the kind of skills, insight, and legal ingenuity that Doug Murphy possesses. Below is information on solicitation of prostitution in Harris County, Texas. If you still have questions or want to retain a strategic, aggressive legal defense, contact Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today.

What is prostitution and solicitation of prostitution in Harris County?

Prostitution is a crime defined by Tex. Pen. Code 43.02 that occurs when a person knowingly:

  • “offers or agrees to receive a fee from another to engage in sexual conduct”; or
  • “offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another.”

So long as there is an agreement to exchange sexual conduct for a fee or to pay a fee for sexual conduct, then the offense of prostitution has been committed. It does not matter if the subject of the payment actually receives the fee or if the purchaser of sexual conduct actually pays the other person -- the offense is established by the agreement.

Sexual conduct means, according to Tex. Pen. Code 43.01(4) means “deviate sexual intercourse, sexual contact, and sexual intercourse.”

Prostitution also occurs when a person solicits prostitution in a public place. Solicitation of prostitution is the asking of money for sexual conduct or the asking of the sexual conduct. In other words, asking another person to engage in criminal conduct with the intention to engage the crime, in this case: prostitution. Thus, either the so-called prostitute and the so-called john can be charged with solicitation of prostitution. Further, the actual act of prostitution does not need to occur to be guilty of solicitation.

An Example of Solicitation of Prostitution

Jenny stands at the corner of Bissonnet Street, along a 1.3-mile stretch between the Southwest Freeway and Beltway 8. She wears a short skirt and waves as motorists as they drive by. This is the first possible criminal act.

John drives along the street and stops his car by Jenny. She comes to the window. He asks if she wants to go out. She says yes and gets in the car.

He drives to one of the nearby motels and just outside the car, he asks her how much for her services. She says $150. Right then and the second possible criminal act occurs. No sexual conduct has taken place. No fee or item of value has been handed over.

A few things to take from this example:

  1. When Jenny waves at the men passing by in cars, a prosecutor may successfully convince a jury she was soliciting sex -- given the street, the clothes, the manner in which she waved, etc.
  2. When John takes Jenny to the hotel and asks how much, given again the circumstances and nature of the evening, a prosecutor could convince a jury that he was asking soliciting sex in return for $150.
  3. If no mention of money was made and if the two had engaged in sexual conduct, no crime may have been committed.

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

The State must prove a few things in a prostitution case.

For prostitution, the prosecutor must prove that you:  

  1. Knew the person to whom you were talking was a prostitute or potential client;
  2. Attempt to or actually commit sexual conduct or sex acts; and
  3. Offer or agree to a fee or something of value in exchange for the sexual conduct.

For solicitation, the prosecutor must prove that you:

  1. Knew the person to whom you were talking was a prostitute or potential client;
  2. Asked to for sex or a fee in exchange for a fee or sex; and
  3. Asked the same in a public place.

To prove either prostitution or solicitation, the prosecutor will need convincing evidence. There are many different situations that could have taken place, and many of those situations may not have been illegal. There are often no available witnesses either unless an agent was undercover -- in which case, there may be an argument for entrapment.

Doug Murphy will review your case and strategize according to the facts, circumstances, and the available evidence. He always prepares as if the case will go to trial and he always holds the State and jury accountable to the notion that you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  

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

Prostitution is usually a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense, which can result in:

  • up to 180 days in jail; and/or
  • a fine of up to $2000.

If it's not your first conviction of prostitution, but a second offense, then you face a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • up to one year in county jail; and/or
  • a fine of up to $4000.

If it's not your second conviction of prostitution, but a third or subsequent offense, then you face a state jail felony, which is punishable by:

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

If you tried to solicit a minor (someone under the age of 18 regardless of whether or not you knew), then you face a felony in the second degree, which is punishable by:

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

The judge may also require you to perform community service or attend mandatory educational classes.

Also, if convicted, you may have to register as a sex offender with the Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) and your local law enforcement agency. If you have to register, you may qualify as a Level One, Level Two, or Level Three. You may also have to stay registered as a sex offender for the rest of your life -- and all because of a mistake or misunderstanding. That's a big price to pay for a prostitution conviction (and for not fighting the prostitution charge).

What are the defenses to a Harris County solicitation or prostitution charge?

Defenses to a solicitation or prostitution charge can include any of but are not limited by the following:

  • The agreement was only for sex and no money or thing of value was exchanged.
  • You did not know the person was a prostitute.
  • Legal impossibility when the alleged solicitation or prostitution occurred over the internet and what transpired was merely a sexual conversation.
  • You were entrapped -- the undercover agent used strong language, intimidate, etc. to compel you to do something you would not have ordinarily done.

There is more to a defense than a viable defense. Strategy is also important if not more important. Doug Murphy will put together a strategy that incorporates all angles and aspects of your case with the aim of getting the charges dismissed or you acquitted at trial.

For instance, the evidence may not be trustworthy, i.e., obtained from an untrustworthy source -- so as part of the strategy, Murphy will highlight and emphasize tactfully the unsuitable nature of the evidence and how it, in part, fails to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Likewise, evidence may be insufficient, and in such cases, Doug Murphy will highlight these insufficiencies to challenge, in part, the State's case.

A good defense is a defense that is comprehensive and solid from the start, which means starting at the point where you say: I am not guilty. Then we build the case moving forward with that key statement in mind.

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

To defend yourself against a solicitation or 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 real skills and a passion for what he does.

Not only is he Board Certified in criminal defense -- which only a fraction of criminal lawyers in Texas are -- he is asked often to speak to other attorneys in Texas and beyond to share his knowledge and skills in criminal defense and DWI law. He is the go-to criminal defense lawyer in Harris County.

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

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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.