If you’re facing prostitution charges in the Dallas area, it would be a mistake to take the matter lightly. You could face financial penalties, jail time, and even lose custody of your kids. Despite the potentially serious penalties, an arrest doesn’t have to result in a conviction. A Dallas prostitution defense lawyer can fight to protect your rights.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first offense or if you’re a repeat offender. It’s important to have an experienced sex crimes attorney who knows the law by your side.
At the Edgett Law Firm, we have over 22 years of experience fiercely advocating for our clients. We know how to work with the prosecution to minimize the consequences of an arrest or accusation. We’re ready to go to work in your case, so call today to learn more about how an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.
How an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Fight Prostitution Charges in Dallas
Prostitution is considered to be a sex crime. In the most serious cases, you could face Texas sex offender registration requirements. Even if sex offender registration is not an issue, it’s important to fight the charges and protect your future.
Under Texas law, the punishment for prostitution is determined under a scheme that considers your past history. Every prior conviction makes it more likely you’ll be charged with a more serious crime. Our lawyers in Dallas, Texas will do everything that we can to get the charges dropped or downgraded.
When you hire us, our Dallas criminal defense attorneys will:
Find the Facts
Police often make arrests for prostitution based on sting operations. These “investigations” focus on getting you to agree to prostitution. Contrary to what many people think, you don’t actually have to engage in sex to be guilty of prostitution. If the prosecutor can show that you agreed to engage in sex for a fee, they can convict.
These cases are often highly fact-intensive. Our lawyers will conduct a full investigation to find out what happened. We’ll examine every piece of evidence to find weakness in the prosecution’s case.
For example, it’s possible that the police violated your constitutional rights in the course of their investigation. You may never have actually agreed to exchange sex for money. We’ll find the facts and apply our legal knowledge to your advantage.
Negotiate with the Prosecutors
Our lawyers always prepare to advocate for your rights at trial. However, it may be possible to convince the prosecutor to reduce your charges prior to trial. Depending on the facts, accepting a plea could help you avoid a record for prostitution.
We want you to make the most informed choice possible. We understand the criminal justice system. We’ll help you understand the strength of the prosecution’s case and the consequences of accepting a plea–and then we’ll negotiate with the prosecutor to get the best deal possible.
Understanding the Texas Laws on Prostitution
Texas laws on prostitution establish penalties that vary widely in terms of severity. The punishment you can face for conviction will generally vary depending upon:
- Whether you were accused of being the prostitute, paying for sex or profiting from prostitution
- The age of the prostitute, or whether the prostitute was marketed as a minor
- Whether you have been convicted of prostitution in the past
It’s always important to have a strong Dallas criminal defense lawyer on your side, even if this is the first time you’ve faced prostitution charges.
At the Edgett Law Firm, we handle all types of prostitution charges, including:
A person is guilty of prostitution in Texas if the prosecution can prove that the defendant knowingly offered or agreed to engage in sexual contact in exchange for a fee. The penalties for prostitution generally depend upon the defendant’s past history, as follows:
- For first-time offenders, prostitution is a Class B misdemeanor
- If the defendant has been convicted one or two other occasions, Class A misdemeanor penalties will apply
- Fourth and subsequent offenses are punishable as a state jail felony
Under Texas law, however, several different types of conduct related to prostitution are punishable as much more serious high-level felonies.
Solicitation of Prostitution
The prosecution can also convict the person who offered to pay for sex on prostitution charges. To convict, the prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly offered or agreed to pay another person to engage in sexual contact with that person or someone else.
Solicitation is generally graded as:
- A class A misdemeanor, or
- A state jail felony for repeat offenders
If the defendant agreed to engage in sexual contact with someone who was under the age of 18, the crime is a much more serious second-degree felony. This is true even if the person wasn’t actually younger than age 18, but was represented or “marketed” as being underage.
Second-degree charges can also stick if the prosecution can prove the defendant believed the person was younger than 18.
Promotion of Prostitution
Promotion of prostitution is a third-degree felony under Section 43.03 of the Texas Penal Code. To prove promotion, the prosecution has to show that the person, while not acting as a prostitution receiving compensation for personally rendered prostitution services, knowingly:
- Received money or property under an agreement to participate in the proceeds of prostitution, or
- Solicits another person to engage in sexual conduct with another person for compensation
Repeat offenders face second-degree felony charges under the promotion law. If the defendant engaged in sexual conduct with someone younger than 18, first-degree felony charges apply.
Aggravated promotion of prostitution is also a first-degree felony. Aggravated charges apply if the person is involved in any prostitution enterprise that uses two or more prostitutes.
Compelling prostitution is a first-degree felony under Texas Penal Code Section 43.05. To convict, the prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly:
- caused another by force, threat, coercion, or fraud to commit prostitution
- caused by any means a child younger than 18 years to commit prostitution, regardless of whether the defendant knew the age of the child at the time of the offense
“Coercion” is defined to include situations where the defendant threatened to destroy or withhold the person’s government documents or identifying papers. The prosecution can also establish coercion if the defendant caused the prostitute to become intoxicated to the point where they can’t understand that they are engaging in prostitution (or can’t resist).
Prostitution charges are often brought in connection with drug possession charges. If the person forced to engage in prostitution is drug or alcohol dependent, withholding the drugs or alcohol can also be sufficient to establish coercion.
Penalties for a Prostitution Conviction in Dallas
Conviction for prostitution can always result in jail time, even for first offenders. Depending upon the grading of the offense, penalties can include:
- Six months in jail and $2,000 in fines for a Class B misdemeanor
- Up to one year in jail and $4,000 in fines for a Class A misdemeanor
- Between six months and two years in prison, plus $4,000 in fines, for a state jail felony
- Between two and ten years in prison for a third-degree felony, plus up to $10,000 in fines
- Between two and 20 years in prison for a second-degree felony, plus up to $10,000 in fines
- Between five and 99 years in prison for a first-degree felony, plus up to $10,000 in fines
Additionally, you’ll also face the societal stigma of having a prostitution conviction on your criminal record. You may have to disclose this record when you apply for a job or try to find a place to live.
It’s even possible that you could lose custody of your children. In a custody battle, your child’s other parent could use your prostitution conviction as evidence that you are unfit to parent or that your child isn’t safe in your home.
Defenses to Prostitution Charges in Dallas
Like any other criminal charge, the prosecution must prove every element of the crime alleged beyond a reasonable doubt. At the Edgett Law Firm, we’re committed to holding the prosecution to this requirement–by making their job as difficult as possible.
Possible defense strategies include:
- There was no agreement to engage in sexual conduct
- Insufficient evidence
- Constitutional violations
- False allegations
- Mistaken identity
Our Texas criminal defense attorneys have more than 22 years of experience in criminal law and know how to help you beat criminal charges. We know how to build a defense that is specifically tailored to your case. Call our law firm today for legal advice from a board-certified defense attorney who has been recognized by the Super Lawyer ranking system.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Respected Dallas Prostitution Defense Lawyer Today
At the Edgett Law Firm, we know that bad things happen to good people. You might find yourself in an impossible situation and feel like you don’t have options. If you’ve been arrested on prostitution charges, our attorneys want to help you fight back to protect your future.
We offer a free consultation so that you can learn more about our law firm and how a skilled criminal defense lawyer can help in your case. To schedule your 100% consultation with an experienced Dallas prostitution defense lawyer, call our law offices today.
Our lawyers can handle your criminal case in Dallas, TX, Fort Worth, Dallas County, Tarrant County, and across North Texas.