Collin County Prostitution Defense Lawyer
Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyers Helping Clients Charged with Prostitution & Solicitation
If you were arrested or charged with prostitution in Collin County, you need to hire a Collin County prostitution defense lawyer from Rosenthal Barbieri. In the state of Texas, prostitution is a criminal offense and comes with some harsh penalties. However, you’re innocent until proven guilty, and it’s the prosecutor’s job to prove that you committed the crime in question beyond a reasonable doubt. We have experience defending clients like you and ensuring your rights stay protected, and you receive a fair trial.
As one of the largest counties in Texas, Collin County has seen its fair share of prostitution. While the practice of selling sex for money is often called the “world’s oldest profession,” it remains a serious criminal offense in Texas, both for the seller and the buyer. And it is critical to understand that the crime of prostitution extends to the “offer” of sex for money, regardless of whether the transaction is actually completed. Among other reasons, this is why you need to speak with a qualified Collin County sex crimes lawyer if you find yourself charged with any type of prostitution offense.
Prostitution in Texas
Put simply, Section 43.02 of the Texas Penal Code defines prostitution as “knowingly” offering or agreeing to engage in “sexual conduct” in exchange for a “fee.” It does not matter how much money is involved or whether the act of solicitation takes place on the street or in some other public place like a hotel. Any offer of sex-for-money is illegal in Collin County.
Depending on specific facts of your case, a public place can include any place that the public or a substantial group of the public has access to, such as:
- Office building
- Apartment building
- Transportation facility, such as an airport
- Retail stores
- Streets and highways
It is also against the law to indirectly facilitate prostitution–i.e., pimp–by accepting money or any other property on behalf of someone else to engage in sexual activity. This is known as “promotion of prostitution” under the Texas Penal Code 43.03. If a person knowingly owned, controlled, supervised, invested, or promoted two or more people as part of a larger “prostitution enterprise,” they can be charged with “aggravated promotion,” which carries a stiffer potential sentence under Texas Penal Code 43.04.
There is also a separate offense for “compelling prostitution.” Under Texas Penal Code 43.05, it occurs when someone knowingly causes causing someone else to engage in prostitution by “force, threat, or fraud,” or causes a child under 18 years old to engage in prostitution.
Possible Defense Strategies for Prostitution Charges
Just because an officer arrested and charged you with prostitution doesn’t mean an automatic conviction. You’re entitled to dispute the accusations made against you and defend yourself in court. Various defenses could get the charges dropped. Rosenthal Barbieri will come up with the best methods of attacking the prosecution’s case to instill doubt within the jury members.
Some common and successful arguments include:
- Police used illegal entrapment techniques
- Your age at the time of the alleged prostitution
- Law enforcement’s failure to establish knowledge on your part
- Mental or physical duress at the time that the crime occurred
- Failure of any money to exchange hands
- Intoxication at the time of the offense
While we’re preparing your case, it will be our job to poke holes in the prosecutor’s story and try to convince the jurors that an officer stripped you of your rights at the time of your arrest or the charges against you are completely false. We will be by your side and help you get through this. You can depend on us to fight hard for you and prove you didn’t commit the crimes charged against you.
The Penalties for Prostitution in Collin County
An initial conviction for prostitution–offering or soliciting–is a Class B misdemeanor under Texas law. This carries a maximum possible jail term of 180 days and a $2,000 fine. A second or third prostitution offense is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor, where the penalties ratchet up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. On the fourth conviction, prostitution is a state jail felony, where the offender may face 2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
For offenders convicted of prostitution for the third time, they might have to register as a sex offender with the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program. That could restrict where you can live and who you’re allowed to associate with. You won’t be able to live near a park, school, or any location where children frequent. Registering as a sex offender also might prevent you from having access to the internet or owning a computer. Information on a sex registry is public, so anyone can gain access to it, including family, friends, and potential employers.
If you get charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution, it’s a second-degree felony. You could face two to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both. If any prostitutes within the prostitution enterprise were under the age of 18 at the time, the charge could become a first-degree felony with a possible life sentence in prison.
You could face prosecution in federal court under R.I.C.O. charges if certain circumstances existed. If any of the prostitutes in the enterprise crossed over state lines or came from another country, the charge could become federal human trafficking associated with prostitution. That is a violation of The Mann Act that Congress passed more than a century ago, making it illegal to transport someone over state lines to engage in prostitution or an immoral purpose.
The most serious prostitution penalties are for soliciting a person under the age of 18. If convicted, the solicitor faces a second-degree felony charge–and possibly 20 years in prison–regardless of whether they have any prior prostitution-related convictions. It also does not matter if the defendant knew the person was actually under 18. A person may also be convicted if they were solicited by someone who falsely represented themselves as being under 18, i.e. an undercover cop posing as a teenager online.
A Collin County Prostitution Lawyer Can Help You
This last scenario illustrates how easy it is to get trapped by a prostitution charge. This is why you need help from an experienced Collin County sex crimes lawyer, especially if you have never dealt with the criminal justice system before. Organizing a solid defense and creating compelling arguments for court proceedings are complicated. If you don’t seek the help of an experienced Collin County prostitution lawyer, you could end up facing the maximum penalty allowed under Texas law.
Allegations of prostitution, whether innocent or guilty, can ruin a person’s reputation. If you get convicted, you end up with a criminal record that could cost you potential future employment. If you are a Collin County resident charged with prostitution and need to speak with a lawyer right away, call Rosenthal Barbieri, today at (972) 369-0577. One of our Collin County prostitution lawyers will meet with you to review your case and discuss your options.