People often refer to prostitution as the “oldest trade” or the “oldest occupation” because it probably is, or at least it’s one of the oldest trades to exist. If you’re like a lot of people you may think that prostitution should be legal. After all, doesn’t it involve sex between two consenting adults? While that’s often the case, many of the prostitutes working the streets and the ads on Craigslist are in fact victims of human trafficking, thus they are victims of modern day slavery.
There are other key reasons why prostitution is illegal. For starters, it promotes the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Also, it promotes adultery, which goes against the morals of our society. Also, the government can’t tax it, and that’s another concern for lawmakers.
Texas’ Prostitution Laws
In Texas, there are three ways you can be charged with prostitution: 1) you can be the prostitute, 2) you can be the “John” or customer, or 3) you can solicit someone to engage in sexual activity for a fee on behalf of the actor or prostitute.
Often, pimps fall under number three listed above, but you don’t have to be an actual pimp to get into trouble under this category. For example, “Joe” can ask another man if he wants to have sex with his girlfriend, “Marie” for $100. In that case, Joe can be slapped with prostitution charges, even if Marie never agreed to have sex with the stranger for money.
Prostitution is covered under Section 43.02 of the Texas Penal Code. A first or second prostitution offense is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $2,000 fine, or up to 6 months in jail, or both. A third conviction for prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail or by a fine not to exceed $4,000, or by a fine and incarceration.
It is a state jail felony if the defendant has been convicted of prostitution on three or more occasions. If the alleged prostitute was a minor (under the age of 18) at the time of the offense, the John can face second degree felony charges. If the John did not know the prostitute was under the age of 18, or if he was lied to about her age, he cannot use that as a defense.
Are you facing prostitution charges in Denton? If so, contact our office at once to schedule your confidential consultation!