When a person in Houston is accused of being involved in prostitution, it's not simply the criminal aspect of the act that can cause problems, but the accompanying perceptions that come along with it. This is why it's imperative to plan an aggressive defense when confronted with a sex charge. However, many are unaware of how the law in the state views prostitution charges. Knowing the law is the first step to defending oneself against a sex crime charge.
If a person makes an offer to take part in or does take part in sexual contact for a fee, it will be defined as engaging in prostitution. If a person solicits another person in a public location with an offer to take part in a sexual act for hire, it is also prostitution. There will be an offense whether the person is paying or receiving a fee for the act. It is a crime if it is a solicited act or not. This is a Class B misdemeanor, unless it is a second or third conviction under this offense. If that is the case, it is a Class A misdemeanor.
There will be a state felony charged if the person has been convicted three or more times. It is a second degree state felony if the person who was solicited for the sex act was under 18-years-old. This charge will be pursued whether the accused was aware of the person's age or not. If the person who was accused in taking part in this activity was doing so because they were a victim of sex trafficking and were being forced to do so, it can be a defense against being prosecuted. A defendant who pleaded no contest to previous charges or was found guilty for a deferment of penalties will be viewed as having a prior conviction when facing new charges.
Considering the penalties and ancillary consequences that accompany alleged sex crimes for prostitution, whether it's someone soliciting customers or seeking to exchange money for sex acts, it's important for a person facing charges to craft a strong defense.
Source: statutes.legis.state.tx.us, "Sec 43.02. Prostitution ," accessed on Mar. 30, 2015