In September 2021, Texas became the first state in the United States to make first-time prostitution solicitation a felony. Previously, the charge was a Class A misdemeanor (the most severe misdemeanor type).
This legislation is a direct change to Texas Penal Code section 43.02. A new section, 43.021, explicitly outlines the new punishments.
Now, as a felony, someone convicted for prostitution solicitation could face from 180 days to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. If a person is convicted for this crime for a second time, they will face third-degree felony punishments which can include two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Why Was the Change Initiated?
Legislators passed H.B. 2975 in May 2021 with the hopes that making prostitution solicitation a felony, it would cut down on human trafficking overall. The primary author of the bill, State Representative Senfrronia Thompson (D) was noted saying, “If we can curb or stamp out the demand end of it, then we can save the lives of numerous persons.”
How is Solicitation Defined?
It may be surprising to know that even before an act is performed or even money is exchanged, someone could be charged with solicitation. The law states that anyone who has offered or agreed to money in exchange for paid sexual acts may be charged with solicitation. The definition is purposely vague in hopes to aid law enforcement if they suspect someone of solicitation.
What to Do if You Are Charged With Solicitation
Solicitation was already a serious offense in Texas but is now more consequential. If you or a loved one was charged with solicitation, you don’t want to fight the allegation alone.
The team at The Law Offices of Jed Silverman is here for you should you be charged with this or another crime. We have assisted others facing solicitation charges and we want to help you.