In Allen and throughout the state of Texas, soliciting prostitution can lead to harsh penalties. Moreover, solicitation charges can be embarrassing and damaging to your reputation, both personally and professionally. In this situation, you may wish to look to an Allen solicitation lawyer for help.
In many cases, prostitution and solicitation arrests are the product of “stings” set up by law enforcement officers to target potential sex traffickers and sex workers. You may be unwittingly caught up in one of these operations, or you may have had a minor lapse in judgment. In any case, you should not have to suffer the drastic consequences that a conviction can bring. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may be able to defend you against solicitation charges.
Elements of a Solicitation Charge
Texas law equates prostitution and solicitation, so both the prostitutes and their clients face the same charges and prospective punishments. Under Texas Penal Code § 43.02, solicitation and prostitution both fall under the same criminal offense, entitled “prostitution.” Generally, solicitation occurs when individuals offer to, agree to, or actively pay another for sex acts, regardless of whether the acts are with the payee or others.
One key feature of both prostitution and solicitation offenses is that it is unnecessary for any sexual acts or contact to actually occur. The fact that individuals have offered or agreed to exchange money or something of value for sex acts is sufficient to constitute the crime.
Charges and Potential Penalties
According to Tex. Pen. Code § 43.02, solicitation is a Class B misdemeanor offense. However, persons who have prior convictions for prostitution or solicitation can face Class A misdemeanor or state jail felony charges, depending on the number of prior convictions. A history of solicitation or prostitution convictions has the potential to lead to harsher penalties.
For a Class B misdemeanor, the potential penalties generally include a fine up to $2,000 and a jail sentence up to 180 days. For a Class A misdemeanor charge, the penalties increase to a $4,000 maximum fine, a one-year maximum jail sentence, or both. Because even misdemeanor charges can lead to jail time, high fines, and social stigma, individuals facing solicitation charges may wish to discuss their defense options with a solicitation attorney in Allen.
Felony Solicitation Penalties
For a state jail felony charge, which can occur when individuals have three or more prior prostitution or solicitation convictions, the potential penalties may include a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
If the accused solicited a minor or someone they believed to be a minor, they may face second-degree felony charges. This can lead to harsh penalties, even if the accused did not know that the target of their solicitation was under 18.
A conviction for second-degree felony solicitation can result in a prison sentence of between two and 20 years, along with a maximum $10,000 fine. A felony conviction can also cause the loss of various civil rights, including the right to possess firearms. A solicitation lawyer in Allen could provide valuable advice about the options and defense strategies available in a particular case.
An Allen Solicitation Attorney May Be Beneficial
While you may feel like losing hope when facing a solicitation charge, you should know that there may be ways to resolve these charges with a minimum impact on your life. Determining the most effective defense strategy in your case can be easier with the assistance of an Allen solicitation lawyer.
While it can be tempting to give up and plead guilty, there may be other options available to you. By getting legal advice from the outset of your case, you can explore your options and begin working towards a positive resolution of your charges.