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Prostitution charges often result from a police set-up or “sting” that is designed specifically to arrest individuals who are either engaging in prostitution or soliciting prostitution. Police officers may pose as prostitutes or “johns,” which are individuals who solicit prostitutes. Since the penalties for a Denton prostitution conviction can be steep, and a mere accusation can shatter someone’s reputation and professional future, it could be beneficial to seek out a Denton prostitution lawyer.
Enlisting the assistance of a criminal defense attorney may be the key to more effectively fighting back against prostitution charges, particularly when an individual is ensnared in a police operation or “sting.” Many individuals simply plead guilty to prostitution when they are arrested during this type of operation and assume that there are no defenses available for their actions. However, there are viable options for defending such charges. A prostitution attorney in Denton who is familiar with these situations could help build a strong defense to refute the charge in court.
Prostitution Statutes in Denton
Texas Penal Code §43.02 establishes prostitution as a criminal offense in the state of Texas. Prostitution may occur in one of the following situations:
- A person knowingly offers or agrees to receive a fee from another to engage in sexual conduct
- A person knowingly offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person in exchange for sexual conduct with that person or another individual
A prostitution conviction does not always require sexual activity to occur. Rather, it may be based solely on offering, or agreeing to pay, or receiving a fee for sexual conduct that is intended to occur in the future. Additionally, a fee does not only refer to money. It could refer to goods, services, or any other type of benefit to another party.
Potential Legal Penalties
A first-time prostitution offense is a Class B misdemeanor. Penalties for a Class B misdemeanor may include a jail sentence of up to 180 days and a fine of no more than $2,000, according to Texas Penal Code §12.22.
However, prostitution could become a Class A misdemeanor if the person has one or two prior convictions for the offense. It could potentially also escalate to a state jail felony if the person has more than three prior convictions. For a Class A misdemeanor, there may be a jail sentence of up to one year, a fine of up to $4,000, or both, according to Texas Penal Code §12.21. Furthermore, a state jail felony conviction could cause an individual to serve a term of incarceration ranging from 180 days to two years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
It is generally regarded as a felony in the second-degree when a person knowingly offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person in order to engage in sexual conduct with an individual who is under 18 years of age, represented as being under 18, or believed to be under 18. This is the case regardless of whether the person knew that the other person was under 18 or not. A second-degree felony conviction may result in two to 20 years in prison, a fine of $10,000, or both.
Building a Defense with a Denton Prostitution Attorney
While even allegations of involvement with prostitution can be damaging to a person’s reputation and career, a prostitution conviction could be life-changing and negatively alter someone’s future. Consult a Denton prostitution lawyer who could help find different legal solutions that may benefit your case. Make an appointment today to start building your defense.