Prostitution involves people who attempt to or do, exchange sexual conduct for money or something else of value. In many cases, these charges arise from “stings,” or undercover operations set up by law enforcement officials to trap unwitting individuals in these situations. If you or a loved one has been accused of prostitution, you may wish to seek the advice of an experienced El Paso prostitution lawyer.
These allegations can be highly damaging to your reputation, both personally and professionally. Your friends and business associates may find you guilty before you ever appear in court. Obtaining an aggressive defense attorney as quickly as possible following these accusations could be crucial.
When Are Actions Considered Prostitution?
As stated by the Texas Penal Code § 43.02, prostitution occurs whenever individuals offer, agree, or engage in sexual conduct in exchange for something of value, which is usually money. Both parties to a prostitution transaction, those offering money and those offering sexual behavior, can be found equally guilty of the offense.
There is no requirement that any sexual conduct or even any physical conduct occur to commit prostitution. As long as a party makes an offer, makes an agreement, or receives payment, they have violated the law. As these allegations can arise despite a lack of any sexual contact, getting the advice of a prostitution attorney in El Paso may be essential to developing a strong defense.
Potential Penalties in El Paso
While prostitution is generally a Class B misdemeanor, it could be a felony offense under some circumstances. A Class B misdemeanor, under Tex. Pen. Code § 12.22, may result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000. While it is a lower-level misdemeanor offense, a prostitution conviction still will appear on background checks by prospective employers and may make it difficult to secure employment.
A history of prior prostitution convictions can increase the charges and resulting penalties. A prostitution charge could increase to a Class A misdemeanor for anyone who has one or two previous prostitution convictions. A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor can cause a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000.
Aggravated Prostitution Offenses
When minors are involved in an attempted or actual prostitution offense, the charges become far more severe and may result in significant prison time and thousands in fines. If the subject of the alleged prostitution is under the age of 18, the charge can become a second-degree felony.
Similarly, the promotion of prostitution according to Tex. Pen. Code § 43.03 is typically a state jail felony. Individuals who solicit others to engage in prostitution, or receive payment from an agreement to share in the proceeds of prostitution, commit this offense.
If the prostitution scheme involves two or more individuals acting like prostitutes, then Tex. Pen. Code § 43.04 provides that any individuals who knowingly own, control, manage, or invest in the scheme commit aggravated promotion of prostitution. This offense is a second-degree felony unless it involves minors, in which case it becomes a first-degree felony with a potential sentence of life in prison in extreme cases. Since the outcome of an aggravated prostitution offense may be so serious, an El Paso attorney may be useful in this situation. A skilled criminal attorney could build a defense case for individuals facing their criminal allegations.
Get Help from an El Paso Prostitution Attorney
Facing any prostitution-related charges can be extremely stressful and embarrassing for you and your family. This is when you should look to an El Paso prostitution lawyer for legal assistance.
Having the guidance of legal counsel throughout every step of the criminal justice process can make all the difference in the eventual outcome of your case. Call today to discuss your options.