Due to increasing concerns regarding the exploitation of sex workers, there is occasionally a tendency by law enforcement in Richardson to view solicitation more seriously than prostitution itself. In fact, those convicted sometimes must register as sex offenders.
In addition to criminal penalties, a conviction for solicitation could wreak havoc on your professional and social life, so it is wise to take such charges seriously. A Richardson solicitation lawyer could help defend your rights and explore all available options for your legal defense. If you are facing such a charge, consider enlisting a knowledgeable criminal attorney to help you work toward a positive outcome.
The Definitions of Prostitution and Solicitation
State law is fairly straightforward on the definition of prostitution. Under Tex. Pen. Code §43.02, someone commits the crime of prostitution if that person “knowingly offers or agrees to receive a fee from another to engage in sexual conduct.”
This statute also describes the offense of offering or agreeing to pay another to engage in sexual conduct with either that person or another. This is generally described as solicitation of prostitution, or offering to pay for sex.
Overall, the criminal violation consists of making an agreement for one person to pay another for sex. All parties to the agreement are culpable under the law. Moreover, the fee involved does not need to be money—anything of value could be considered a fee.
The Significance of Intent
It is important to note that under the legal definition, solicitation occurs when an offer or acceptance is made to engage in sex for hire. No actual sexual conduct needs to occur for the parties to be found guilty.
As a practical matter, however, someone must usually make an actual attempt to pay for sex in order to be convicted. In addition, there must typically be some type of attempt to commit a sexual act. A Richardson solicitation attorney could help elucidate how these actions might justify—or serve as grounds to contest—a solicitation allegation.
Penalties for Solicitation
The circumstances of the alleged act dictate the severity of potential penalties for solicitation. For instance, if an individual offers or agrees to pay someone under age 18 for sexual conduct, then the offense may be treated as a second-degree felony. Moreover, if that individual believes or was informed that the person they are attempting to pay for sex was under 18, the offense is still a felony of the second degree even if the person was actually older.
Penalties for this offense include up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In addition, those found guilty must register as sex offenders.
If the situation involves solicitation of a person clearly aged 18 or over, then a first offense is considered a Class B misdemeanor. Those convicted may be sentenced to up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. For a second or third offense, the crime is treated as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Individuals with three or more prior offenses on their record may be convicted of a state jail felony and face up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. For all these different types of cases, a solicitation lawyer in Richardson could provide dedicated and personalized representation.
Talk to a Richardson Solicitation Attorney Today
Throughout the criminal process associated with a solicitation charge, your attorney could serve as your advocate, working tirelessly to protect your rights. An experienced Richardson solicitation lawyer could analyze the facts of your case, explain the best options for your situation, and help you determine the course of action you should take to work toward the best available outcome.
There are potential defense strategies available in every situation. To learn how a solicitation defense lawyer could assist in your case, call now to set up an initial consultation.