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Being arrested on solicitation charges can be damaging to your family, your job, and your place in the community. Fighting back against these charges can be crucial to clearing your name of these accusations. Contacting a Fort Worth solicitation lawyer may be an essential step in evaluating the defenses available to you.
A practiced defense lawyer could investigate the facts surrounding your situation, identify pertinent defenses, and help develop a defense strategy that works for your unique case. Working with an attorney from the outset of your case may be an effective way to approach your situation.
Statutes Outlining Solicitation
Texas law combines prostitution and solicitation into a single criminal offense. Pursuant to Tex. Pen. Code § 43.02, prostitution includes what typically is regarded as solicitation or individuals who knowingly offer or agree to pay a fee to another person for the purposes of engaging sexual conduct, whether it is with that person or a different person.
In either case, this offense does not require that any sexual conduct actually occur. It is enough for the purposes of this offense that an offer or an agreement transpired. A Fort Worth solicitation attorney can explain the specific behavior the statute covers.
Potential Charges in Fort Worth
Solicitation of prostitution is a Class B misdemeanor under § 43.02. There are some situations in which the charge increases to a Class A misdemeanor or a state jail felony. These elevated solicitation of prostitution charges result when individuals have prior convictions.
In some cases, however, solicitation of prostitution becomes a second-degree felony. This may occur when individuals knowingly offer or agree to pay a fee to another to engage in sexual conduct with a person who is:
- Under the age of 18
- Represented to be under the age of 18
- Believed to be under the age of 18
All these situations result in an elevated charge, even if the person did not know that the transaction involved an individual under the age of 18. A solicitation lawyer in Fort Worth could help defend someone facing these charges.
Possible Penalties for a Conviction
The penalties for a solicitation conviction vary according to the level of the offense charged, as well as other aggravating factors, including any prior history of criminal convictions. For a Class B misdemeanor under Tex. Pen. Code § 12.22, a person may receive a jail sentence ranging from zero to 180 days in jail and a fine of not more than $2,000.
When solicitation of prostitution offense increases to a felony offense, the potential penalties also increase. A state jail felony conviction pursuant to § 12.35 may result in a sentence of incarceration from 180 days to two years and a second-degree felony conviction under § 12.33 may result in a sentence ranging from two to 20 years in prison.
Promotion and Aggravated Promotion Charges
Promotion of prostitution under Texas law also involves traditional elements of solicitation, but often on a larger scale. Under § 43.03, individuals commit promotion of prostitution if they intentionally:
- Receive money or property in accordance with an agreement to participate in the proceeds of prostitution
- Solicit another to engage in sexual contact with another individual in exchange for compensation
This offense normally results in a state jail felony charge, but certain circumstances can elevate it to a higher charge. These circumstances include prior convictions and the involvement of a child under the age of 18.
Aggravated promotion of prostitution pursuant to § 43.04 occurs when someone intentionally owns, finances, controls, or manages a prostitution enterprise with at least two prostitutes. This offense is a second-degree felony, but it can increase to a first-degree felony if it involves a child under the age of 18.
Speak with a Fort Worth Solicitation Attorney Today
Solicitation charges can quickly become quite serious, particularly when aggravating circumstances are involved. Some individuals may face felony charges even for a first-time offense, depending on the facts of their cases. A Fort Worth solicitation lawyer could help negotiate a less punitive resolution to the matter.
When you are facing charges of this potential magnitude, you may not be sure how to best handle the matter. An experienced attorney could help you understand how to most effectively approach your case and work toward your goals. Call today.