Everything You Need to Know about Prostitution and Solicitation Laws in Texas

Prostitution and solicitation are illegal in most of the United States, except for Nevada, due to state laws. The legal status and severity of penalties vary by state. Here is what you need to know about prostitution and solicitation laws in Texas.

The definition of prostitution includes engaging in any form of sexual activity with another person for payment. Solicitation is defined as the act of trying to or asking for something from another person. Solicitation of prostitution is then defined as the act of knowingly engaging with someone who is offering sexual activity in exchange for money.

Penal Codes Regarding Texas Prostitution and Solicitation

Texas laws regarding prostitution fall under Penal Code § 42.02. Under this code, a person commits an offense if they willingly offer or accept payment to engage in sexual activity with another. If it is a first-time offense, it is considered a Class B misdemeanor. However, if the defendant has previously been convicted of this offense, it is considered Class A.

The solicitation of prostitution falls under Penal Code § 43.021. In Texas, if someone willingly pays another in exchange for sexual activity, they can also be convicted of a state jail felony. If the offender is a repeated offender, their crime becomes a third-degree felony. The defendant can also face a felony charge of the second degree if the person they are paying for sexual activity is a minor, regardless of their previous knowledge of the age.

Related: Texas Employment Law FAQs

Is Prostitution Legal in Texas?

Prostitution is illegal in the state of Texas under Penal Code §42.02. All forms of prostitution are considered felonies, including:

Promoting Prostitution

A third party who facilitates and solicits the exchange of money and sexual activity while also receiving payment.

Online Promotion

A third party who operates from an online computer service that promotes prostitution.

Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution

Managing a prostitution service with two or more sex workers. This can include owning the service and investing in it.

Compelling Prostitution

A person who willingly causes a minor to commit prostitution. Prior knowledge of their age does not matter so long as they were a minor during the exchange.

Criminal Penalties for Soliciting Prostitution in Texas

First-time solicitation offenders can face anywhere between up to 180 days and up to two years in state jail along with a maximum fine of $10,000. Second-time offenders are prosecuted as third-degree felonies and can face anywhere from two to ten years in jail along with a maximum fine of $10,000. Offenders who engage in prostitution with a minor are considered a second-degree felony and are charged with up to 20 years of jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Related: Texas Minimum Wage Laws: Explained

How Can I Fight Prostitution in Texas?

Getting a lawyer to defend against any prostitution or solicitation charges is the best course of action when fighting prostitution charges. Oftentimes, defense arguments using alcohol and inebriation, lack of knowledge about the other party being a prostitute, and duress are used with defendants being charged with solicitation.

Is Soliciting Prostitution a Crime in Texas?

Beginning of September 2021, soliciting prostitution became a crime in Texas as per Penal Code §42.021. Texas became the first state in the U.S. to make solicitation of prostitution a crime. It is considered a state jail felony. However, solicitation charges can still occur even if there was no sexual activity. Examples of other actions that can be considered as solicitation include:

  • Picking up a sex worker.
  • Withdrawing cash.
  • Asking for sexual conduct in exchange for cash.
  • Driving to a secondary location with the intent of sexual activity taking place.

Is Engaging in Prostitution a Crime in Texas?

Yes, engaging in prostitution is a crime in Texas.

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