Weatherford Prostitution Lawyer
The basic concept behind prostitution is well-known: it is illegal to have sex with another person in exchange for money. However, the Texas Penal Code creates a much more wide-open definition of this crime that can include many other actions that an individual may consider legal.
Because of this, many defendants who are charged with prostitution may be confused as to how the law applies to them and as to how they can defend themselves. A dedicated attorney could help individuals facing any sort of prostitution charge. A Weatherford prostitution lawyer could work with you to ensure you understand the law, examine the prosecutor’s case, and develop a defense strategy that gives you the best chance of a positive outcome.
Prostitution Laws Applicable to Weatherford
The core concept of an illegal trade of sex for money is absolutely illegal in Texas. However, Texas Penal Code §43.02 expands upon the basic definition to criminalize other sorts of activity. Specifically, the statute states that it is illegal to knowingly offer or agree to receive a fee to engage in sexual conduct.
The first element this statute defines as part of the illegal act of prostitution is the idea of knowingly making an exchange. There must be no question in the defendant’s mind that there was a trade of a fee for sex. This means the prosecutor bears the burden of proving the defendant’s state of mind.
Because of this, it can be a valid defense strategy for a Weatherford prostitution lawyer to argue that even if a partner believed that they were buying sex, the defendant had no intent to sell. However, it is sufficient for a prosecutor to prove that a defendant attempted to make this exchange. Just like any other criminal accusation, the attempt to commit a crime is just as serious as actually doing it.
Another relevant element is the concept of a fee. Texas Penal Code §43.01 states that a fee can include money, goods, services, or any other benefit. Therefore, the item offered in exchange for sex could include food, clothes, transportation, or a hotel room. Finally, the sex offered does not have to be intercourse. The Texas Penal Code broadly outlaws the exchange of “sexual conduct,” which includes intercourse but also involves any sort of sexual contact such as touching of genitals.
Potential Defenses and Penalties
Many times, the police use undercover buyers to attempt to lure out people they suspect of committing acts of prostitution, which can sometimes work towards an individual’s advantage in court. A defendant and their Weatherford prostitution lawyer may be able to argue that they would not have engaged in prostitution if not for the undercover agent’s actions. This is known as entrapment.
The Texas Penal Code also provides for an affirmative defense if the defendant can offer evidence that they were a victim of sex trafficking or engaged in prostitution due to threats from another person. While these defenses are limited in scope, they can provide a refuge to defendants who only committed the crime out of fear for their lives or the lives of their families.
The penalties for a conviction depend solely upon the number of times that a person has been convicted for prostitution in the past. A first offense is a Class B misdemeanor. This means that the penalty may be as many as 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If the court convicts a defendant of a second or third offense, the severity of the charge rises to a Class A misdemeanor. This increases the potential penalty to a year in jail or a maximum fine of $4,000.
Finally, all convictions after a third are state jail felonies. The sentences here range from 180 days in jail to up to two years in addition to a $10,000 fine.
Let a Weatherford Prostitution Attorney Help
Charges of prostitution in Weatherford can be some of the most frightening and embarrassing ordeals that an individual in Texas might ever have to face. A conviction for this crime almost always results in jail time, the payment of severe fines, and the creation of a criminal record.
Strong legal representation is essential in cases like this, which fortunately is exactly what a Weatherford prostitution lawyer could provide. Our legal team could work to evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case, identify realistic goals for the outcome, and work towards those goals in court. Call today to discuss your case.