Weatherford Solicitation Lawyer
The Texas laws that control the purchasing of sexual services go hand in hand with the laws that prohibit the selling of such acts. In fact, prosecutors pursue convictions for these two crimes using the same sections of the Texas Penal Code. As such, the available penalties for a conviction are almost identical, save for certain exceptional circumstances. A Weatherford solicitation lawyer could help if you are facing allegations of solicitation in a Texas criminal court. After hearing your side of the story, our dedicated criminal defense attorneys could conduct an independent investigation of the incident, and to put a defense strategy into effect in court designed to protect your freedom and reputation.
Prostitution vs. Solicitation in Weatherford
The Texas Penal Code creates a unique naming structure for defendants accused of solicitation. There is no section of the penal code-named “solicitation of prostitution”—instead, prosecutors can use the language in the prostitution statute to charge defendants with the crime of purchasing sex for a fee. As a result, an incident of prostitution can result in both the seller and purchaser of sex facing charges of prostitution.
The concept of prostitution can be more complex than it at first appears. Of course, engaging in sexual intercourse in exchange for money is illegal. However, Texas Penal Code §43.02 specifically states that it is illegal to exchange anything of value for sex. This can include food, clothing, electronics, transportation, or even a place to stay.
Does Sexual Intercourse Need to Take Place for Someone to Be Charged?
Sexual intercourse does not need to take place. If the two parties merely come to the agreement to make the exchange, this is often enough for a prosecutor to secure a conviction. While it may be difficult for a prosecutor to prove that the two people intended to carry out the deal, this level of intent can often be enough when defendants are arrested after sting operations.
Finally, the sex act involved in the transaction does not need to be sexual intercourse. The law classifies any touching of the genitals with the intent to satisfy a sexual urge for a fee as an example of prostitution. Weatherford solicitation lawyers could help defendants better understand the Texas Penal Code as it applies to their cases.
How the Law Punishes Solicitation
The penalties for solicitation of prostitution mirror those for prostitution itself. A first offense is a Class B misdemeanor for which a conviction can result in a maximum jail term of 180 days and a $2,000 fine. A second or third conviction upgrades the charge to a Class A misdemeanor that may carry a $4,000 fine. All further convictions are state jail felonies with a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days in jail up to a maximum of two years.
However, even a first offense for solicitation can be a serious crime if the seller of the sex is under the age of 18. Texas Penal Code §43.02(3) states that when the seller of the sex is under the age of 18, all buyers commit a felony of the second degree. This applies regardless of the buyer’s knowledge of this fact or how old the seller held themselves out as being.
Felonies of the second degree carry a minimum prison sentence of two years and the maximum penalty may be as high as 20 years. In addition, a conviction here would require the defendant to register as a sex offender for a period of ten years. It is vitally important that defendants be prepared to present a powerful defense in court against such allegations, which means failing to hire a solicitation lawyer in Weatherford could be a critical mistake.
Contacting a Weatherford Solicitation Attorney
Allegations of solicitation in Weatherford can range in severity from simple misdemeanors to life-changing felonies. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction can result in anything from the payment of a fine to a mandatory prison sentence with a requirement to register as a sex offender. In any event, a conviction would create a criminal record that may prevent you from obtaining lucrative jobs or living in certain areas.
A Weatherford solicitation lawyer could be dedicated to preventing this from happening. They could meet with you to discuss realistic goals and evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case, and following that work to present evidence to juries that creates reasonable doubt.
The penalties for a solicitation charge can forever change an individual’s life—give yourself every available advantage. Contact a Weatherford solicitation lawyer immediately.