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Solicitation of a Prostitute Now a State Felony Charge in Texas

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Midland Texas Criminal Defense LawyerA new law that went into effect last month in Texas significantly increases the charges that a person faces if they are arrested and charged with solicitation of a prostitute. That crime will now be charged as a state jail felony and the penalties for a conviction means a prison sentence and steep fines.

TX HB1540

For decades, the penalties for anyone arrested and convicted for prostitution were much more severe than for those charged with being a client. The person charged with prostitution was looked at as the criminal and could face jail time, while the client was usually only given a ticket, if anything at all.

However, over the past several years, law enforcement, lawmakers, and the public have come to realize that many people who engage in prostitution are not doing so willingly. Many are victims of human trafficking and have been forced into prostitution. According to one major study, there are approximately 313,000 victims of human trafficking at any given moment in the state of Texas.

And even many of those sex workers who are not victims of human trafficking engage in prostitution because of social exploitation and poverty. Society and the law have come to see both types of sex workers as victims.

This realization has also led society to view the clients of prostitutes with a much harsher eye, theorizing that clients of prostitutes are feeding the human trafficking industry, creating a “market” for exploited sex workers. While many states have begun to change their laws, Texas is now the first in the nation to make the crime of solicitation a state jail felony offense.

A person who is found guilty of a first conviction faces a minimum of 180 days up to a maximum of two years in state prison. They can also be fined up to $10,000. A second charge increases the charge to a third-degree felony. A second conviction means two to 10 years in state prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition, the law also increases the felony charges that traffickers who recruit minors from youth centers and treatment facilities will now face.

Contact a Travis County Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested and charged with solicitation of a prostitute, it is critical to understand that under the new law you are facing felony charges and a prison sentence if found guilty. Do not delay in contacting a skilled Austin, TX sex crimes lawyer right away to start building your defense. Call Morales Law Office, Attorneys at Law, PLLC. at 512-474-2222 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://legiscan.com/TX/text/HB1540/2021

https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/bitstream/handle/2152/44597/idvsa-2016-human-trafficking-by-the-numbers.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y

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