Prostitution & Solicitation
The crime of solicitation of prostitution is strongly enforced in the Houston area. While most people tend to believe the crime occurs when someone engages in sexual activity in exchange for money, the crime is actually committed at the time an agreement to exchange money for sex takes place. Actual sex acts do not have to occur.
Solicitation only applies to people looking to pay a fee to engage in sexual conduct. Prostitution is charged separately, and applies to the person willing to engage in sexual conduct after accepting the fee. Texas law distinguishes between the parties involved.
Both prostitution and solicitation are Class B misdemeanors, with three exceptions:
- If the defendant has been convicted for prostitution 1-2 times before, it will be a Class A misdemeanor.
- If the defendant has previously been convicted 3-4 times for prostitution, it will be a state jail felony.
- If the defendant solicited an individual for prostitution who was younger than 18 or who they believed to be under 18, prostitution can be charged as a felony of the second degree.
In Texas, public lewdness is the offense of knowingly engaging in sexual acts in a public place. This includes most forms of sexual contact (including bestiality) conducted in public view. While public lewdness is not a reportable conviction or adjudication requiring anyone convicted to register as a sex offender, a conviction may prohibit you from legally obtaining a license to carry firearms for up to five years.
Prosecutors have two ways to prove guilt in a public lewdness case. They can prove the sex act was done in public or that you acted recklessly with regard to someone else who was offended by your sexual actions.
In Texas, public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by:
- A $4,000 fine
- Up to one year in jail
- Both the fine and jail time
Under the Texas Penal Code Section, one commits an indecent exposure offense when he or she exposes their anus or part of their genitals with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of themselves or any other person. In addition, the offense is also committed if one is reckless about whether another person who will be alarmed or offended by the exposure, meaning the offender knew or should have known his or her actions could offend or alarm someone else in the vicinity but chose to move forward anyway.
It is important to note the statute does not specifically require you to have been in a public place when the offense occurred – though many situations do involve exposure in public. It also does not state a specific length of time for the exposure of any part of the genitals.
The penalties for indecent exposure in Texas can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the offender’s prior criminal history, mental state, and the degree of indecent exposure offense. The penalties for indecent exposure in Texas are:
- An individual charged with an indecent exposure offense faces a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine not more than $2,000.
- An individual charged with a second or subsequent indecent exposure offense faces a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up one year in jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine.
Prostitution, Solicitation, Public Lewdness, and Indecent Exposure Defense Lawyer
Indecent exposure is considered a sex crime, and like any sex crime, a conviction for indecent exposure can haunt you for the rest of your life. If you are accused of prostitution, solicitation, public lewdness, and/or indecent exposure, you may be worried about having an indecency crime on your permanent criminal record. A Houston criminal defense lawyer understands how to present your side of the story in a positive way to prove your actions did not constitute a crime. Contact us today for more information.