In a 10-day sting, Houston and Harris County law officers arrested more than 200 persons during prostitution busts for Houston’s Super Bowl LI activities. But not everyone arrested can be or should be subjected to heavy fines or jail time.
Houston sex crimes lawyer Neal Davis can help persons accused of engaging in prostitution.
Texas Prostitution Laws
Texas laws hold that prostitution is a crime in which sex is exchanged for money, or money is paid for sex, even if such offers do not lead to actual sexual activities. Prostitution in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor, but rises to a Class A misdemeanor for persons with one or two prior convictions, and a state jail felony for persons with three or more convictions.
What are Texas prostitution fines and penalties?
A person arrested for prostitution for the first time can face a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Additional prostitution offenses can mean longer jail time, larger fines and reclassifying the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Prostitution Stings in Houston, Harris County
Following prostitution stings, a total of 249 persons were arrested on prostitution charges across Houston and Harris County. Of those arrests, 21 were directly related to Super Bowl LI activities. The majority of suspects were customers and prostitutes, Houston police said.
In North Harris County, 32 persons were arrested on misdemeanor prostitution charges, reported the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s office.
Houston media said suspects in the sex sting operations ranged widely in age and background and included two women. Those arrested reportedly included a retired police sergeant and members of the Houston Fire Department and Houston Independent School District.
Several persons had pre-existing warrants for misdemeanors or felonies, and some were held on bail ranging from $1,500 to $5,000. However, most suspects were held on bonds of $500.
Undercover sex sting operations were conducted near daycares and schools as well as in business and residential areas.
Legal Defenses for Prostitution Charges
Depending on the circumstances of prostitution sting arrests, suspects may have a legal defense based on “entrapment.” When evidence for an arrest is gathered during an undercover police operation, it is illegal for officers to gather such evidence by urging or encouraging a person to commit a crime.
Another possible defense against a Texas prostitution charge is to establish that no money changed hands for a solicited or performed sex act. If no money changed hands, a sex act could be merely a matter of consenting adults arranging or engaging in a sex act.
It’s also possible that the suspect did not have an intent to truly engage in sexual activity, or that the alleged agreement to do so for a price was unclear.
Houston criminal defense attorney Neal Davis is experienced in handling sex crime cases and helping individuals escape the wide nets sometimes cast by overzealous law officers to snare sex crime suspects.
Contact the Davis Law Firm today for a free legal review of your case. With Neal Davis’ help, you may be able to get your prostitution charge reduced or dismissed.
Further reading: What to Look for in a Sex Crimes Lawyer