Prostitution is a misdemeanor in Fort Worth, a conviction for which could lead to fines and even jail time. If a person receives multiple convictions, the penalties for prostitution can become severe. There are, however, some defenses to this crime.
If you are charged with prostitution, a Fort Worth prostitution lawyer could help minimize the consequences of such a charge, perhaps preventing the court from administering a jail sentence. Furthermore, a skilled attorney may be able to raise a statutory defense depending on the circumstances, which may help their client achieve a more positive outcome to their case.
Texas Penal Code §43.02 enumerates two ways in which a person can commit the Class B misdemeanor crime of prostitution. The first is if a person offers, agrees to engage in, or engages in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee, and the second is it can be proven someone committed the previous actions based on a receipt of payment already made. The key distinction between the two forms of prostitution is that in the first instance, a person can commit the crime of prostitution without actually receiving or being offered any money.
As a Class B misdemeanor, a conviction on prostitution charges could lead to a maximum fine of $2,000 and a maximum jail term of 180 days. There is no minimum penalty for this crime, but a prostitution attorney in Fort Worth could potentially help minimize any consequences for a first-time prostitution conviction.
The potential punishments for prostitution increase with each subsequent conviction. A second conviction is elevated to the status of a Class A misdemeanor and accordingly carries a maximum fine of $4,000 and jail term of up to one year. A third conviction is also a Class A misdemeanor.
A fourth prostitution conviction, however, is a state jail felony in Fort Worth. A state jail felony is punishable by up to two years of imprisonment in a state jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
There are two statutory affirmative defenses to the crime of prostitution. An affirmative defense is one in which a defendant does not deny committing the illegal act, but nevertheless argues that they should be found not guilty due to some mitigating factor.
The first mitigating factor which would exonerate a defendant facing a prostitution charge is if the defendant is a victim of human trafficking. The second affirmative defense to prostitution is coercion—that is, the defendant was coerced by force, threat of force, or induced by fraud to commit an act of prostitution. If either of these circumstances apply to a defendant’s case, their Fort Worth prostitution lawyer could use them as grounds to argue for a dismissal of charges.
A charge for prostitution is a serious matter. A conviction could remain on your criminal record permanently, not to mention jail time and fines could greatly disrupt your day-to-day life in the meantime. If you are facing prostitution charges, consider retaining a Fort Worth prostitution lawyer who could stand up for your rights and represent your best interests. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.