Solicitation is considered a serious crime by Fort Worth law enforcement. A conviction for solicitation could result in jail time, and the penalties may increase with each conviction. Furthermore, any solicitation of a minor—even inadvertently—can result in incarceration. If you are charged with solicitation, a Fort Worth Solicitation lawyer may be able to help you understand the charges and potential penalties you are facing and stand up for your rights both in and out of court.
According to Texas Penal Code §43.02(b), a person engages in solicitation if, based on or in exchange for a fee, they solicit another person in a public place to engage in sexual conduct for hire. In Fort Worth, it is possible to be guilty of solicitation even if no payment is actually made. The mere offer of payment, accompanied by a solicitation for sexual conduct in exchange, is enough to be convicted under this statute.
Solicitation is a Class B misdemeanor in Fort Worth, punishable up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. With subsequent offenses, the potential penalties for solicitation increase.
For example, a second conviction is a Class A misdemeanor rather than Class B. As such, it could lead to up to one full year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. A third conviction is a Class B misdemeanor as well, but a fourth solicitation charge is a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
It is a felony in the second degree to commit the crime of solicitation if the person solicited is under the age of 18. It does not matter for the purposes of law whether the solicitor knew at the time they committed the act of solicitation that the person was a minor.
It is also not a valid defense for a defendant to claim that they did not know the person was a minor. A defendant can be found guilty of this crime if they falsely believed that the other person was under the age of 18, or if the person was falsely represented as being younger than 18 years old.
A second-degree felony carries a mandatory two-year minimum prison sentence and a maximum sentence of twenty years. It could also lead to fines not exceeding $10,000.
A charge for solicitation can be intimidating to face, as a conviction could have repercussions on both your work and your family life. On top of that, expensive fines and even jail time may come as a result. Given all the potential consequences, there is no reason to face a solicitation charge alone.
Hiring an attorney may put your mind slightly at ease, knowing that you are making the best decision to protect your rights and interests moving forward. If you are charged with solicitation in Fort Worth, contact a Fort Worth solicitation lawyer to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.