San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney: Police Stings for Solicitation of Prostitution
Prostitution is a crime in Texas, and solicitation of prostitution is the charge that can be filed against someone who attempts to pay or agrees to pay for sexual services. Those who are charged with solicitation of prostitution face significant legal consequences that can impact their lives for years to come.
Solicitation of prostitution is defined under Texas law as the act of intentionally or knowingly offering to pay, agreeing to pay, or paying another person to engage in sexual conduct. This includes both the person who offers payment for sexual activity and the person who offers the sexual services. It is not necessary for the actual sexual activity to occur for someone to be charged with solicitation of prostitution. The penalties for solicitation of prostitution can include jail time, fines, community service, and probation.
Definition of Solicitation of Prostitution in San Antonio, Texas
Sec. 43.021. SOLICITATION OF PROSTITUTION. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another.
Conduct that may constitute solicitation of prostitution includes:
Offering or agreeing to pay for sexual activity with another person
Arranging a meeting with a person for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity for payment
Responding to an advertisement for sexual services
Paying for a massage with the understanding that sexual activity will be provided
San Antonio Prostitution Stings
Police conduct prostitution stings to catch individuals who are attempting to engage in illegal sexual activity for money. The following are two typical scenarios where police conduct prostitution stings:
Street prostitution sting: In this scenario, police officers will pose as prostitutes on a street corner or in a known prostitution area. The officers will wait for someone to approach them and offer payment for sexual activity. Once the person agrees to pay for sex, they will be arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution. Often, the police will use undercover vehicles to follow the person to a nearby location where they intend to engage in sexual activity, and additional officers will arrest them at that location.
Online prostitution sting: In this scenario, police officers will pose as escorts or prostitutes on websites or social media platforms that are known to be used for arranging sexual services. The officers will create a profile and wait for someone to contact them to arrange a meeting for sex in exchange for money. Once a meeting is arranged, the person will be arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution. The police may also monitor online chat rooms or forums known to be used by individuals seeking or providing sexual services and initiate contact with those individuals to set up a meeting for payment.
In both scenarios, the police will typically work in conjunction with prosecutors to build a case against the individuals they have arrested, often using surveillance footage or recordings of the interactions as evidence in court. It is important to note that in some cases, the tactics used by police in prostitution stings can be controversial, and there have been instances where innocent individuals have been caught up in these operations. As such, it is crucial to consult with a criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges related to solicitation of prostitution.
Punishment for Solicitation of Prostitution in San Antonio, Texas
Under Texas Penal Code § 43.021, solicitation of prostitution is a State Jail Felony, which can carry the following penalties:
Up 2 years in State Jail;
A fine of up to $10,000;
Possible probation for up to 10 years.
If the person solicited for prostitution is under the age of 18, said they were under 18, or the accused believed they were under 18, the offense is classified as a second-degree felony offense, and the penalties are significantly more severe. Additionally, if the individual accused of solicitation has a prior criminal record, the penalties can be enhanced to a third-degree felony, resulting in more significant jail time.
In addition to the criminal penalties, there are several potential collateral consequences associated with a solicitation of prostitution conviction in Texas. These can include:
Employment consequences: A criminal record can make it difficult to secure employment, particularly in fields that require background checks. Additionally, certain professions may be off-limits to individuals with a criminal record.
Educational consequences: A criminal record can make it difficult to obtain student loans or grants, and can even result in the loss of a scholarship or academic program.
Housing consequences: A criminal record can make it difficult to secure housing, as landlords may be hesitant to rent to individuals with a criminal history.
Immigration consequences: Non-U.S. citizens who are convicted of solicitation of prostitution may face deportation, denial of admission to the U.S., or other immigration consequences.
Professional consequences: Attorneys, doctors, and other professionals who are convicted of solicitation of prostitution may face disciplinary action by their licensing board, which can include the loss of their license to practice.
Personal consequences: A criminal record can have a significant impact on a person's personal life, including damage to their reputation, loss of custody or visitation rights, and strained relationships with family and friends.
Possible Defenses to Solicitation of Prostitution in San Antonio, Texas
There are several defenses that a criminal defense attorney may use to fight charges of solicitation of prostitution. The following are some of the most common defenses:
Entrapment: This defense argues that law enforcement officers induced or coerced the accused to commit the offense they are being charged with. In other words, the accused would not have committed the offense if it were not for the police officer's actions. If the court finds that the accused was indeed entrapped, the charges may be dropped.
Lack of intent: This defense argues that the accused did not intend to solicit prostitution, but was instead engaged in innocent behavior. For example, the accused may have mistakenly believed that they were engaging in a legal sexual encounter or may have been engaging in flirtatious behavior that was misconstrued as solicitation.
Mistaken identity: This defense argues that the accused was not the person who solicited prostitution. For example, the accused may have been mistaken for someone else, or the person who solicited prostitution may have been using the accused's identity.
Lack of evidence: This defense argues that the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove that the accused committed the offense. For example, the prosecution may not have a recording of the conversation or may not be able to prove that money was exchanged for sexual services.
Constitutional violations: This defense argues that the accused's constitutional rights were violated during the investigation or arrest. For example, the accused may argue that they were subject to an illegal search or seizure, or that they were not read their Miranda rights.
Seeking Legal Representation for Solicitation in San Antonio
Solicitation of prostitution is a serious offense that can result in severe legal consequences and significant collateral consequences. It is crucial for anyone facing charges related to solicitation of prostitution to seek the guidance and representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
At Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC, we understand the impact that a criminal conviction can have on your personal and professional life. With over 12 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and a former chief prosecutor, I am uniquely equipped to provide you with the skilled and effective defense representation you need.
We will work tirelessly to investigate the circumstances of your case, identify any weaknesses in the prosecution's case, and develop a strong and effective defense strategy tailored to your specific needs.
Our commitment to providing top-notch legal representation extends beyond the courtroom. We understand that facing criminal charges can be a difficult and stressful experience, and we are here to support you every step of the way. We will take the time to answer your questions, explain the legal process, and ensure that you are informed and empowered throughout your case.
If you are facing charges related to solicitation of prostitution or any other criminal offense, don't wait to seek legal help. Contact Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC today at 210-439-5627 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you protect your rights and your future.