Texas Prostitution Laws

In Texas, it is a crime to commit prostitution. Under Texas law, a person commits the crime of prostitution if they knowingly engage in or offer to engage in sexual contact for a fee or if they solicit another person in a public place for sexual conduct. The offense is established by either soliciting or receiving a fee.

It is also a crime to promote prostitution (also called pimping or pandering). Promoting prostitution includes receiving money or other proceeds from an agreement to participate in the proceeds from prostitution. For example, if Bob were to agree with Larry to split the fee from Sally's act of prostitution, that constitutes the crime of promotion of prostitution. Promotion of prostitution also occurs when one person solicits another to engage in sexual contact with a third party. For example, if Bob talked to Larry and got him to engage in sexual contact with Sally for a fee, that amounts to the promotion of prostitution as well.

Compelling prostitution is a crime where the defendant knowingly causes a child under the age of 18 to commit prostitution, regardless of whether the defendant knew the age of the child or not. Additionally, the solicitation of prostitution -- such as inquiring about a sex worker's rate -- is charged as prostitution under Texas prostitution laws.

Texas Prostitution Laws at a Glance

Statute Texas Penal Code ยง 43.02 - 43.06
Statutory Definition of Prostitution

(a) A person commits an offense if, in return for receipt of a fee, the person knowingly:

  • Offers to engage, agrees to engage, or engages in sexual conduct; or
  • Solicits another in a public place to engage with the actor in a sexual conduct for hire.

(b) A person commits an offense if, based on the payment of a fee by the actor or another person on behalf of the actor, the person knowingly:

  • Offers to engage, agrees to engage, or engages in sexual conduct; or
  • Solicits another in a public place to engage with the actor in sexual conduct for hire.

An offense is established under Subsection (a) regardless of whether the actor is offered or actually receives the fee. An offense is established under Subsection (b) regardless of whether the actor or another person on behalf of the actor offers or actually pays the fee.

Statutory Definition of Pimping/Pandering/Managing a Prostitution Enterprise

A person commits an offense if, acting other than as a prostitute receiving compensation for personally rendered prostitution services, he or she knowingly:

  • Receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement to participate in the proceeds of prostitution; or
  • Solicits another to engage in sexual conduct with another person for compensation.

A person commits an offense if he knowingly owns, invests in, finances, controls, supervises, or manages a prostitution enterprise that uses two or more prostitutes.

Statutory Definition of Compelling Prostitution

A person commits an offense if the person knowingly causes by any means a child younger than 18 years to commit prostitution, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the child at the time.

Classification of the Crime
  • Class B misdemeanor for prostitution or solicitation (if no aggravating factors are present).
  • Class A misdemeanor if perpetrator has 1 or 2 previous convictions for prostitution or solicitation; for pimping (if no other aggravating factors are present).
  • State jail felony if perpetrator has 3 or more previous convictions for prostitution or solicitation; for repeat offense of pimping.
  • Third degree felony for owning, financing, controlling, or managing a prostitution enterprise with 2 or more prostitutes.
  • Second degree felony if the person solicited is younger than 18 (regardless of whether the perpetrator knew at the time); if the perpetrator believed the person solicited was younger than 18; for pimping the services of someone younger than 18; for compelling a child younger than 18 to commit prostitution.
  • First degree felony for owning, financing, controlling, or managing a prostitution enterprise with 2 or more prostitutes, where at least 1 is under 18; if an actor who compels a child under 18 to commit prostitution also may be charged with another offense in this section.
Sentences and Penalties
  • Class B misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail, fine of up to $2,000.
  • Class A misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail, fine of up to $4,000.
  • State jail felony: 6 months to 2 years in a state jail facility, find of up to $10,000.
  • Third degree felony: Up to 10 years in prison, fine of up to $10,000
  • Second degree felony: 2 to 20 years in prison, fine of up to $10,000.
  • First degree felony: 5 years to life in prison, fine of up to $10,000.
Defenses
  • Intoxication
  • Entrapment (i.e. by an undercover police officer)
  • Age
  • Duress (i.e. the defendant was under threats of bodily harm if they did not commit the sexual contact for a fee)
  • No money was received for the sexual contact
  • Lack of knowledge

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Texas criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources

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