A solicitation charge in Texas is a type of prostitution charge and can carry very stiff penalties. As a sex crime, Texas authorities will take this very seriously, and depending on the nature of your case, the charges could range anywhere from a misdemeanor all the way to a felony. With the risk of high fines and prison time, you must take these charges seriously and defend your case well. Police and other law enforcement often catch people in stings designed to catch and punish both the prostitute and the "john."
You deserve the best representation possible to avoid a solicitation conviction. The Law Office of E. Jason Leach is dedicated to defending the rights of the accused. If you need a strong criminal defense in the Odessa, Texas area, the Law Office of E. Jason Leach is ready to help.
Odessa, Texas Solicitation Lawyer
E. Jason Leach focuses exclusively on criminal defense law and has been doing so for over a decade. Since 2005, he has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of those accused of crimes. He is a Texas board-certified expert in criminal defense and believes that all clients are entitled to the most vigorous defense possible.
People accused of a crime have constitutional rights that deserve to be protected. A criminal conviction can place an incredibly heavy burden on your life, but you do not have to simply accept the charges against you. You can fight back and work to avoid the difficulties of a criminal conviction. With the right help at your side, you can move forward confident that your rights are protected.
Solicitation in Texas
Solicitation occurs when a person pays for or otherwise exchanges something of value in exchange for sexual favors or acts. It is the sale of sexual intercourse between one individual and another person. A person participates in an act of prostitution so long as they knowingly engage in a sexual act or offer to engage in that kind of activity for a monetary sum or other compensation.
Unlike what many people mistakenly think, a person does not actually have to complete any act of sexual activity in order to be arrested for the crime of solicitation. In fact, an attempt to do so by exchanging money for the act is all that is required for the act to be completed.
Enforcement of the Law
In Texas, one of the most common ways law enforcement enforce this law is by engaging in sting operations that are meant to catch people in the act of prostitution. In most of these types of scenarios, an undercover officer or another actor will pose as a prostitute in order to catch a person who wishes to pay for sex. As soon as that person attempts to carry out the paid-for sex act, officers rush in and arrest the person involved.
When done according to strict procedural rules, this method of trapping people is legal and permitted. Unlike what many think, it is not entrapment, which refers to other types of situations where officer persuade a person to commit a crime they otherwise would not normally do. While there are defenses to a Solicitation charge in Texas, the entrapment defense is not typically that helpful.
Penalties for Solicitation in Texas
The level of penalty associated with a solicitation charge in Texas depends on the number of prior convictions for the offense. As a person is convicted of more offenses, the higher the penalties become, even reaching the level of a felony.
A first conviction for solicitation is a Class B misdemeanor and carries the following potential penalties:
- up to 180 days in jail
- a maximum possible fine of up to $2,000
A second conviction for solicitation is a Class A misdemeanor and carries the following potential penalties:
- up to one year in jail
- a maximum possible fine of up to $4,000
If a person has been convicted of a third or subsequent solicitation offense, it is now a state jail felony and may result in penalties such as the following:
- 180 days to two years in state jail
- a maximum possible fine of up to $10,000
Solicitation of a Minor
If the person solicited for a sex act is under the age of 18, also called a minor, the penalty is now much more severe. The offense is now a second-degree felony in Texas and carries the following potential penalties:
- up to 20 years in state prison
- a maximum possible fine of up to $10,000
It is not a defense under this section that a person did not know the child was a minor. As a result, a person charged with solicitation of a minor must rely on other defenses to protect him or herself.
How to Defend Your Solicitation Charge in Texas
A Texas prosecutor is required to prove every element of the crime of solicitation beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted of the crime. The beyond a reasonable doubt standard is a high bar for prosecutors to meet, and in many cases they are unable to when presented with a strong legal defense. If you and your experienced attorney can challenge the evidence against you and show that the elements of the crime cannot be proven, your charges could be reduced, your case dismissed, or even get a not guilty verdict from a jury.
Defenses include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of knowledge that person was asking for money for sex
- No money or other consideration was exchanged
- The request for sex was not serious or was a joke
- The person was intoxicated and unable to form the knowledge necessary
- File a suppression motion to exclude unconstitutionally gathered evidence
Consult an Experienced Odessa Solicitation Lawyer
If you or someone you care about want is charged with solicitation charge in Odessa, TX or the surrounding areas, you need a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to fight for your constitutional rights.
You have the right to fight back against these charges. The Law Office of E. Jason Leach, PLLC is ready to help you defend your case. To set up a free consultation, contact the Law Office of E. Jason Leach today at (432) 552-7000.