Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution: Texas Penal Code §43.04

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you ran (or help ran) a prostitution enterprise that involved two or more prostitutes.

The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 43.04. The law was not amended in 2023. However, the law was most recently amended in 2019 when it increased the penalties for the offense.

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The Penal Code now contains four entirely separate “promotion of prostitution” offenses. In addition to this Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution law, we now have Promotion of Prostitution, Online Promotion of Prostitution, and Aggravated Online Promotion of Prostitution.

The Penal Code classifies the Texas Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution law under Title 9 “Offenses Against Public Order and Decency,” Chapter 43 “Public Indecency.” These “public indecency” crimes are sex crimes, but they are not of a violent or assaultive nature. Learn more about the Texas offense of Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution below.

What is the current Texas law about Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution?

Texas law currently defines the offense of Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution in Penal Code Section §43.04 as follows:[1]

(a) 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.

Do you have to register as a sex offender if you’re convicted of Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution?

As of 2019, this offense requires sex offender registration upon conviction or acceptance of a deferred adjudication pleas.[2] The legislature also also increased the penalties for the Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution offense in the same year.[3] Learn more about the new penalty scheme above.

How can I be charged with an Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 43.04(a) as described in the section above have been met, including (1) “owning, investing in, financing, controlling supervising or managing” (2) a “prostitution enterprise” (3) that uses two or more prostitutes.

What is the statute of limitation for Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution in Texas?

Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution offenses have a three-year limitations period.[4]

What is the penalty for a Texas Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution offense?

The penalty level for this offense increased mulitple classification tiers between 2017-2019. Currently, and for all offenses occurring on or after September 1, 2019, violations of the Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution law are punished as a first degree felony.[5]

Prior to September 1, 2017, a conviction for Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution was punished as a felony of the third degree,[6] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 10 years.

In 2017, the legislature increased the penalty level to a second degree felony.[7] Under the 2017 law, Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution can be enhanced to a felony of the first degree if the prostitution enterprise used a prostitute that was under the age of 18.[8]

Can you get probation for Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution in Texas?

The law prohibits judges from granting deferred adjudication if you have a prior deferred adjudication under Penal Code sections 21.11, 22.011, 22.021, 43.04, or 43.05 or a felony described by Article 42A.453(b).[9]

Additionally, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits juries from recommending probation for people convicted of this offense.[10] The Code also prohibits judges from placing people convicted of this offense on probation unless the judge makes a finding that the defendant committed the offense solely as a victim of an offense under Section 20A.02, 20A.03, 43.03, 43.04, or 43.05, Penal Code.[11]

Do I have to register as a sex offender in Texas if guilty of Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution?

Any Texas Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution conviction or adjudication, including deferred adjudication, requires registration as a sex offender.[12]

What level of crime is Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution in Texas?

The Texas Penal Code currently classifies the Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution offense as a first degree felony.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.


^1. Texas Penal Code §43.04. This law is current as of 2024.^2. Senate Bill 1802, 86th Legislature (RS), Section 1^3. Senate Bill 1802, 86th Legislature (RS), Section 4^4. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9). Also see Code of Criminal Procedure 12.03(d)^5. Texas Penal Code §43.04(b), as amended by SB 1802, 86th Texas Legislature, Section 4, effective for offenses occurring on or after September 1, 2019^6. Texas Penal Code §43.04(b), HB 29, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 39

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the second third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the first degree if the prostitution enterprise uses as a prostitute one or more persons younger than 18 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person at the time of the actor commits the offense.

^7. Texas Penal Code §43.04(b), HB 29, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 39^8. Texas Penal Code §43.04(b), HB 29, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 39^9. Art. 42A.102(b)(2)(A), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.^10. Art. 42A.056(6), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^11. Art. 42A.054(a)(13), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and Art. 42A.054(e), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^12 Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 62.001(5)(B)

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