Continuous Trafficking of Persons: Texas Penal Code §20A.03

Texas Criminal Law

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In order to prove a violation of the Texas Continuous Trafficking of Persons law, the state must prove that you engaged in human trafficking two or more times within a 30 day duration.

The statute defining this offense, Penal Code Section 20A.03, requires the state to prove that the underlying offense of Trafficking of Persons occurred continuously, which the statute defines to mean two or more times in a 30-day window.

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The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 20A.03. The law was not updated in 2023. In fact, this law has not been amended since 2015.

The legislature has specified that all Continuous Trafficking of Persons convictions may stand on the uncorroborated testimony of a party to the offense.

The Penal Code classifies the Texas Continuous Trafficking of Persons law under Title 5 “Offenses Against The Person,” Chapter 20A “Trafficking Of Persons.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Continuous Trafficking of Persons below.

What is the current Texas law about Continuous Trafficking of Persons?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Continuous Trafficking of Persons in Penal Code Section §20A.03 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if, during a period that is 30 or more days in duration, the person engages two or more times in conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 20A.02 against one or more victims.

Section 20A.02 refers to the Trafficking of Persons offense.

How can I be charged with a Continuous Trafficking of Persons offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Continuous Trafficking of Persons if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 20A.03(a) as described in the section above have been met.

Continuous Trafficking of Persons convictions require only the uncorroborated testimony of a single party to the offense.[2]

What is the statute of limitation for Continuous Trafficking of Persons in Texas?

This offense has no limitations period under Texas law.[3]

What is the penalty for a Texas Continuous Trafficking of Persons offense?

A conviction for Continuous Trafficking of Persons in Texas is punished as a Felony of the First Degree with a minimum term of confinement of 25 years in prison[4] and a maximum possible sentence of life in prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors here.

Can you get probation for Continuous Trafficking of Persons in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits judges from granting deferred adjudication probation in Continuous Trafficking of Persons cases.[5]

The Code also prohibits both juries and judges from recommending probation for people convicted of this offense.[6]

Do I have to register as a sex offender in Texas if guilty of Continuous Trafficking of Persons?

Effective September 1, 2017, Continuous Trafficking of Persons was added to the list of offenses that require you to register as a sex offender, but only under certain circumstances – those are the ones based on violations of subsections (a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) of the Trafficking of Persons statute.[7]

What level of crime is Continuous Trafficking of Persons in Texas?

The Penal Code classifies the punishment for Continuous Trafficking of Persons as either a first degree felony, with a minimum 25 year prison sentence.

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


^1. Texas Penal Code §20A.03. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. Texas Penal Code §20A.04(c)^3. Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(1)(H)^4. Texas Penal Code §20A.03(e)^5. Art. 42A.102(b)(1)(A), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.^6. Art. 42A.056(6) and Art. 42A.054(a)(6), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^7. Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 62.001(5)(L), created by H.B. 29, 85th Legislature, Section 15, effective September 1, 2017

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