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Promotion of Prostitution Law Image

Promotion of Prostitution

Promotion of Prostitution is a “Pimping”-type offense in Texas. If you have been charged with Promotion of Prostitution, you may have been caught in a “sting” operation. Law enforcement agencies frequently conduct sting operations in an attempt to make arrests for Promotion of Prostitution.

In addition to the “Promotion” charge, you could possibly be charged with “simple” Prostitution, Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution or, if the state attorneys think they can show the use of force or that a prostitute was underage, the state may charge you with Compelling Prostitution.

Have you been charged with Promotion of Prostitution? Call criminal lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.

As described more in detail below, Promotion of Prostitution can apply to people who “solicit” sex (“soliciting” basically means asking someone if they are interested in a prostitute or selling sex) and to people who act as pimps.

What is the Promotion of Prostitution offense in Texas?

Promotion of Prostitution is defined in Section 43.03(a) of the Texas Penal Code:

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

(1) receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement to participate in the proceeds of prostitution; or

(2) solicits another to engage in sexual conduct with another person for compensation.

Section 43.03(a)(1) says that a person can be convicted for Promotion of Prostitution if the state attorneys can prove there was an agreement, and that the agreement was for a person to earn money through prostitution. Section 43.03(a)(2) says that a person can be convicted of Promotion of Prostitution if the state attorneys can prove solicitation. While solicitation is not defined in the statute, it basically means that a person try to sell or ask for sex in exchange for money. The important exception to both (1) and (2) is that the prostitute cannot be convicted for Promotion of Prostitution if he or she was personally engaged in the prostitution services.

How can I be charged with Promotion of Prostitution if…?

You can be charged with Promotion of Prostitution if the state attorneys think you have responsibility for someone else’s engagement in prostitution. The state attorneys have to prove that you either solicited or had some kind of agreement to share the proceeds of prostitution. You do not need to be guilty to be charged. All the state attorneys need is “probable cause” to charge you with the crime. Probable cause is a low standard of proof that frequently relies on little evidence or just the word of the arresting officer.

What is the penalty for a conviction for Promotion of Prostitution?

Section 43.03(b) describes the penalties for Promotion of Prostitution. Subsection (b) was amended slightly in 2017 with the passage of H.B. 1808, 85th Texas Legislature.1 H.B. 29, 85th Legislature, also amended the law effective September 1, 2017.2 The law in effect through September 1, 2017, is below, and we have the language that becomes effective (first in the H.B. 1808 version, followed up by the H.B. 29 version) on September 1, 2017, in brackets along with the language removed in strikethrough:

The H.B. 1808 version:

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is:

(1) a state jail felony if the actor has been previously convicted of an offense under this section; or

(2) a felony of the second degree if the actor engages in conduct described by Subsection (a)(1) or (2) involving a person younger than 18 years of age engaging in prostitution, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person at the time [of] the actor commits the offense.

The H.B. 29 version:

(b) An offense under this section is a [state jail felony] Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is:

(1) a [felony of the third degree] state jail felony if the actor has been previously convicted of an offense under this section; or

(2) a felony of the second degree if the actor engages in conduct described by Subsection (a)(1) or (2) involving a person younger than 18 years of age engaging in prostitution, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person at the time of the actor commits the offense.

Learn more about the Range of Punishment for misdemeanors and felonies in Texas

In addition, there is a separate offense called Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution in Section 43.04. Learn more about the Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution offense in Texas

How can I get a Promotion of Prostitution case dismissed?

In order to get a Promotion of Prostitution case dismissed, you should hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. As a criminal lawyer, I work on your behalf to conduct an investigation and examine the evidence to determine if the arrest was illegal or if there is insufficient evidence to support a conviction. In addition, there is a possibility that the state attorneys might agree to a dismissal under certain terms. If we are unable to get your case dismissed, then we may have to go to trial if you do not want the conviction on your record. If the state attorneys are not willing to dismiss the case, then the only way to keep the conviction off your record entirely is through a Not Guilty verdict.

What happens if I plead guilty to a Promotion of Prostitution charge?

If you plead guilty for Promotion of Prostitution, then you may be sentenced to jail, a fine, probation (aka community supervision) or a finding of guilt will be deferred through deferred adjudication. DO NOT plead guilty until you contact us.

If I am convicted for Promotion of Prostitution, do I have to register as a sex offender?

Promotion of Prostitution is not currently a “Reportable Conviction” under Texas sex offender laws, so you do not have to register as a sex offender simply because you are convicted for Promotion of Prostitution.

What is the difference between “Prostitution” and “Promotion of Prostitution”?

Promotion of Prostitution specifically exempts most “prostitutes” from prosecution under the Promotion of Prostitution. Only “Johns” or “pimps” can be prosecuted for Promotion of Prostitution. But if the prostitute was also acting as a type of “pimp” or had any kind of agreement to “take a cut” or share proceeds or helped solicit a “John” for another person, then the charge of Promotion of Prostitution could apply to the prostitute as well.

Prostitution is the offense that makes it illegal to pay or receive money for sexual conduct, while Promotion of Prostitution makes it illegal to 1) solicit prostitutes or johns and 2) “pimp,” in the sense of receiving money by setting up or prostitution activities.

Can I get probation for Promotion of Prostitution?

You will be eligible for probation if you are convicted of Promotion of Prostitution. Because Promotion of Prostitution is not a 3g offense, you are eligible for probation.


Legal References:

1Texas Penal Code Section 43.03(b), as amended by House Bill 1808, 85th Legislature, Section 9, effective September 1, 2017

2Texas Penal Code Section 43.03(b), as amended by House Bill 29, 85th Legislature, Section 38, effective September 1, 2017

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