Solicitation of Prostitution: Texas Penal Code §43.021

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas Solicitation of Prostitution law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you offered or agreed to pay a fee for a sexual favor.

This is essentially the “John” version of the Prostitution offense in Texas, in that this law prohibits agreements to pay and offers to pay. Prostitution, on the other hand, prohibits offers to receive and agreements to receive.

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Notably, neither Prostitution and Promotion of Prostitution prohibit the sexual conduct itself, but rather the agreement or the offer. In other words, the offense is complete the moment an ask has been made or an agreement has been reached.

The legislature enacted this law in the 87th Texas Legislature, effective as of September 1, 2021. The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 43.021. Since it was enacted, there have been several updates to the penalty provisions that enhance the base penalty for the offense, including amendments effective in 2023.

The Penal Code classifies the Texas Solicitation 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 Solicitation of Prostitution below.

What is the current Texas law about Solicitation of Prostitution?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Solicitation of Prostitution in Penal Code Section §43.021 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another.

This law was passed by the 87th Texas Legislature, and went into effect September 1, 2021.[2] What is sexual conduct?

What is sexual conduct under this law?

The legislature left the definition of sexual conduct open ended, but it “includes deviate sexual intercourse, sexual contact, and sexual intercourse.”[3]

How can I be charged with a Solicitation of Prostitution offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Solicitation Of Prostitution in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that you had an agreement, in any fashion, or even just offered to pay someone to engage in sexual conduct.

What is the statute of limitation for Solicitation of Prostitution in Texas?

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

What is the penalty for a Texas Solicitation of Prostitution offense?

Solicitation Of Prostitution in Texas is punished as a state jail felony,[5] unless you have been previously convicted of a “john” type prostitution offense before, in which case it is punished as a third degree felony,[6] or if the offense involved someone under 18 years old or someone pretending to be under 18 years old or someone who was over 18 years old and you just thought they were under 18 years old, in which case it’s a second degree felony.[7]

What changed in 2023?

As of 2023, the state can seek an enhancement to the next higher grade of offense if the state can prove that the offense took place near a school, school event, or University Interscholastic League event.[8]

Can you get probation for Solicitation of Prostitution in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Solicitation of Prostitution, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[9]

Note, however, that no matter the offense, neither judges nor juries may recommend community supervision for any suspended sentence of over 10 years.[10] Also, judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.[11]

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

Any Texas Solicitation of Prostitution conviction or adjudication, including deferred adjudication, if the offense is punishable as a felony of the second degree, requires registration as a sex offender.[12]

What level of crime is Solicitation of Prostitution in Texas?

The classification for a Solicitation of Prostitution offense ranges from a state jail felony to a first degree felony, depending on the circumstances.

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

^1. Texas Penal Code §43.021. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. HB 1540, 87th Texas Legislature, Section 29^3. Texas Penal Code §43.01(4)^4. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9)^5. Texas Penal Code §43.021(b)^6. Texas Penal Code §43.021(b)(1)^7. Texas Penal Code §43.021(b)(2)^8. Texas Penal Code §43.021(b-1), as enacted by HB 4595, 88th Legislature (RS), Section 17.003^9. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^10. Art. 42A.053(c), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^11. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^12 Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 62.001(5)(B-1)

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