Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Texas

Texas has laws against buying, selling, or profiting from the sale of sex. For more information on prostitution laws generally, see Prostitution.

Prostitution and Patronizing

Prostitution (exchanging sex for money or other items of value) and patronizing (paying someone for sex) are both illegal in Texas. This is true even if you are caught merely offering to buy or sell sex. These activities are Class B misdemeanors.

The offense increases to a Class A misdemeanor if you have previously been convicted one or two times. And it is a state jail felony if you have been convicted three or more times.

Furthermore, it is a third degree felony to solicit someone who is at least 14 but younger than 18 years old. And it is a second degree felony if they are younger than 14.

(Texas Stats. & Code Ann. § 43.02.)

Pimping and Promoting

It is illegal to pimp (make money from a prostitute’s earnings) or promote (facilitate) prostitution in Texas. People may be charged with “aggravated promotion” – a more serious crime-- if they knowingly own, invest in, finance, control, supervise, or manage a prostitution enterprise that uses two or more prostitutes.

(Texas Stats. & Code Ann. § 43.03 & 43.04.)

Even more serious is the offense of “compelling prostitution”, which includes:

  • causing another to commit prostitution by force, threat, or fraud, or
  • causing a child younger than 18 years to commit prostitution by any means, regardless of whether you know the age of the child at the time you commit the offense.

(Texas Stats. & Code Ann. § 43.05.)

Punishment

The fines and jail (or prison) time that apply to your conviction depend on the offense.

Prostitution and patronizing

Prostitution and patronizing are class B misdemeanors. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both.

It is a Class A misdemeanor if you have been convicted for the same type of offense on one or two previous occasions. Penalties include a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.

It is a state jail felony if you have been convicted three or more times. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least 180 days in jail (and up to two years in prison), or both.

It is a third degree felony if the person solicited is at least 14 but younger than 18 years old. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least two (and up to ten) years in prison, or both.

It is a second degree felony if the person solicited is younger than 14. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least two (and up to 20) years in prison, or both.

Pimping and promoting

Penalties for pimping or promoting prostitution (a Class A misdemeanor) include a fine of up to to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.

Aggravated promotion is a third degree felony, and penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least two (and up to ten) years in prison, or both.

Compelling prostitution of a person older than 18 is a second degree felony, punished with a fine of up to $10,000, at least two (and up to 20) years in prison, or both. Compelling someone younger than 18 into prostitution is a first degree felony, whose penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least five years (and up to life) in prison, or both.

Getting Legal Advice and Counsel

If you are charged with prostitution or a related crime, you should contact a Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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