Our criminal defense law firm won an acquittal today in a Prostitution case. The jury was out 25 minutes before returning with a verdict of not guilty. Our client was a former employee of the Green Haven Spa in Houston. She was accused of offering sex to an undercover police officer in exchange for a fee.
In Texas, Prostitution is usually a Class “B” misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,000.00, up to six (6) months in the county jail, or both a fine and jail time. Promotion of Prostitution is a Class “A” misdemeanor and Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution is a third degree. Compelling Prostitution – which is essentially compelling a person by force or threat of force to commit prostitution, or causing by any means a person younger than 17 to commit prostitution – is a second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000.00.
In my experience these cases are very defensible. This is true whether the accused is a woman who allegedly works in an escort service, a massage parlor or as a “street walker.” Prostitution cases are also very defensible if the accused is a man who allegedly propositions an undercover female officer for sex in exchange for a fee. Many of these cases involve undercover audio tapes or surveillance video tapes. The tapes are usually of poor quality and can be challenged in court. When the police intentionally choose not to make an audio tape or video tape of the alleged transactions, jurors are often skeptical about whether the prosecution can prove its case.
Given that many prospective jurors express their opinion that prostitution should be made legal, some argue that the time has come for Texas and other states to begin considering the legalization of prostitution. So far, Nevada and Rhode Island are the only two states that have some type of legalized prostitution.