Texas Penal Code 43.031 – Online Promotion of Prostitution
WHAT IS ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
The Texas law against online promotion of prostitution prohibits posting classified ads for sexual services in exchange for a fee. In response to websites such as Backpage and Craigslist’s “adult services” section, the Texas Legislature enacted laws against online promotion of prostitution.
WHAT IS THE ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 43.031. ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service or information content provider, or operates as an information content provider, with the intent to promote the prostitution of another person or facilitate another person to engage in prostitution or solicitation of prostitution.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the second degree if the actor:
(1) has been previously convicted of an offense under this section or Section 43.041; or
(2) engages in conduct described by Subsection (a) 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 offense.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
Online promotion of prostitution is a third degree felony, punishable by two to ten years in prison. It becomes a second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison, if: (1) the accused has a prior conviction for online promotion of prostitution or aggravated online promotion of prostitution; or (2) the prostitute promoted is younger than 18 years old.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for online promotion of prostitution charged as a third degree felony is two to ten years in prison, and a maximum fine of $10,000. If charged as a second degree felony, it carries between two and 20 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
A person charged with online promotion of prostitution may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction, for a period not to exceed ten years.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
The statute does not authorize specific defenses to online promotion of prostitution. A person accused thereof may attempt to negate one of the elements the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
- What if the accused did not know the prostitute was a minor? Even if the accused does not know a prostitute is under 18, the online promotion of prostitution statute specifically precludes a person from arguing he or she lacked knowledge of the child’s age. Advertising prostitution services for a person under 18 is a second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for online promotion of prostitution is three years.
ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS
In the effort to combat human sex trafficking, Texas lawmakers created specific prohibitions against online advertising of erotic services in 2019. Prior to enactment of these statutes, prostitution ads were punishable as promotion of prostitution or aggravated promotion of prostitution.
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DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+
Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.
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