Texas Penal Code 43.041 – Aggravated Online Promotion of Prostitution
WHAT IS AGGRAVATED ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
A person who owns or operates a website for posting prostitution ads, sometimes referred to as “erotic services” or “adult services,” may be charged with aggravated online promotion of prostitution if the site advertises five or more prostitutes.
WHAT IS THE AGGRAVATED ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 43.041. AGGRAVATED 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 five or more persons or facilitate five or more persons to engage in prostitution or solicitation of prostitution.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, except that the offense is a felony of the first degree if the actor:
(1) has been previously convicted of an offense under this section; or
(2) engages in conduct described by Subsection (a) involving two or more persons younger than 18 years of age engaging in prostitution, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the persons at the time of the offense.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR AGGRAVATED ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
Aggravated online promotion of prostitution is a second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison. It becomes a first degree felony, punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison, if: (1) the accused has a prior conviction for online promotion of prostitution or aggravated online promotion of prostitution; or (2) two or more of the prostitutes promoted are younger than 18 years old.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR AGGRAVATED ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for aggravated online promotion of prostitution charged as a second degree felony is two to 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $10,000. If the charge is enhanced to a first degree felony, the highest possible fine remains $10,000, but the punishment range becomes five to 99 years or life in prison.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR AGGRAVATED ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
Although the law forecloses probation for a person convicted of aggravated promotion of prostitution, it allows a judge or jury to grant probation to a person convicted of aggravated online promotion of prostitution. A person charged with aggravated online promotion of prostitution may also avoid a conviction by pleading guilty or nolo contendere (“no contest”) to a judge in exchange for a grant of deferred adjudication. The maximum period of either type of community supervision is ten years.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO AGGRAVATED ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
There are no statutory defenses to aggravated online promotion of prostitution, so an accused may attempt to negate one of the elements the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
- What if the accused did not know the prostitutes were under 18? Even if the accused does not know prostitutes are under 18, the aggravated online promotion of prostitution statute specifically precludes a defendant from arguing he or she lacked knowledge of their ages. Advertising prostitution services for persons under 18 is a first degree felony, punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR AGGRAVATED ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for aggravated online promotion of prostitution is three years.
AGGRAVATED ONLINE PROMOTION OF PROSTITUTION IN TEXAS
As part of the efforts 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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