How “Promoting” Prostitution Can Lead to Serious Felony Charges

May 28th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

Even when it involves two consenting parties, prostitution is still classified as a sex crime in Texas. Similarly, it is a crime to “promote” prostitution by acting as a middleman or forcing someone to engage in prostitution against their will. And when alleged promotion of prostitution involves minors, Texas prosecutors will make every effort to ensure a defendant receives the maximum sentence permitted by law.

Dallas Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for “Pimping” 14-Year-Old

That is precisely what happened in a recent case from Dallas, Carraway v. State. This case centered on a runaway 14-year-old girl from Fort Worth. The girl started working as a prostitute in Dallas. Prosecutors alleged the defendant acted as her “pimp.” The jury ultimately found the defendant guilty of “compelling prostitution of a person under the age of eighteen” and two other charges.

On appeal, the defendant challenged the idea that he “compelled” the girl to act as a prostitute. Under the relevant section of the Texas Penal Code, the prosecution needed to prove the defendant “knowingly caused” a child under the age of 18 to commit prostitution. But according to the defendant, the girl was already acting as a prostitute before they met, and “there was insufficient evidence to show she would not have committed prostitution but for his conduct.”

The appeals court said that did not matter. The prosecution did not need to prove the girl would have been a prostitute but-for the defendant’s actions. They only needed to show she would not have committed specific acts of prostitution but-for the defendant’s actions.

Here, the girl testified that she previously worked for another pimp. One day she decided to start working for the defendant instead, knowing that he was in fact a pimp. She further testified the defendant paid for a motel room for her to use and “facilitated the posting of advertisements” online to attract new customers. And finally, the girl had sex with those customers for money with the defendant’s full knowledge. All of this would allow a “reasonable jury” to find the defendant engaged in the promotion of prostitution, according to the appeals court.

Speak with a League City or Galveston Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Today

It is important to note that promotion of prostitution is normally a state jail felony in Texas. But in cases like the one above, where the defendant is found guilty of promoting the prostitution of a minor, the offense is bumped-up to a second-degree felony. This can mean some serious jail time–35 years in this particular case after the trial court took the defendant’s prior criminal record into account.

So as you can see, promoting prostitution is not a minor, slap-on-the-wrist offense. It is a serious felony charge. That is why you need to work with an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney who understands how to handle these types of cases. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates in today if you have been charged with any type of sex crime and need immediate advice and assistance. Call (281) 280-0100 .

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