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What to Expect If You’re Involved in a Massage Parlor Arrest in Houston

Published: Apr 09, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

If you get swept up in a massage parlor arrest, you can expect to get charged with soliciting prostitution. This holds true even if you did not engage in any sexual activity. Under the solicitation laws of Texas, simply agreeing to exchange money for sex constitutes a criminal act.

There are harsh penalties for a prostitution or solicitation conviction. What can be even worse, however, are the collateral consequences being found guilty of these offenses. Such convictions can do serious damage to your career and reputation. The authorities pride themselves in shaming people who get arrested of soliciting prostitution – even before they are proven guilty in a court of law.

At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we are proud to defend people accused of sexual offenses, and we have a proven track record of success. If you’ve been arrested in a massage parlor sting, call us today at (713) 222-6767, or reach out via the online form for a free and confidential consultation with a Houston prostitution and solicitation lawyer.

The Police Publish Mugshots of Suspected Massage Parlor “Johns”

In 2017, the Houston Police arrested 139 individuals during a bogus brothel bust. “7 Star Spa,” a well-known brothel masquerading as a massage parlor, shut its doors in 2016. Sensing an opportunity, the police made a deal with the landlord and opened another parlor at the same location in 2017 called “8 Star Spa.” For ten days, the police arrested dozens of unsuspecting people who came to the massage parlor – the assumption being that they came for more than a simple massage.

As soon as money exchanged hands, the clients, often referred to as “johns” in prostitution cases, were immediately arrested and booked in jail. Once the operation was complete, the Houston Police Department held a press conference where they exposed the identities and photos of all the men they arrested. One of their fellow police officers was among the suspects, but they did not release his identity because regulations require that the details of police misconduct investigations be kept confidential.

Despite the fundamental legal principle of all suspects being innocent until proven guilty, the police effectively punished dozens of individuals before they could have a chance to defend themselves. “These 139 individuals are part of the reason the sex trade is alive here in Houston,” Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo told reporters at the press conference. “These men should be ashamed.”

Acevedo went to explain his belief that the public exposure given to these suspects would discourage other men from visiting brothels. But he ignored the fact that none of the people he shamed were at that time guilty of any crime. After having their day in court, many of these suspects could potentially be cleared of wrongdoing. We can debate the deterrence value and morality of shaming people who have been convicted of soliciting prostitutes, but doing so before the criminal justice process begins is simply unconscionable.

Penalties for Solicitation

The statutory penalties for a prostitution or solicitation conviction are harsh. When it’s your first offense, solicitation is class B misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to 180 days in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,000

A second conviction is a class A misdemeanor involving a maximum sentence of:

  • Up to one year in county jail, and fines reaching $4,000

Call a Houston Sex Crimes Lawyer After Your Massage Parlor Arrest

When your mugshot and name are released in association with a prostitution bust, your professional and personal relationships can suffer immensely. But a skilled Houston solicitation lawyer can fight to help clear your name. By intervening at the earliest stages of the criminal justice process and advocating zealously on your behalf at every step of the way, attorney Ned Barnett will work hard on your behalf.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767.