Honorable John Whitmire, Chair, Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
Ursula Parks, Director, Legislative Budget Board
SB1712 by Rodríguez (Relating to the prosecution of the offense of prostitution.), As Introduced
The bill would amend the Penal Code as it relates to the prosecution of the offense of prostitution. Under the provisions of the bill, the court may dismiss the proceedings against a defendant prosecuted for prostitution who successfully completes a pretrial intervention program within one year of the deferred adjudication proceedings. Also under the provisions of the bill, the penalty would be reduced if the defendant offered to, agreed to, or provided sexual services for a fee. In these cases, the penalty would be reduced from a state jail felony to a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant had been previously convicted for this offense three or more times, from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B misdemeanor if the defendant had been previously convicted for this offense one or two times, and from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor if the defendant had no prior convictions for this offense.
A Class A Misdemeanor is punishable by confinement in county jail for a term not to exceed one year and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000. A Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by confinement in county jail for a term not to exceed 180 days and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000. A Class C Misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 (up to 180 days of deferred disposition; no confinement). A state jail felony is punishable by confinement in a state jail for a term from 180 days to 2 years and, in addition to confinement, an optional fine not to exceed $10,000 or Class A Misdemeanor punishment (mandatory post conviction community supervision).
Reducing the penalty for a criminal offense is expected to result in decreased demands upon the correctional resources of counties or of the state due to shorter terms of community supervision or shorter terms of confinement in county jail, state jail, or prison. However, in the case of the bill, it is assumed that the number of offenders supervised or incarcerated under this statute would not significantly impact state correctional agencies' workload and programs. In fiscal year 2012, 5,790 people were arrested; 271 people were placed on felony community supervision; and less than 10 people were admitted to state correctional facilities for selling or performing sexual services for a fee.