How to choose an attorney for a prostitution case

By Jose Ceja
Managing Attorney

If you have been arrested for prostitution, it is important to do everything possible to keep an arrest or conviction off of your record. The goal with a prostitution case is to get the charge dismissed and to get your records expunged. The right attorney can make all of the difference in a prostitution case. But how do you choose the right attorney to handle your prostitution case? 

There is no question that the stakes are high in a prostitution case. For first-time arrests, if you are alleged to have offered sexual services for sale, you will be charged with a Class “B” misdemeanor. If you are alleged to have been the buyer of sex, you will be charged with a State Jail Felony (in 2021, Texas became the first state to make the purchase of sex a felony). Additionally, the personal are reputational costs of a prostitution arrest or conviction can be huge. 

If you are arrested for prostitution in Houston, you will almost immediately begin receiving text messages from attorneys offering to represent you. Texting and calling defendants to solicit business is an ethically questionable practice. Many attorneys will attempt to use high high-pressure sales tactics to attempt to convince you to hire them right away. Attorneys who attempt to scare you into hiring them almost never have your best interests in mind. The truth is that in most prostitution cases, there is no rush to hire an attorney and you should take your time to find the right attorney for your case. 

There are many considerations when hiring an attorney for a prostitution case. First is the attorney’s focus on criminal defense. Many attorneys do not focus their practice on criminal defense and take cases in multiple fields (real estate law, family law, immigration, for example). The reality is that criminal defense is extremely complicated and takes a lifetime to master. In order to become a truly knowledgeable and effective criminal defense attorney, a lawyer must devote his career to criminal defense.

A related consideration is whether a potential attorney is actually a trial lawyer. Even among lawyers who focus on criminal cases, many attorneys do not actually go to trial and may pressure a client into taking a plea if a case is not dismissed. For a criminal defendant, it is a huge disadvantage to hire an attorney who is unwilling to go to trial. If the facts in a prostitution case are weak, but prosecutors refuse to dismiss a case, going to trial is a critical tool in a criminal defense attorney’s arsenal. At Ceja Law Firm, we regularly go to trial and many of our cases are dismissed only after they are set for trial. Last month we were scheduled to go to trial in a prostitution case in Houston, and it was dismissed the night before trial (prosecutors refused to dismiss the case for almost a year before that). 

The most effective criminal defense attorneys treat every case as if it is going to trial. Approaching a case like it is going to trial ensures that an attorney will thoroughly review and challenge the evidence in a prostitution case. Approaching a prostitution case in this way can raise the likelihood of a dismissal, as it can expose major problems with the facts of a case. Of course, not every case will go to trial. But the most effective attorneys have a “plan A,” a “plan B,” and a “plan C” to get the case dismissed. 

Next, it is important to hire a prostitution defense attorney who has experience in the county where your case is filed. The practice of criminal defense is not only about the law – it is just as much about human relationships and familiarity with the practices in a county. If an attorney is familiar with the judges, prosecutors and court staff, that can be a huge advantage in a prostitution case. 

It is also important to hire a prostitution defense attorney who is a good communicator and who you feel comfortable with. In any criminal case, a criminal defense attorney will do much more than represent you in court. The attorney should guide you through every step of the process. This includes preparing you for what to expect at court appearances, reviewing evidence with you and offering advice. Having open and effective communication with your prostitution defense attorney is a critical part of a good outcome in a prostitution case. 

It is a good idea to talk to several prostitution defense attorneys before hiring one. You should ask about whether their practice is focused on criminal defense and how frequently they go to trial. A potential prostitution defense attorney should have a clear strategy for defending your case and should review the evidence with you when it is received, so that you can make an informed decision as to how to resolve your case. 

Hiring an attorney for a prostitution case is a big decision and it pays to do your research. At Ceja Law Firm, we take pride in doing a superb job representing our clients. Attorney Jose Ceja is a former prosecutor who has devoted his career to the practice of criminal law. If you are charged with prostitution anywhere in the Greater Houston area, call Ceja Law Firm today for a free consultation.

About the Author
Jose Ceja is the managing attorney of Ceja Law Firm. He has practiced law since 2007 and has devoted his career to the practice of criminal law. Mr. Ceja began his legal career as a felony drug prosecutor, where he prosecuted drug, gang, and violent offenses. Mr. Ceja has first or second chaired almost 100 trials, including murders, drug cases, DWIs, and assaults. In his career as a defense attorney, he has regularly obtained dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and grand jury “no bills” in a wide variety of cases.