What happens at a first court appearance for a prostitution charge in Houston?

By Jose Ceja
Managing Attorney

Prostitution and solicitation of prostitution are commonly charged offenses in Houston. The penalties for prostitution vary for the alleged prostitute and the alleged buyer of sex (sometimes known as “john”). But whatever the charge, if you have been arrested for prostitution in Houston, you will have a court date set at 1201 Franklin St, typically within a week or so of being arrested. 

At your first court date after a prostitution charge in Houston, you can expect the judge to hear the basic facts of your case to check whether sufficient facts have been alleged to constitute a crime. The judge will also set bond conditions that must be followed while the case is pending. The court will also ask you whether you wish to hire your own lawyer or if you will apply for a court-appointed attorney (regardless of what you choose, it is wise to have an attorney to represent you in a prostitution case). Then you will typically be given a new court date. 

At a first court date on a prostitution charge in Houston, you will not be asked to say or do anything, other than acknowledge your bond conditions. Neither the judge nor the prosecutor will ask you to make a statement about the alleged incident, and you should not be overly nervous. The process for properly defending a prostitution charge can take several months, and nothing will be decided at the first court date.  

Is there anything I should do before my first court date on a prostitution charge?

Unless your attorney has instructed you otherwise, the only thing that you typically need to do for a first court date on a prostitution charge in Houston is to be on time and dress appropriately. 

As noted above, if you are charged with prostitution in Houston, your case will be assigned to a court at 1201 Franklin St (misdemeanors are assigned to county courts, and felonies are assigned to District Courts). It is important to not be late. Very frequently, there are long lines outside of the building, and it can take over an hour to get through security and make it to your courtroom. If you are late to court, your bond could get revoked. Even if your bond is not revoked, being late could send a message to the judge or prosecutors that you are not taking the case seriously. It is also important to dress professionally in clean, neatly pressed clothes that you might wear to a job interview or to church. 

What bond conditions can I expect on a prostitution charge in Houston? 

As noted, bond conditions are rules that you must follow while your case is pending. For a prostitution charge, bond conditions typically require you to not commit any more offenses and possibly not return to the place where the alleged incident occurred. If drugs or alcohol were involved, it is possible that there could be a restriction on drug or alcohol consumption. Particularly for felony cases, courts will sometimes limit your travel. 

If any bond condition set by the court in a prostitution case is problematic and makes it difficult for you to live or work, your criminal defense attorney can ask the court to modify the condition (this is one reason that it can be a good idea to have an attorney present with you in court at your first court date). But whatever your bond conditions are, it is extremely important you understand and obey them, or your bond could get revoked, which means that you could be put back in jail. Additionally, having your bond conditions revoked could make it more difficult for your attorney to obtain an excellent result in your case. 

In Houston, a prostitution charge can take several months to defend, and an effective attorney should provide aggressive representation and guidance from the first court date. The goal of a prostitution charge should always be to get the case dismissed and to obtain an expunction of the arrest. If you are facing a prostitution charge in Houston, call Ceja Law Firm today. Mr. Ceja is a former prosecutor and regularly obtains excellent results for clients charged with prostitution in Houston. 

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.