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Prostitution Under Cover Stings

Posted By Criminal Defense Standard || 1-Oct-2010

    Dallas and other Dallas-area police departments commonly conduct undercover sting operations to bust "Johns" and prostitutes for prostitution.  (Chick here to read our previous blog post that explains Texas Prostitution Law.)  As with all television and movie depictions, television shows and movies have perpetuated untrue myths about prostitution undercover stings. 

    Perhaps the most widespread myth is that if during the course of an undercover prostitution sting an officer is asked whether or not he/she is a police officer, the officer must tell the truth or prostitution charges cannot be filed.  This is not correct.  Undercover police operations by definition involve deception (you never see an officer in uniform working undercover to arrest someone for prostitution).  Without deception, it would be difficult to conduct a successful undercover operation.  Police officers do NOT have to admit to being police officers if asked.  Moreover, during a prostitution sting, the undercover police officer may tell a host of lies.  Again, deception is inherent in undercover operations. 

    Another common myth is that police officers cannot consume alcohol during prostitution busts.  Although police officers should not drink a large quantity of alcohol during a prostitution bust, they are permitted to consume alcohol.  In fact, many prostitution busts are made in business establishments (strip clubs in particular) that serve alcohol. 

    It is less clear, however, whether and where an officer can touch the person who is the subject of the bust.  Nonconsensual touching is likely not permitted, however, consensual touching may, under certain circumstances, be permitted. 

    There are practical issues, however, that limit physical contact between an undercover officer and the person they are trying to bust for prostitution.  First, although juries generally tolerate under cover officer lies and limited consumption of alcohol as part of a prostitution bust, sexual contact can prejudice a jury against the prosecution and lead to an acquittal (see our previous blog entry on Jury Nullification).  Moreover, the undercover officer may not be comfortable with such contact. 

    Tom D'Amore of the D'Amore Law Firm has obtain outstanding results in jury trials during his 23 year career as a Dallas criminal attorney.  In addition, during Tom's 19 year tenure at the Dallas County District Attorney's Office Tom worked with undercover police officers on hundreds of cases.  If you have been charged with prostitution of any other sex crime, contact the D'Amore Law Firm to schedule a free case review with Dallas criminal lawyer Tom D'Amore. 

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