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Employment Harmful to Minors

Houston Defense Attorney Explains Prostitution

Child labor laws in Texas apply to all employees who are under 18 years of age. While most violations of state child labor laws are usually misdemeanor offenses, the crime of employment harmful to minors is a felony that can be punishable by several years in prison and enormous fines.

Because these violations usually involve minors working in sexually oriented businesses, prosecutors will often seek maximum punishments for alleged offenders. In many instances, employers are guilty of little more than relying on the seemingly valid forms of identification they were presented upon hiring the minors.

Lawyer for Employment Harmful to Minors Arrests in Houston, TX

Do you think that you could be under investigation or were you already arrested for alleged employment harmful to minors? You should not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact Horak Law as soon as possible for help achieving the most favorable outcome to your case.

Matt Horak is a skilled criminal defense attorney in Houston who aggressively defends clients accused of sex crimes in communities all over Brazoria County, Liberty County, Montgomery County, Waller County, Fort Bend County, and Galveston County. He can review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call our firm locally at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


Harris County Employment Harmful to Minors Information Center


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Definitions Relating to Employment Harmful to Minors in Texas

Texas Penal Code § 43.251 defines a number of key terms relating to the crime of employment harmful to minors. Definitions under this statute include:

  • Child is defined as a person younger than 18 years of age.
  • Massage has the meaning assigned to the term "massage therapy" under Texas Occupations Code § 455.001, which is the manipulation of soft tissue by hand or through a mechanical or electrical apparatus for the purpose of body massage and includes effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion), compression, vibration, friction, nerve strokes, and Swedish gymnastics. Massage, "therapeutic massage," "massage technology," "myotherapy," "body massage," "body rub," or any derivation of those terms are considered synonyms for massage therapy.
  • Massage establishment is defined under Texas Occupations Code § 455.001 as a place of business that advertises or offers massage therapy or other massage services. The term includes a place of business that advertises or offers any service described by a derivation of the terms massage therapy or "other massage services."
  • Nude is defined as a child who is entirely unclothed or clothed in a manner that leaves uncovered or visible through less than fully opaque clothing any portion of the breasts below the top of the areola of the breasts, if the child is female, or any portion of the genitals or buttocks.
  • Sexually oriented commercial activity is defined as a massage establishment, nude studio, modeling studio, love parlor, or other similar commercial enterprise the primary business of which is the offering of a service that is intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to the customer.
  • Topless is defined as a female child clothed in a manner that leaves uncovered or visible through less than fully opaque clothing any portion of her breasts below the top of the areola.

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Penalties for Employment Harmful to Minors in Houston

Under Texas Penal Code § 43.251, an alleged offender can be charged with employment harmful to minors if he or she allegedly employs, authorizes, or induces a child to work:

  • in a sexually oriented commercial activity;  or
  • in any place of business permitting, requesting, or requiring a child to work nude or topless.

An alleged violation is generally a second-degree felony punishable by a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If the child involved is younger than 14 years of age at the time the alleged offense is committed, then the crime becomes a first-degree felony punishable by a sentence of up to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


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Harris County Employment Harmful to Minors Resources

The Regulations for Sexually Oriented Businesses in the Unincorporated Area of Harris County, Texas — The city of Houston’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department handles Sexually Oriented Business Employees Permits (SOBPs) for ventures located within the city limits, but the Harris County Sheriff’s Office issues SOBPs in the unincorporated areas of Harris County. View this document that establishes the regulations for sexually oriented businesses in those unincorporated areas of the county. The document contains numerous definitions, establishes requirements for existing enterprises, and outlines when SOBPs are required.

Harris County Clerk
Commissioners Court Department
Harris County Administration Building
1001 Preston, Suite 610
Houston, TX 77002
713-755-6400

Texas Child Labor Law | Texas Workforce Commission — In addition to sexually oriented businesses, state law also places a number of other restrictions on employment of minors. Visit this website to understand the full scope of restrictions on employment. Also learn about hours of employment, general exemptions, and prohibited occupations.


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Horak Law | Houston Employment Harmful to Minors Lawyer

If you were arrested or believe that you might be under investigation in the greater Harris County area for alleged employment harmful to minors, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Horak Law represents clients throughout League City, Missouri City, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Galveston, Pasadena, Conroe, Richmond-Rosenberg, Pearland, Spring, and many other nearby communities.

Houston criminal defense attorney Matt Horak is a former Assistant District Attorney for the Harris County District Attorney's Office who is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Call our firm locally at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 or complete an online contact form to have our lawyer provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free consultation.


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Our Office in The Woodlands
1790 Hughes Landing Blvd #400 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (281) 907-4990
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5300 Memorial Dr #750 A Houston, TX 77007 (713) 225-8000
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Matt Horak Matt Horak is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2014