A person who offers or attempts to offer money or some other commodity of value in return for sex commits the crime of solicitation under Delray Beach and State law. Anyone the state charges with the offense may need an established criminal attorney who can help you prepare a defense for your case. A Delray Beach solicitation lawyer who is well-versed in this area of law can help give you peace of mind throughout your case.
What is Solicitation?
The crime of solicitation for sex is in Title XLVI Chapter 777 of Florida’s criminal code. This law prohibits a person from performing any act—including to allure, seduce, coax, or induce someone—that leads to committing this offense, regardless of whether the sex act itself happens. The defendant in a solicitation case can be the principal party or an accessory to the attempt or actual solicitation.
What Penalties Associated with Soliciting Offenses?
Delray Beach treats solicitation as a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida. However, if a person solicits a minor, or an adult posing as a minor, the offense is a felony, which is a more serious crime with a far more severe sentence.
Misdemeanor solicitation convictions are punishable by incarceration in the Palm Beach County jail for up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500. The court may also impose a term of probation continuing for six months.
A Delray Beach solicitation lawyer knows that repeat offenders could face more serious punishments. A second offense may be one year in the county jail, a $1,000 fine or up to one year of probation. Any subsequent solicitation offenses are felonies with potential sentences with a possibility of five years in state prison, a $5,000 fine, or up to five years of probation with various special conditions and penalties.
Potential Defense Strategies
If a Delray Beach solicitation lawyer can present evidence that no one exchanged anything of value, the court may drop the charge because they do not meet that element of the law. Another potential defense is entrapment, which happens when law enforcement entices someone to commit solicitation when they would otherwise not be predisposed to commit the crime.
Law enforcement conducts sting operations to catch people who violate the criminal solicitation code with law officers posing as prostitutes to lure customers, but these sting operations are not generally entrapment. These encounters are generally recorded, and it is best to have an experienced attorney review this information to make sure that law enforcement did not illegally entice a client to commit this act.
Other factors may add to the defense depending upon the actual circumstances, such as law officers violating a person’s civil rights by falsifying evidence. The defense may challenge the admissibility of evidence on legal grounds if applicable. If the defense can prove mitigating factors this may sway the Court and/or Prosecutor to impose a lesser sentence.
Avoiding Self-Incrimination After a Solicitation Arrest
Anyone arrested on solicitation charges should not make statements to arresting officers. It could be a potential benefit to someone’s case to politely decline to talk to officers until competent legal counsel is present. That is because the prosecution can use anything a suspect says as evidence that may be difficult to readdress.
In addition to incarceration and a fine, a criminal conviction could prevent people from getting jobs, professional licenses, renting places to live, and present other disadvantages. These and the punishments the law allows are more than sufficient reasons to seek the representation of a highly qualified Delray Beach solicitation lawyer.