Many people see prostitution as a “victimless” crime, and may, therefore, underestimate the legal penalties associated with this crime. Like all other sexually based offenses in Florida, state law is tough on prostitution. Whether someone is engaged in prostitution, or even profits from it without being directly involved, they could face criminal charges. If a minor is involved, federal laws, as well as state laws, could apply.
Conviction for prostitution carries heavy penalties, including exclusion from certain professions under state law. Given the potential for harsh penalties, it is important to contact a Florida criminal lawyer right away if you have been arrested for prostitution or related crimes.
Our Florida prostitution lawyers know that facing criminal charges can be traumatic. We are here to help you through the legal process, and will do our best to help you avoid conviction.
Florida Statutes Section 796.07 defines prostitution as “giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire.” This law prohibits engaging in any sexual acts in exchange for money, and applies to those who buy or sell sexual services.
It is important to note that this law prohibits all sexual activity given in exchange for money, not just sexual intercourse. Anyone convicted of prostitution could face the following penalties upon conviction:
- First offense: up to 60 days in jail; fines up to $500
- Second offense: up to one year in jail; fines up to $1,000
- Third offense: up to five years in prison; fines up to $5,000
While first and second offenses are generally considered misdemeanors, a third or subsequent prostitution charge is considered a felony and should immediatly be dealt with through a Florida prostitution attorney.
Florida Statutes Section 796.07 also prohibits indirect involvement in prostitution. Some related acts that could lead to prostitution charges include:
- Owning or operating any place or building for the purpose of prostitution.
- Offering, or agreeing to offer, someone else to engage in prostitution (commonly known as pimping).
- Allowing someone to enter or remain in any place or building for the purpose of prostitution.
- Directing or transporting someone for the purpose of prostitution.
- Offering to engage in prostitution
- Soliciting or inducing someone to engage in prostitution.
- Entering any place or building for the purpose of prostitution, such as walking into a prostitution business.
- Aiding or abetting prostitution in any way.
- Purchasing sexual services offered by another.
Building a Defense
According to a recent change in state law, minors cannot be arrested for engaging in or offering acts of prostitution.
The law states that any minor engaging in prostitution is a victim of human trafficking, and therefore cannot face charges for their victimization. This is an important change to the law designed to protect minors.
Sometimes, police are unaware of a minor’s age at the time of arrest, and may proceed with the arrest. In that case, a minor can claim their age as a defense against prostitution charges.
Another defense to prostitution charges for adult defendants is arguing that there was never an agreement to exchange money for sexual services. In other words, if both parties did not actually agree to exchange money, prostitution laws do not apply.
A Florida prostitution lawyer can examine the facts of your case, and determine the best defense strategy based on your circumstances.
Contact a Florida Prostitution Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing a prostitution charge, contact our Florida prostitution lawyers today. We will work hard to defend you in and out of court. Call us now to find out more.