Prostitution is often a controversial crime because many people do not believe it should be a criminal offense, and political and social activists have long fought to have prostitution legalized. Regardless of this debate, state law currently holds that prostitution is a crime—and a potentially severe one at that.
Local prosecutors take any sex-related crime seriously, and those charged with prostitution can face serious legal consequences if convicted, including high fines and jail time. Additionally, conviction for prostitution or any related crime can ruin your personal and professional reputations.
There is obviously a lot at stake for those facing a prostitution charge. If you have been charged with this or any related crime, call a Wellington prostitution. Your qualified criminal defense attorney could help protect your rights and your reputation in and out of the courtroom
Defining Prostitution in Wellington
Prostitution occurs when someone offers sexual activity in exchange for something of value. Florida Statutes 796.07 defines prostitution as “giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire.” This broad definition challenges common misconceptions about prostitution.
Many people believe that prostitution only occurs if money is exchanged, or if sexual intercourse occurs. However, according to the letter of the law, the giving or receiving component of a sexual encounter does not actually have to involve money or sexual intercourse to be considered prostitution.
For example, if someone exchanges oral sex for a smartphone, that would qualify as prostitution under state law. Any sexual activity whatsoever may qualify as prostitution so long as an exchange—or an attempted exchange—occurs.
Potential Penalties for a Prostitution Conviction
The penalties for a prostitution conviction can vary depending on whether the defendant has prior convictions for the same crime. Local residents convicted of prostitution could face the following penalties:
- First conviction (misdemeanor): maximum jail sentence of 60 days, and maximum fine of $500
- Second conviction (misdemeanor): maximum jail sentence of one year, and maximum fine of $1,000
- Third conviction (felony): maximum prison sentence of five years, and maximum fine of $5,000
Any subsequent prostitution charge for those with more than three convictions will also be a felony charge. Those facing a second or third prostitution charge may be in particular need of help from a qualified Wellington prostitution defense lawyer who could defend them against such charges, and who could work hard to help them avoid a conviction when possible.
Defenses Against Prostitution Charges
Many prostitution cases come about from a simple misunderstanding by the police. Some people are arrested for prostitution when they are legally escorting a date, or engaging in consensual sex without exchanging anything of value.
In other cases, the police may entrap someone into committing a crime they otherwise would not have committed. In circumstances like these, a skilled Wellington prostitution defense attorney could defend anyone facing a criminal charge by using the facts of the case to their advantage.
Consulting a Wellington Prostitution Attorney
Obviously, there is a lot at stake for someone charged with prostitution. Given the legal and social stigmas surrounding prostitution offenses, anyone charged with that crime could face harsh legal penalties, damaged personal relationships, and other serious consequences.
If you are facing charges for prostitution, solicitation, pandering, or any related offense, call a Wellington prostitution lawyer today for help.