If you are arrested for a prostitution-related offense in Florida, it can damage both your reputation and family relationships not to mention landing you in county jail or state prison. Sex crimes, such as prostitution, solicitation, pimping, and pandering are aggressively pursued by law enforcement and prosecutors. While the merits of devoting substantial financial resources to pursuing prostitution-related crimes may be debatable, many law enforcement agencies in Florida still devote significant resources to locking up those engaged in prostitution-related sex crimes. The police engage in sting operations targeting "johns" or prostitutes. Anyone who obtains financial benefits from prostitution, compels another to engage in prostitution, rents space for parties to engage in prostitution, or solicits a prostitute can face serious punishment that includes incarceration.
Conviction of a prostitution-related offenses, such as, solicitation, prostitution, pandering, and pimping can result in serious adverse consequences. Prostitution offenses make it illegal to offer, agree, engage in sex for money or any other form of compensation, such as drugs. It does not matter whether you are a prostitute offering sexual services for money or the customer "john" requesting such services.
Prostitution and Solicitation Crimes in Florida
Prostitution is defined under Florida Statute 796.07 as “giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire but excludes sexual activity between spouses.”
Florida Statute 796.07 further makes it a criminal offense to do any of the following:
- Operate, establish, maintain, or own any building, place, structure, or conveyance with the objective of prostitution or lewdness;
- To agree to secure or offer another individual for an indecent or lewd act or prostitution;
- To agree to receive, offer, or receive anyone into a conveyance, place, building, or structure for the goal of lewdness, prostitution, or to allow anyone to stay there for these purposes;
- To transport, take, direct, or offer to agree to transport, direct, or take anyone to a building, or place, or to another individual with actual knowledge or reasonable reason to believe that the objective is prostitution or lewdness;
- To engage in, offer to participate in, or commit lewdness or prostitution;
- To induce, procure, solicit, or entice another into lewd conduct or prostitution;
- To remain, reside, or enter any building, structure, or place or to remain in any conveyance for the purpose of lewdness or prostitution;
- To abet, aid, participate in any of the above;
- To pay for the services of anyone engaging in prostitution. [See Florida Statute 796.07].
Prostitution and related offenses carry a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 for a first-time offender. If the accused has a criminal history that include prior offenses, the punishment can be up to five years in prison and a maximum fine up to $5,000. If an individual is convicted of procuring, inducing, or soliciting another person for prostitution, he or she will also face a special $5,000 fine.
Florida law enforcement agencies aggressively engage in campaigns to eliminate prostitution. Attorney General Pam Biondi has adopted a “zero-tolerance” policy toward prostitution and human trafficking. Pursuant to this policy, Florida law enforcement agencies are cracking down on human trafficking and prostitution through tactics that include but are not limited to the following:
- Conducting sting operations where law enforcement decoys dress in revealing outfits to attempt to entice motorists to stop and agree to exchange sex for money;
- Campaigns to shut down online advertising alleged to promote prostitution, such as websites advertising escort services;
- Infiltrating alleged prostitution operations, such as massage parlors, escort services, and strip clubs where a law enforcement decoy may pretend to be a customer to determine if those working in the establishment cross the line between providing lawful services and prostitution.
Law enforcement investigative tactics often place otherwise law-abiding people into compromising positions, which sometimes create the basis for an entrapment defense. An experience Florida prostitution defense attorney will carefully investigate the evidence, including any audio or video recordings, testimony by law enforcement, and other evidence purportedly establishing that a person accused of solicitation engaged in or entered into an agreement to engage in prostitution. Where law enforcement agents have turned off a recording device during the interaction, an experienced sex crimes defense attorney might also argue that this is evidence that law enforcement officers knew that they were entrapping a suspect or otherwise conducting their operation improperly.
If it is not feasible to prove that an accused was entrapped, a Florida criminal defense lawyer might attack the sufficiency of the evidence, particularly regarding whether the accused had the specific intent to engage in prostitution.
Pimping and Pandering Criminal Charge in Florida
You may be arrested in Florida for engaging in the practice of serving as a go-between for prostitutes and their customers. The Florida criminal offenses of pimping and pandering are aimed at this middleman type role. These prostitution-related offenses are described below:
• Pimping: This Florida sex offense involves recruiting customers for the purposes of prostitution and collecting a fee for one's services from the money paid by the customer to the prostitute. While many people have a stereotype of a pimp from the elaborately dressed flamboyant images on television, pimps may just as easily be educated successful professionals working in an office who conduct online advertising, marketing, or rout phone calls to those providing sexual services for money.
• Pandering: The Florida sex crime of pandering is really another facet of engaging in pimp services because it involves encouraging or recruiting someone to engage in prostitution and making them available to engage in the exchange of sex for money. A prosecutor may be able to support a conviction for pandering regardless of the incentive used to encourage someone to engage in prostitution, whether it is related to force or compensation. There also are many ways that you may make someone available for prostitution, including advertising, routing phone calls or providing transportation, just to name a few examples.
Compelling another person into prostitution and living off of the proceeds of prostitution carries a penalty of five years of imprisonment and a maximum fine up to $5,000. The penalties are even more severe if the person forced into prostitution is a child.
PROTECT YOUR REPUTATION WITH SKILLED FLORIDA PROSTITUTION DEFENSE LAWYERS!
If you haven't already, it is essential that you get the help of a Florida prostitution defense attorney from Musca Law. We have decades of collective experience in criminal defense and will put tremendous effort into your case. Our firm is available 24/7 to begin a free case evaluation with you!