Often, people underestimate how seriously prosecutors take prostitution and solicitation charges. Florida prosecutors are tough on prostitution, and you can be charged even if you simply profit from it without being directly involved. The involvement of a minor can make the charges even more serious, and it also may result in federal charges. You should contact a Sarasota prostitution defense lawyer early in the investigation if you have been arrested under suspicion of this crime. At Hanlon Law, we are committed to protecting the rights of the accused.Prostitution
Under Florida Statutes Section 796.07, prostitution is the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire. This can include "escort" services. Essentially, the law forbids engaging in sex acts for money or something else of value. It applies not only to people who sell their sexual services but also to people who buy sexual services of any kind, not just acts involving penetration. Sexual activity includes vaginal, anal, and oral penetration, as well as handling or fondling another person's sexual organ in order to masturbate.
For a first prostitution offense, you may face a maximum of 60 days in jail and a maximum of $500 in fines. For a second offense, you can face a maximum of one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. First and second offenses are generally charged as misdemeanors. For a third offense, you can face a maximum of five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. A third offense is charged as a felony. If you are facing this type of charge, you should consult a prostitution defense attorney in the Sarasota area who can help you mount a solid defense.
You can also be prosecuted for acts related to prostitution under Florida Statutes section 796.07, such as operating a brothel, pimping, permitting someone to stay in a building for the purpose of prostitution, transporting somebody for the purpose of prostitution, soliciting prostitution, directing someone for the purpose of prostitution, going into a prostitution place or building, buying sex acts from someone else, or aiding or abetting prostitution.
Different penalties apply to a customer who is charged with a prostitution offense. They must complete 100 hours of community service, go to a human trafficking awareness class, and pay a civil fine. For a first offense, they will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, and they may face a year in jail, a year of probation, and a $1,000 fine. For a second offense, they will face 10 days in jail, as well as potentially five years’ imprisonment, five years’ probation, and a maximum of $5,000 in fines. A third prostitution-related conviction can result in a second-degree felony sentence involving a minimum of 10 days in jail and a maximum of 15 years in prison, 15 years’ probation, and $10,000 in fines. A Sarasota prostitution defense attorney can help you try to avert these consequences.
A police officer is allowed to testify as an offended person in any criminal prosecution of prostitution. Additionally, if you are charged with a prostitution crime, evidence about the place, building, structure, or conveyance involved, as well as the reputation of anybody living in it or operating such a place, is admissible to support the charge.
Minors cannot be arrested for prostitution or prostitution offers. Sometimes police are not aware of a minor's age when they arrest them and continue with the arrest. These minors are considered to be victims of human trafficking, and they are supposed to be protected. They can claim age as a defense. People involved in pimping out a minor may face additional charges related to lewd and lascivious crimes or other serious charges. Some sex crimes involving minors require someone convicted of them to register as a sex offender.
If you are an adult, there may be other defenses available. For example, it may be possible to argue that there was no agreement in place to offer money for sexual services. A key element of prostitution offenses is that there be an agreement to exchange money for sex.Hire a Skillful Prostitution Defense Lawyer in Sarasota or Surrounding Areas
Although prostitution is often called the world's oldest profession, it is significantly penalized in Florida. Prostitution charges or other sex crime charges, such as sexual battery, should be defended with the help of an experienced attorney. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation since 1994 and may be able to help. You can call Hanlon Law at 941.462.1789 or complete our online form.