Pursuant to Florida Statute 796.001-796.09 it is a crime to offer, agree to, or engage in a sexual act for compensation, and there is a solicitation section as well. Solicitation are acts to persuade or convince another person to participate in prostitution and the purchase of prostitution services.
There are two defenses to prostitution which are
1) that the sexual activity was not conducted for hire;
2) entrapment by undercover police.
That is not to be confused with an undercover officer not admitting that they are a law enforcement officer when asked, they are permitted to deny that they are undercover. It is important to remember that in a case involving a person under 18 years of age, the defense of lack of knowledge regarding the persons age is not a defense. Intoxication is never a defense to a crime at all, nor is ignorance of the law.
The Penalties for Prostitution can increase due to prior convictions of the same crime.
A first offense may be charged as a second degree misdemeanor, which can result in a term of imprisonment for up to 60 days, a fine in an amount up to $500, or both. A second offense as a first degree misdemeanor, which can result in a term of imprisonment for up to one year, a fine in an amount up to $1,000, or both.
A third offense or any following offense can result in a third-degree felony charge. Under Florida law, the potential term of imprisonment may go up to five years and the fine may increase to $5,000.
State law also allows the option of pre-trial admission to a substance abuse treatment or intervention program, this is an offer made by the State Attorney’s office in some jurisdictions.
If the offense involves the procurement of a person who is under 18 years of age, the charge increases to a second degree felony, which can result in up to 15 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Prostitution may have some very serious consequences, it is not a crime that you want to deal with on your own, it is best to hire an attorney that can assist you with your legal needs.
Camy B. Schwam-Wilcox was a prosecutor in Orange County at the beginning of her legal career and has dealt with many prostitution cases, she has the experience that can help you with your criminal involvement.
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