In Florida, it is illegal to solicit any sexual activity for money and to sell sexual services for money. It also is illegal to engage in the business of prostitution, whether it is forcing someone to sell themselves for money, such as pimping, or running a brothel or place of prostitution.
Any prostitution or solicitation charge on your record could seriously impact your life.
Whether it is a charge for selling sex or attempting to buy sex from someone, there could be severe consequences. The penalties vary per offense, but you could face jail time, steep fines or both. In addition, it could affect your ability to get a job or rent a home, plus personal relationships.
If you have been arrested for selling or buying sex, you need a dedicated attorney to represent you. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. fights for the rights of those accused in sexual offenses, including prostitution, solicitation of a prostitute, being in the business of selling sex or sex trafficking.
The charges and the punishments can be serious, but Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can help. We are available to clients 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Call (954) 745-7457 to speak to a Fort Lauderdale prostitution and solicitation lawyer.
We represent clients throughout Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Davie, Sunrise, Weston and Wilton Manors.
Florida Statutes Annotated § 796.07 defines prostitution as a person allowing another to hire him or her for sexual activity. According to the law, the definition excludes sexual activity between spouses.
Sexual activity means a broad range of things, according to Florida law. It includes vaginal, oral or anal penetration or fondling sexual organs in masturbation. The term does not include acts done for medical purposes.
In Florida, it is illegal to solicit someone for prostitution. Men and women can be charged for solicitation, but people who seek the services of prostitutes often are referred to as "johns."
According to Florida Statutes Annotated § 796.07, if you solicit, induce, entice or procure another to commit prostitution or lewdness, you could be charged with solicitation. This means, if a person attempts to solicit sex from someone who is not actually a prostitute, he or she still could be charged.
Law enforcement agencies often engage in "stings" where an undercover officer will pose as a prostitute. If a person asks for a service and agrees to pay, as though he or she is a prostitute, the person could be arrested for solicitation.
Soliciting a prostitute is a second-degree misdemeanor for the first offense. However, for the second offense it is a first-degree misdemeanor and a third-degree felony for the third or subsequent offense.
A separate charge can apply if a prostitute, or sex worker, is a minor. If someone tries to engage with a minor to solicit sex, the charge will go up one degree. For example, if the charge would be considered a second-degree felony, if a minor was involved it would increase to a first-degree felony.
Just as customers of sex workers can be charged with crimes, those selling their services also face criminal charges. If you are arrested and charged with prostitution, you can face a second-degree misdemeanor for the first offense. For the second offense, it is a first-degree misdemeanor, and the third offense is a third-degree felony.
Law enforcement agencies also can set up stings to catch prostitutes. Similar to solicitation, it is a crime to offer the services, even if they are not actually provided. For example, if a prostitute offers services to an undercover police officer, he or she could be arrested.
If you are convicted of being in the business of prostitution, the charges can be the same as those for a sex worker. In some instances, the penalties can be much worse. You can be charged with managing sex workers, also known as "pimping," running a brothel or other establishment used for prostitution and sex trafficking by bringing people into the country to be sold for sex.
It is illegal to coerce, compel or force someone into prostitution in Florida, under Florida Statutes Annotated § 796.04, and the crime is considered a third-degree felony.
Selling minors into prostitution, or buying a minor for the purpose of offering him or her for sexual purposes is a first-degree felony. Procuring a minor to work in prostitution is a felony of the second degree, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 796.03.
It is a third degree felony to knowingly receive support from a person if the accused knows the money came from prostitution, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 796.05. It is a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense and a first-degree misdemeanor for a second offense to knowingly rent space that will be used for prostitution, under Florida Statutes Annotated § 796.06.
Any solicitation accusation involving a minor sex worker will cause the charge to increase one level, unless it is an offense already specific to minors, such as selling minors into prostitution.
Charges for prostitution and solicitation are determined by the offense. If convicted, you could face:
A conviction for prostitution or solicitation will remain on your record. Having that burden could affect finding a job and potential landlords may not want to rent to you. Also, a conviction could have a significant impact on personal relationships with family and friends.
If you are charged with any crime involving prostitution, including a customer, a sex worker or being involved in the business of prostitution, you need a strong defense for your case. Call a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to guide you through the legal process. Call (954) 745-7457 to schedule a free consultation.
Click here to learn what Meltzer & Bell can do for you regarding your DUI by visiting our traffic department.