The official motto of the State of Florida is “In God We Trust”, however, a better motto might be “Come on Vacation go home on probation.” Florida is a beautiful State with incredible beaches, amazing theme parks and zealous law enforcement. It is conceivable how one could get caught up in all the fun and end up in trouble. 3 offenses in Florida which can have devastating effects on your liberty, finances, and reputation are solicitation of prostitution, prostitution, and human trafficking.
Let’s start by defining these offenses.
Is Prostitution Ilegal in Florida?
Under Florida law, prostitution is defined as the giving or receiving of your body to engage in sexual activity in exchange for monetary compensation. There are eight different acts that could result in prostitution charges:
- Operating, or having an ownership interest in a prostitution-related business
- Performing sexual acts in exchange for money
- Offering a residence or building for prostitution to occur
- Aiding in the transportation of a person to a destination where prostitution will occur
- Scheduling an appointment for prostitution
- Soliciting another person to engage in prostitution
- Entering a place where prostitution is occurring
- Hiring someone engaged in prostitution
If you are facing charges of prostitution, the penalties can be harsh. If you have no prior prostitution convictions on your record, you are facing a second-degree misdemeanor which may mean you have to serve up to sixty days in jail, serve six months of probation, and pay a fine of $500 as well as undergo an HIV/STD test and be required to take a human trafficking class online.
If you have a prior conviction, you will be facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge which can result in up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine. For a third conviction, you could be charged with a third-degree felony and face a $5,000 fine and 5 years in prison.
Solicitation of Prostitution
According to Florida’s laws, anyone who solicits, entices, induces, or procures another person to engage in prostitution is guilty of solicitation for prostitution. The person who is being solicited does not need to be considered a prostitute for you to be charged. Law enforcement in Florida is especially harsh on individuals that are actively seeking to engage with a prostitute. They are hoping to lessen the demand resulting in less prostitution and the crimes associated with prostitution.
If charged with solicitation you can expect to get the following conditions:
- 12 months of probation
- 100 hours of community service.
- Pay a $5,000 civil penalty. (mandatory)
- Mandatory minimum imprisonment of 10 days (for second and subsequent offenses).
- Attend an educational program about the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking.
- 60 days of vehicle impoundment (if the vehicle was used during the commission of the offense).
- Registration on the Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database.
Human Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining, by any means, a person for labor or services involving forced labor, slavery or servitude in any industry, such as forced or coerced participation in agriculture, prostitution, manufacturing, or other industries or in domestic service or marriage. According to the Human Tracking Hotline, Florida continues to rank third in the U.S. for human trafficking cases behind California and Texas. The umbrella of Human Trafficking is being used quite a bit lately to impose harsher sanctions on people working in the world’s oldest profession.
There is a growing trend across America and especially in Florida to try to make arrests and get convictions for Human Trafficking. A great effort is being made to upgrade misdemeanor charges by linking the acts committed to Human Trafficking. For example, a few years ago an owner of an NFL team was arrested as part of a human trafficking investigation when he was alleged to have gone to a massage parlor and solicited a sexual act from the “masseuse”. The charges against him were eventually dropped but less wealthy citizens might not have gotten the same treatment.
The criminal penalties for human trafficking depend on the type of coercion used to commit the offense, if the offense involved commercial sex activity or labor and services, and if the alleged victim is a child, disabled individual, or undocumented immigrant.
Second-Degree Felonies are punishable as follows:
- up to 15 years in prison
- up to 15 years of sex offender probation
- up to $10,000 in fines
First-Degree Felonies are punishable as follows:
- up to 30 years in prison
- up to 30 years of sex offender probation
- up to $10,000 in fines
Life Felonies are punishable as follows:
- up to Life in prison
- up to Life on sex offender probation
- up to $10,000 in fines
The lesson to be learned prior to coming to Florida is that you should enjoy our beaches, our amusement parks, our resorts, and our nightlife, however, it is extremely unwise to violate any laws. If you happen to get arrested remember to exercise your right to remain silent and contact a criminal defense attorney at once. Contact us today and schedule a consultation with our sex crimes defense lawyers.