Prostitution sting operations are a fairly common subject for many police when they are attempting to are trying to clean up a crime-ridden community or simply responding to a business that has been subject to numerous complaints regarding illegal activity. Prostitution stings are even played out on entertainment television shows. Everyone has seen how these operations are conducted: police communicate with the “bad guy” about the planned crime, surveillance is set up and then make the arrest at the scene. Then, the defendant immediately goes to jail for prostitution or solicitation without any recourse. No matter what you have seen on TV, real prostitution stings bring many complicated issues. If you were arrested for prostitution or solicitation, you may have many viable defenses to these serious charges.
Florida Prostitution Laws
More and more often, Florida law enforcement officers use sting operations to catch people breaking these laws. Often, such sting operations will involve an officer posting a fake ad on sites like Craigslist or BackPage. The officer will offer sexual services through the ad, and attempt to meet with people, usually men, who respond. After meeting with the undercover officer, the man is arrested for solicitation. In other scenarios, officers will respond to a real prostitution ad and then arrest the person for offering sexual services.
These laws are often used against prostitutes and “johns,” or customers.
Florida Statute 796.07 (1) (a)) states prostitution is defined as the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire.
Once law enforcement zones in on a prostitution investigation, they have several criminal charges to explore while building a case. Some of the most common criminal charges surrounding prostitution include:
1. Solicitation to Commit Prostitution
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(f) states its unlawful to solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
2. Maintaining a Structure for Prostitution
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(a) To own, establish, maintain, or operate any place, structure, building, or conveyance for the purpose of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution.
3. To offer or agree to prostitution
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(b) To offer, or to offer or agree to secure, another for the purpose of prostitution or for any other lewd or indecent act.
4. To allow any person to use a structure for purposes of prostitution
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(c) – To receive, or to offer or agree to receive, any person into any place, structure, building, or conveyance for the purpose of prostitution, lewdness, or assignation, or to permit any person to remain there for such purpose.
5. Transporting for purposes of prostitution
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(d) – To direct, take, or transport, or to offer or agree to direct, take, or transport, any person to any place, structure, or building, or to any other person, with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that the purpose of such directing, taking, or transporting is prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
6. Offering Prostitution
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(e) – For a person 18 years of age or older to offer to commit, or to commit, or to engage in, prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
7. Using a structure for Prostitution
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(g) – To reside in, enter, or remain in, any place, structure, or building, or to enter or remain in any conveyance, for the purpose of prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
8. Purchases prostitution services
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(i) To purchase the services of any person engaged in prostitution.
Defenses to Prostitution Charges
Prostitution cases can be challenged with motions prior to trial and legal defenses during trial. The defense of police entrapment is often times explored during prostitution stings. Arguing entrapment requires the knowledge of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Basically, to prove entrapment you must show that law enforcement officers enticed you to commit a crime you would not have committed otherwise. In other words, you had no intention to commit a crime, but police enticed you to such action. Additionally, prostitution generally requires the hiring of sexual services. During trial, its often argued the consensual sex was performed without the agreement for any monetary exchange.
Contact a Reputable Orlando Defense Firm
Facing a prostitution charge is embarrassing, and something you will undoubtedly want resolved discreetly. At Moses & Rooth, we will handle your case with total confidentiality and sensitivity. You do not have to defend yourself alone. Instead, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys. Both of our lawyers are former prosecutors, and we understand how Florida prosecutors handle prostitutions cases. We are currently accepting new clients in the Orlando area. Contact us now to schedule a free initial consultation.