Money Changing Hands for a ServiceWhile prostitution and solicitation are both crimes of selling sex, there’s a difference between the charges. One revolves around the person or people offering sexual encounters, and the other focuses on the person paying for or receiving the exchange. No matter which charge you face, you should always find out your options from a Florida sex crimes attorney before you enter a plea.

Understanding Charges of Prostitution and Solicitation in Florida

What Is Prostitution?

Under Florida Statute § 796.07, prostitution is defined as “the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire.” Money does not need to change hands, nor does a sexual act need to occur to make an arrest. Police only need proof of an offer of money (or something of value) to charge either party.

What Is Solicitation?

Solicitation is encouraging, bribing, requesting, or commanding a person to engage in criminal activity. A sex worker and the person paying for sex can be charged with solicitation for prostitution since both ask the other to commit a crime.

Acts of prostitution prohibited explicitly by law include:

  • Selling sexual acts for money. Entering into or remaining in a place for prostitution is a second-degree misdemeanor for the first offense. A second offense elevates the charge to a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
  • Attempting to buy sex. A person hiring a prostitute or offering money or something of value in exchange for sexual services could be charged with solicitation of a prostitute, which could mean up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If the person being solicited is a minor, the charges are increased by one degree.
  • Overseeing the prostitution of another. Any third party (such as a pimp) who arranges or facilitates the transaction, such as owning or operating a building for the sex trade or transporting someone to a place where prostitution will occur, could be charged with a second-degree felony. If the third party derived support from sex trade proceeds, they could face up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Defenses Against Solicitation or Prostitution Charges

In addition to criminal penalties, Florida law imposes a civil penalty of $5,000 for any violation that does not result in acquittal or dismissal of the charges. Our Florida sex crimes law firm can provide a defense that avoids conviction or reduces the charges against you, such as:

  • Entrapment (you were enticed to commit a crime)
  • Procedural mistakes made by police officers during arrest or investigation
  • Mistaken identity (you weren’t at the scene)
  • Misunderstood motives (you were asking directions or were under the impression you were buying something other than sex)
  • Failure to read you your Miranda Rights (potential dismissal of incriminating statements)

Speak to a Florida Sex Crime Attorney Now

A conviction for prostitution or solicitation will follow you for the rest of your life—when you apply for jobs, move into a new neighborhood, or renew your professional certifications. Call us today to protect your reputation and future.

The board-certified criminal trial attorneys at Flaherty and Merrifield offer free consultations and convenient payment plans to give all defendants their best chance at justice. Call (850) 403-6835 today or fill out our contact form to learn more.

 

Brandy Merrifield
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
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