Palm Beach Gardens Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer
Sex crimes are serious, and having a charge for a prostitution crime on your record can affect your reputation and your future. Florida law prohibits engaging in prostitution and soliciting a prostitute, and also prohibits third parties from facilitating or engaging in the business of prostitution. If you have been charged with a prostitution crime in Florida, you should call an attorney today.
Prostitution and Solicitation
Prostitution and solicitation are criminal offenses in Florida. It is illegal to buy, sell, offer, solicit, or agree to engage in sexual favors in exchange for money. Florida’s prostitution laws apply both to prostitutes and to johns, or those who act as customers.
Florida law prohibits merely agreeing to engage in prostitution or soliciting a prostitute. Actually engaging in sexual acts is not required for criminal prosecution, and a defendant can be convicted based on words alone, without any physical evidence.
Prostitution and solicitation are second-degree misdemeanors for a first violation. The charges escalate with every subsequent offense.
Pimping and Pandering
Florida law also targets those who make money from the sex trade, which are generally more serious offenses than prostitution and solicitation. In Florida, it is against the law to pimp, meaning to make money from another’s acts of prostitution. Living off of or being supported by such money is a second-degree felony for a first offense.
Pandering, meaning facilitating or promoting prostitution, is also a criminal offense. Enticing or procuring someone to engage in prostitution is a first-degree misdemeanor for a first violation. It is also illegal to offer to find someone engage in prostitution, to direct anyone to a place of prostitution, to enter or remain in any place or vehicle for purposes of prostitution, or to transport anyone to a place for prostitution.
Owning, renting or operating property for the purpose of facilitating prostitution is also a crime in Florida. If a person owns property and rents it to another, knowing that the renter is going to use the property for prostitution, he or she commits a second-degree misdemeanor for a first violation.
Coercing or forcing someone to engage in prostitution is a more serious crime, and is a third-degree felony. Additionally, the person who has been coerced has a civil cause of action against the coercer and can collect money damages to compensate him or her for the harm caused as a result of the force.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
It is unlawful in Florida for prostitutes who know that they are infected with HIV or another sexually transmitted disease to engage in prostitution. It is also illegal for anyone infected with HIV to offer to engage in prostitution. This offense is a third-degree felony for those infected with HIV and a first-degree misdemeanor for those infected with other sexually transmitted diseases.
It is a more serious crime to solicit a minor for prostitution or be involved with a minor’s prostitution. In Florida, the charges are more serious, and go up one step if a minor is involved. For example, if a crime is a second degree misdemeanor if the prostitute is an adult, it will be a first degree misdemeanor if the prostitute is underage.
Entrapment is a defense to prostitution crimes. It is available when a law enforcement officer improperly induces a defendant to engage in a prostitution offense. If the defendant would not have engaged in prostitution except that a police officer pressured him or her into it, the defendant may assert this defense and avoid conviction.
If you have been charged with a prostitution offense, please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein to schedule a free initial consultation.