Solicitation of Prostitution
The United States, and Florida in particular, have a history of propagating laws and regulations that punish people for non-violent acts. Anti-drug laws are the most prevalent of these offenses, and are the crimes that you have most likely heard about in the news. The war on drugs has resulted in hundreds of thousands of criminal defendants spending significant time behind bars due to non-violent drug convictions. Another class of non-violent criminal offenses that can be harshly punished in this state is prostitution related offenses. A dedicated and passionate St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer can help you fight criminal charges related to these industries.
Prostitution related offenses typically fall into two categories. First is the act of prostitution itself. Men and women offering to sell sexual services, while illegal, usually does not result in harm to anyone. Police however, spend significant time and resources targeting and hunting down people who work in this sex industry. The illegality of the sex industry itself results in unsafe procedures and unregulated practices. The sex industry, like the drug industry is one that might be better served by regulation instead of outright prohibition. In countries in Europe and Asia, and in states like Nevada, sex work is legalized, regulated, and safe.Solicitation for Prostitution
The second category of prostitution related offenses is solicitation of prostitution. Instead of targeting the sex workers, solicitation charges target members of our society who seek out those workers to pay for sexual services. Interestingly, Florida law punishes violators of this section of the law far more harshly than those who commit prostitution itself. If you have been charged with solicitation for prostitution, you could be facing serious, life altering penalties, and should consult a specialized St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(f) makes it illegal to “to solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.” The first time a person is convicted under this law, they commit a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. However, each subsequent violation of the statute results in a significant upgrade to the charges along with upgrades to the potential penalties. A second offense is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. And a third or subsequent offense is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years!
Unique to the solicitation for prostitution statute are the additional penalties and restrictions placed on defendants convicted of this crime. First, if you are convicted of solicitation, the court will require you to complete a mandatory 100 hours of community service. In addition, you will be required to attend and complete a course educating about the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking. If, during the course of the offense, you used a car, the court may also order that your vehicle be impounded for a 60 day period. Finally, a conviction of solicitation for prostitution will result in a hefty $5000 fine. The penalties for solicitation go far beyond what should be reasonably acceptable. That is just one of the reasons why it is so important to hire an experienced St. Petersburg criminal lawyer if you are charged with such an offense.
People charged with solicitation of prostitution often find themselves in trouble as a result of a police sting. Police often set up prostitution stings in areas where they have received complaints of ongoing criminal activity. Undercover officers will dress and act like sex workers and will attempt to coerce unsuspecting passers by to agree to pay for sex with them. Once an agreement is met, the undercover officer will signal other police officers to “take down” or arrest the offender. A skilled attorney will be able to review the evidence collected by the police to determine if they have enough evidence to actually convict you of any crime.Speak to Our Lawyers
The attorneys at Hanlon Law will fight for your rights, no matter the offense you are charged with. Contact us today at 727.897.5413.