Is Prostitution And Solicitation The Same Under Florida Criminal Law?
The days of pimps, johns, and prostitutes conducting business on a seedy street corner are gone, with the online world offering a more private, less risky way to engage in the World’s Oldest Profession. Law enforcement officials have responded by developing new tactics and technology to apprehend those who violate Florida criminal laws on prostitution. However, with the various players that may be involved with a particular transaction or scheme, there is considerable confusion about what constitutes unlawful misconduct. The biggest source of misinformation is with definitions: Many people do not know the difference between prostitution and solicitation.
The basic distinction is easy to understand, since it revolves around who is offering sexual activity and who is the individual receiving it in the exchange. Because a generalization is not enough to mount a solid defense, you need a Fort Lauderdale prostitution attorney if you face any of the following charges:
Prostitution and Solicitation
The umbrella definition of prostitution under Florida law is as the giving or receiving of sexual activity in exchange for something of value. As such, police could arrest the prostitute, the john paying for sex, or the individual arranging the transaction – i.e., the pimp or madam. Several specific acts of prostitution are provided in the statute, including:
- Owning, operating, and/or offering building or other place for purposes of sex trade;
- Entering or remaining in a place for prostitution;
- Offering someone to engage in sex for money;
- Hiring a prostitute or offering someone to engage in prostitution; and
- Directing or transporting someone to a place where prostitution will occur.
The crime of solicitation involves enticing, encouraging, or procuring a person to engage in any of these acts of prostitution. In addition, to crack down on the pimp and madam as a player in the transaction, the statute also includes two unique offenses:
- Assignation to commit prostitution, which involves making a sex-for-money appointment; and
- Deriving support from sex trade proceeds, such as the percentage or other amount a pimp or madam may skim off the top.
Penalties for Prostitution Crimes in Florida
For the prostitute, a first-time offense is a Second Degree Misdemeanor punishable by 60 days in jail, probation, and a $500 fine. The sanctions are harsher for the Johns, who face First Degree Misdemeanor charges. A conviction could lead to a year in jail and maximum fine of $1,000.
The charges could get extremely steep for a pimp or madam, since deriving support from prostitution is a Second Degree Felony. A conviction could mean up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Count on a South Florida Prostitution Defense Attorney for Legal Help
It is helpful to know that prostitution and solicitation are NOT the same under Florida law, but you put your rights at risk if you attempt to defend yourself with just a basic understanding. For information on how our team can assist with your case, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can schedule a consultation at our offices in Fort Lauderdale to review defense options.