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Florida Statutes § 796.07 defines prostitution as “the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire but excludes sexual activity for spouses.” In conjunction with the rest of the statute, this definition effectively criminalizes buying, selling, or soliciting sexual acts for money. When considering prostitution, most people would picture someone caught trying to pay for sex; this is typically the crime of solicitation, where an individual solicits or otherwise buys illegal sexual services.
The statute also makes various acts relating to prostitution illegal, not only solicitation. Below are more criminal acts covered by the statute:
Notably, these criminal acts typically require that the defendant knew or ought to have known that prostitution was occurring in relation to the act. For example, transporting someone at their request would not be a crime when the driver did not or had no reason to know the individual would engage in prostitution.
If you have been accused of prostitution in Florida, it is imperative that you understand what is at stake. You could lose your reputation, your freedom, and your future. Let Galigani Law Firm step in and handle the legal details of your case. Gainesville criminal defense attorney Dean Galigani has years of experience defending individuals charged with sex crimes.
Galigani Law Firm serves clients in Florida, including Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, Columbia County and Gilchrist County. Call (352) 375-0812 now to arrange a free consultation today.
The criminal penalties for prostitution can vary depending on how many previous convictions the defendant has for soliciting prostitution. The penalties also vary depending on what act was committed. Solicitation generally carries harsher penalties, while the other crimes covered by the statute carry lower penalties.
The penalties for soliciting prostitution are more severe than for the servicer themselves. Below are the penalties for soliciting prostitution and penalties for subsequent criminal violations.
Other crimes under the statute typically carry lighter penalties than those for solicitation. The penalties and subsequent violation penalties include:
A handful of defenses to prostitution can be skillfully executed by an experienced defense attorney fighting a prostitution case. Some examples are included below.
Entrapment typically occurs when a law enforcement or government official causes an individual to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed and subsequently arrests them for such a crime. Entrapment defenses are complex and difficult to argue successfully because the defense typically hinges upon showing that law enforcement induced the defendant to commit the crime and that the defendant lacked the predisposition to commit the crime. A skilled defense attorney will understand the defense well and how to assert it.
No Agreement To Pay
A conviction for solicitation of prostitution requires that the servicer and solicitor have agreed on payment. Sex, or sexual favors, are not illegal, but forming an agreement to pay for sex or such favors is unlawful. As a result, if there was no communication or otherwise established agreement to pay for prostitution, this could be very helpful to a defendant’s case.
Lack Of Evidence
If the prosecution lacks evidence for solicitation or other crimes under this statute, their case against the accused may be damaged. A lack of evidence, for example, could include being unable to show the requisite state of mind required for the crime. To further clarify, if a defendant did not intend to purchase sex services but was only picking the individual up for a ride, then a conviction is unlikely. Similarly, if a defendant was unaware that two individuals were renting a room for the purposes of prostitution, then the defendant who rented the room had most likely not committed a crime.
When minors are involved in prostitution situations, those charged with crimes are much more likely to see far more severe punishments. Soliciting or involving minors in prostitution or other exploitation is generally considered human trafficking under Florida Statutes § 787.06(3)(g). This crime is typically charged as a life felony and may carry a lifetime prison sentence and a maximum fine of $15,000. These solicitation charges are not limited to soliciting minors but also apply to soliciting adults that the accused believes are minors.
Notably, children are considered victims of human trafficking when involved in prostitution and are ordinarily not charged with crimes under the relevant statutes.
The statute of limitations is a law that bars the prosecution from bringing charges after a certain point of commission (or discovery of commission) of the crime. In essence, if the allotted time passes and no charges are brought, the State will not be allowed to charge the defendant. For prostitution charges, the first offense has a limitation of one year. A second offense has a limit of two years, and a third offense has a limitation of three years. Solicitation charges, specifically, have limitations of two years for the first offense and three years for the second and third offenses.
If prostitution involves minors, there are no time limitations for the State to charge a defendant because this form of human trafficking is a life felony.
Sexual Offender and Predators Search | Florida Department of Law Enforcement – This resource offers a search tool for finding sex offenders in Florida localities. The website also provides helpful information regarding the registration of sexual offenders.
Human Trafficking | Florida Department of Children and Families – This resource offers pertinent information regarding human trafficking, including the definition of this offense and how to report human trafficking.
If you have been charged with prostitution in Gainesville, FL, criminal defense attorney Dean Galigani at Galigani Law Firm will stand by your side and advocate for your rights at every stage of the process. He understands what you’re up against and knows what defense strategies are the most effective.
Call the Galigani Law Firm today for a free consultation with a Gainesville sex crime attorney at (352) 375-0812. Attorney Galigani and his legal team accept clients throughout the greater Alachua County area including Gainesville, High Springs, Alachua, Archer, La Crosse, and Waldo.
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