Understanding Florida Prostitution Law
It is estimated that between 1-2 million people engage in prostitution in the United States, according to Nobullying.com. Prostitution is becoming more common due to the proliferation of web sites offering escort services (e.g., Craigslist, CityVibe, etc.). But if you meet someone on Tinder and engage in sexual activity, does that constitute prostitution? If you are facing criminal charges, you need answers to important questions that could affect your future.
Under Florida law, prostitution is defined as the giving or receiving of your body to engage in sexual activity in exchange for monetary compensation. There are actually eight different acts that could prompt prostitution charges:
- Operating, or having an ownership interest in a prostitution-related business;
- Performing sexual acts in exchange for money
- Offering a residence or building for prostitution to occur
- Aiding in the transportation of a person to a destination where prostitution will occur
- Scheduling an appointment for prostitution
- Soliciting another person to engage in prostitution
- Entering a place where prostitution is occurring
- Hiring someone engaged in prostitution
Penalties If Convicted of Prostitution
If you are facing charges of engaging in prostitution, the penalties can be quite severe, if convicted. If you have no prior prostitution convictions on your record, you are likely looking at a second degree misdemeanor which may mean you have to serve up to sixty days in jail, serve six months of probation, and pay a fine of $500.
If you have a prior prostitution conviction, you will likely be looking at a first degree misdemeanor which may result in you having to serve up to one year in jail and one year of probation, in addition to a fine of up to $1,000.
If you have two or more prostitution convictions, you are looking at a third degree felony which may result in you having to serve five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Penalties If Convicted of Soliciting Prostitution
If you were the “customer” seeking to engage a prostitute, you could also face serious criminal penalties, if convicted. You would need to complete 100 hours of community service, attend an awareness course on prostitution and human trafficking, undergo screening for any sexually transmitted diseases, and pay a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to these mandatory penalties a judge can also order you to serve up to one year in jail, one year of probation, and pay an additional $1,000 fine. And this is if you do not have a prior conviction on your record. If you have a prior conviction, the charge immediately jumps to a third degree felony which entails a minimum jail sentence of 10 days and a much longer prison sentence of five years, along with five years of probation.
Common Defenses to Prostitution
There are an array of defenses that can be utilized to combat a prostitution charge, including whether police had a lawful warrant to enter the premises, whether Miranda Rights were given, and whether you were actually engaging in consensual sex without the expectation of compensation. To discover all of the available defenses you may be able to raise, speak to an experienced Winter Park prostitution defense attorney.
Speak to a Winter Park Prostitution Defense Attorney Today
The Winter Park lawyers of Cotter Zelman, P.A. are here to help. Our law firm has a reputation for skillfully and effectively handling complex criminal matters, including cases involving prostitution.