Need to Hire a West Palm Beach Prostitution Attorney?
If you are facing prostitution charges, you are at risk of criminal penalties like fines, jail time, mandatory education programs, community service, and so on. This is in addition to the public embarrassment of having it on your criminal record.
Facing such charges puts you in a very delicate position that only a well-trained and experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to get you out of.
Our criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Brian M. Carroll, P.A., can help if you are charged with prostitution or solicitation in West Palm Beach, Florida. We have many years of experience representing our clients and have succeeded in securing favorable outcomes consistently. As such, we have the experience and the knowledge to represent you.
Prostitution and Other Related Offenses Under Florida Law
Florida Statute Section 796.07 defines prostitution as the “giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire.” In other words, prostitution is offering sexual services for money or paying to receive them. It goes on to define sexual activity as involving a wide range of acts, including different forms of penetration and the fondling of another’s sexual organs for the purpose of masturbation.
Florida law also identifies another prostitution-related offense known as assignation, defined as “making an appointment or engagement for prostitution or lewdness…” The term lewdness is used to refer to obscene or indecent sexual acts. Several acts relating to prostitution, assignation, and lewdness are made illegal by Florida statutes. They include:
- Offering to commit, committing, or engaging in prostitution, lewdness, or assignation if you are over 18 years old
- Soliciting, inducing, enticing, or procuring someone to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation
- Offering to secure another person for prostitution, lewdness, or assignation
- Owning, establishing, maintaining, or operating any place for lewdness, assignation, or prostitution
- Receiving, offering to, or agreeing to receive any person into any place for lewdness, prostitution, or assignation
- Directing anyone to a place with reasonable knowledge that the purpose of their going there is prostitution, lewdness, or assignation
- Living in, entering, or remaining in any place used for the purpose of prostitution, lewdness, or assignation
- Aiding and abetting any of the acts mentioned above
- Purchasing the services of a person engaged in prostitution
As is evident from the long list of prostitution-related offenses, it is very easy to be charged with prostitution in Florida. You do not even have to be directly involved in the act itself.
Penalties for Prostitution in Florida
While many may debate the morality or lack thereof of the act, prostitution remains illegal in the state of Florida. More than that, it is punished severely and can easily lead to a lengthy jail sentence, especially if prosecuted as a felony.
The penalties for acts of prostitution that do not involve soliciting, inducing, enticing, or procuring are as follows:
- a second-degree misdemeanor conviction for a first offense (imprisonment for not more than 60 days, a fine of up to $500, or both)
- a first-degree misdemeanor conviction for a second offense (imprisonment for not more than one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both)
- a third-degree felony conviction for a third or subsequent offense (imprisonment for not more than five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both)
Additionally, where the accused owns or operates an establishment used for prostitution-related acts, the offense will be reclassified to the next higher degree if the place is a massage parlor. For instance, a first offense becomes a first-degree misdemeanor, and so on.
For acts of prostitution involving the solicitation, inducement, enticement, or procurement of someone for prostitution, lewdness, or assignation, the penalties are as follows:
- a first-degree misdemeanor conviction for a first offense
- a third-degree felony conviction and a mandatory minimum of 10 days incarceration for a second offense
- a second-degree felony conviction for a third or subsequent offense (imprisonment for not more than 15 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both)
- 100 hours of community service, regardless of being a first-time or repeat offender
- paying for and attending an educational program about the adverse consequences of prostitution and human trafficking
Florida Statute §796.08 also states that anyone convicted of prostitution or procuring someone to commit prostitution must undergo compulsory testing for sexually transmitted diseases, including but not limited to HIV.
Finally, depending on the facts of the crime, a person convicted of a prostitution-related offense may be required to register as a sex offender. This could be the case if you solicit a minor to engage in a prostitution offense.
How Our Attorneys Can Defend You Against Prostitution Charges
The specific defense strategy our team will pursue depends on the specific facts of your case. However, our lawyers may explore some common lines of defense for your case.
A law enforcement officer may have induced or coerced you into committing prostitution even if you initially had no intention to do so. This is known as entrapment, and it can serve as a defense against prostitution charges. However, only an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to successfully use this defense.
For you to be convicted of any crime, the prosecution must establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This high standard of proof requires a lot of evidence to support the charge. If there isn’t enough evidence to support the charges against you, we may be able to get your case dismissed or negotiate a favorable plea deal.
One of the things we do is conduct our own investigation into your case and closely analyze the circumstances surrounding it. In doing so, we can determine if any evidence adduced in your case was acquired illegally. If so, we can ensure that the evidence is inadmissible and cannot be used against you during trial. This weakens the prosecution’s case and may motivate them to drop the charges against you or agree to a lenient plea deal.
Let Us Fight Your Prostitution Charges
If you are facing prostitution charges in West Palm Beach County, look no further than The Law Offices of Brian M. Carroll, P.A. We are well-versed in Florida’s prostitution statute and understand that the stakes are high for you. We take pleasure in providing you with superior, compassionate, and professional legal representation. Contact us now for a free consultation.