Former State Prosecutor
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In Florida, it is illegal to solicit a person for sexual acts. Solicitation is the encouraging, bribing, requesting or commanding a person to commit a crime. In the case of solicitation for prostitution, it is quite literally asking that one commit prostitution. This crime often is a misdemeanor, but the consequences can be harsh.
Being convicted of soliciting a prostitute can have a serious impact on your personal and professional life. In addition, you could face jail time, fines or both. If you are charged with soliciting a person for a sexual act, contacting an experienced attorney is critical.
If you have been arrested for solicitation for prostitution, contact a skilled St. Petersburg solicitation defense attorney at Morris Law Firm, P.A.. Solicitation is a misdemeanor, but it can have a severe impact on your life. The criminal record and the societal stigma could impact you long after the court-issued penalties.
Melinda Morris of Morris Law Firm, P.A. is a former assistant state attorney who understands both sides of the law. She has more than 15 years of experience in the legal field and she knows what it takes to get a favorable outcome in a case. She can help you protect your future and your criminal record.
Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients throughout the Tampa Bay area including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas County, Tampa, Hillsborough County and areas throughout other surrounding counties. Call (727) 388-4736 or visit our online form to schedule a free consultation.
A person could be charged with solicitation if he or she encourages, bribes, requests or commands a person to engage in sexual acts, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 796.07. The person who is being bribed does not have to be considered a prostitute for the charge to apply. The offense generally is considered a misdemeanor.
It is not necessary for money to exchange hands, only the offer of money needs to be made. As well, it is not necessary that a sexual act is committed, or that the person solicited actually be willing or able to commit the crime of prostitution.
For instance, if a person solicits an undercover police officer, he or she still could be charged with solicitation. Law enforcement agencies throughout the country often charge people in these scenarios.
Solicitation of a prostitute is a second-degree misdemeanor for a first violation, which could mean up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. A second offense is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, which could include up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
A third or subsequent violation would be considered felony of the third degree. This could include up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. A person who is charged with a third or subsequent violation could be offered admission to a pretrial intervention program or a substance-abuse treatment program.
If the sex worker, or the person being solicited, is a minor the charges could be more severe. It would be increased by one degree. For example, if a person originally would be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, but a minor was involved, it could be a third-degree felony.
A recent change to Florida’s Statute on Prostitution (Florida Statute § 796.07) imposes a civil penalty in addition to the above criminal penalties for Solicitation of Prostitution. Any person who would, “...solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation” is subject to a $5000.00 civil penalty under Florida Statute § 796.07(6) if the violation results in any disposition by the court other than an acquittal or dismissal of the charges. This means that even the normally beneficial result of a Withhold of Adjudication will not avoid the $5000.00 civil penalty.
To avoid the civil penalty an alleged offender would have to have the charges dismissed, or go to a jury trial and be found not guilty (acquittal). Most alleged Solicitation of Prostitution offenders are not aware of the significant potential financial penalty involved in the crime. It is critically important in these cases to deal successfully with the criminal charge so that the civil financial penalty may also be avoided.
Other consequences could include:
Building a strong defense, in any case, is important. In solicitation cases, an attorney at Morris Law Firm, P.A. can begin discussing the facts of your case with you early on to determine what defense might be available to you. Some possible defenses could include:
We will strive to file any necessary motions to dismiss or motions to attempt to exclude evidence in an effort to maximize your opportunity for a positive outcome. As your criminal defense lawyer, we will represent you at any necessary pre-trial hearings, pre-trial motions and at trial. We will work to ensure your rights are represented.
If you have been arrested and charged with solicitation for prostitution, contact a St. Petersburg lawyer to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case. Call Morris Law Firm, P.A. at (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free consultation. Your reputation is important, and Morris Law Firm, P.A. can help you protect it.
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