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St. Petersburg Prostitution Lawyer

Aggressive Defense Against Prostitution Charges in Florida

Sex work is on the rise in Florida. In 2017, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released arrest reports concerning prostitution, which revealed that 2,468 people were arrested for prostitution-related offenses. Now more than ever, law enforcement is on high alert to enforce penalties for prostitution.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for engaging in prostitution, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You may face serious penalties, including possible jail or prison time. If you're convicted for a third time, you may face felony charges.

Law enforcement frequently conducts prostitution stings in Florida. It's common for undercover officers to peruse the streets looking for a "date." Often, these stings are videotaped and create some compelling evidence. If you or someone you know has been charged with committing prostitution, you must gain legal representation.

Find quality legal representation with the attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. Our attorneys are skilled in the courtroom and compassionate with every client. We will discuss all your options to help you get the best possible outcome.

Call Morris Law Firm, P.A. today at (727) 592-5885 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our prostitution attorneys in St. Petersburg!

What is Prostitution?

Prostitution involves the exchange of sexual services for compensation. This can include various activities such as solicitation, engaging in sexual acts for payment, or aiding and abetting prostitution. Understanding the specific elements that constitute prostitution is crucial when facing legal challenges in this realm.

Florida Prostitution Laws

Florida Statute § 796.07 states that it's illegal to engage in or offer to engage in prostitution. The statute also includes any acts of assignation or lewdness. Lewdness is an obscene or indecent act, and assignation is when a person makes an appointment for prostitution.

Florida's Jury Instructions Section 23.7 outlines the elements the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt for prostitution.

  • The defendant offered to engage in prostitution, lewdness, or assignation; and
  • During the offense, the defendant was 18 years or older.

Florida also has laws concerning forced prostitution. Florida Statute § 796.04 states it's illegal to force, compel, or coerce another person into prostitution. Victims of sex trafficking will not be prosecuted for prostitution.

What are the Penalties for Prostitution in Florida?

A prostitution conviction can lead to harsh penalties. The legal consequences for prostitution depend on the offender's criminal history.

A first-time prostitution offense is a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 60 days in jail; and
  • A possible $500 fine.

A second prostitution offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, which can result in:

  • Up to one year in jail; and
  • A possible fine of up to $1,000.

A third prostitution conviction will result in a third-degree felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to five years in prison and
  • A possible fine of up to $5,000.

People who force or compel others to commit sex trafficking may be charged with forced prostitution. Forced prostitution is also a third-degree felony.

It's important to note a felony conviction carries additional consequences. Released felons have a tough time assimilating back into society. They may need help gaining housing, employment, or maintaining personal relationships. Felons are also prohibited from owning firearms and may have to disclose their conviction in job interviews.

Defenses Against Prostitution Charges

Mounting a strong defense is essential when facing prostitution charges. Our skilled attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A., employ a range of strategic defenses tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Possible defenses against prostitution charges include:

  • Entrapment: Entrapment may be a viable defense if law enforcement employs tactics that lead to the commission of a crime that the individual would not have otherwise committed.
  • Lack of Evidence: Challenging the sufficiency of evidence is a fundamental defense strategy. Our attorneys meticulously review the prosecution's case to identify weaknesses and inconsistencies.
  • Fourth Amendment Violations: Unlawful searches and seizures can violate an individual's Fourth Amendment rights. If evidence was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, it may be deemed inadmissible.
  • Mistaken Identity: Proving mistaken identity can be a compelling defense strategy, demonstrating that the accused was not involved in the alleged prostitution activities.
  • Lack of Intent: Establishing that there was no intent to engage in prostitution is a viable defense. This may involve demonstrating a misunderstanding or lack of awareness regarding the nature of the alleged transaction.

Drug Court for Sex Workers in Florida

Some people choose to commit prostitution for the financial aspect. However, many people are involved in sex work because of drugs. Florida has recognized that drug use can lead to criminal activity, so they created drug courts. Drug court offers you a way to stay sober and avoid statutory penalties.

Offenders may commit crimes because they are desperate to obtain drugs. The purpose of drug courts is to stop this vicious cycle of drug abuse and criminal activity. If you are accepted into a drug court program, you won't have to face criminal penalties. Instead, you will be required to complete the conditions of the program. Once the program is completed, the charges may be dropped or reduced. The court will review your charges to assess your eligibility for drug court. Florida Statute § 397.334(3) states the following factors the court will consider when deliberating drug court.

  • Your criminal history;
  • The outcome of a substance abuse screening;
  • Your willingness to enter the program;
  • The recommendation of the state attorney, defense attorney, and victim; and
  • Total sentence points.

Not everyone is eligible for drug court. Crimes that are too violent or offenders with a long criminal history cannot qualify. You can participate in a drug court program if you meet the following criteria.

  • The offense was a third-degree and non-violent felony;
  • The crime was committed on or after July 1, 2009;
  • You have less than 52 sentence points;
  • You are willing to enter substance abuse treatment;
  • You thoroughly understand the program, and
  • You have no current or previous forcible felony convictions.

Solicitation of Prostitution 

Sex workers have become a lot more accessible thanks to the internet. Websites such as Craigslist have become a haven for escorts and their customers. However, compensating another person for sexual activity is illegal in Florida. Soliciting a prostitute can result in serious consequences, including expensive fines and possible incarceration.

If you or someone you know has been charged with solicitation of prostitution, you must contact an experienced attorney. Soliciting a prostitute is a serious crime that could affect your daily life. You could have a criminal record and have difficulty gaining employment.

Contact Our St. Petersburg Prostitution Attorney Today

Navigating the legal challenges associated with prostitution charges requires the expertise of a seasoned legal team. Morris Law Firm, P.A., is dedicated to providing aggressive and effective defense strategies for individuals facing prostitution-related offenses in St. Petersburg, Florida. If you need legal representation, contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward safeguarding your rights and future.

Contact Morris Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule a meeting with our prostitution lawyer in St. Petersburg!

Meet The Attorneys Melinda Morris & Seth Shapiro

Why Choose Our Law Firm?

See the Difference Our Service Provides
    Melinda Morris is a former prosecutor and has handled thousands of criminal cases from investigation through sentencing enabling us to identify weaknesses in the State’s case against you.
    We never settle for the easiest outcome or the typical result. We know how to negotiate with the State Attorney and we will work to get you the best possible outcome.
    Melinda Morris has practiced criminal law for over 20 years. Our clients trust advice that comes from experience in nearly every type of criminal case.
    We will know every client’s story because we will take the time to listen and understand. You will work with your attorney one-on-one at every stage of the process.
    You will have the cell phone number of your attorney. Your attorney will directly return your call, email, or text to answer your pressing questions.
    The government is wasting no time in trying to prove your guilt, a proactive defense is imperative. Prompt and decisive action from your defense attorney is of critical importance.

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At Morris Law Firm, P.A., your satisfaction is our priority! See for yourself what our clients have to say about working with us.

    "Look no further than Morris Law"
    Seth Shapiro is the most professional, courteous, caring attorneys I’ve dealt with in all of my 70 years. He did a fabulous job representing me defending me and getting charges dropped. I couldn’t have dreamed of better counsel.
    - Stephen on AVVO
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    100% satisfied with Morris law group. Melinda was able to resolve my legal issues with no additional expenses other than my original retainer. I highly recommend this firm for professional and competent representation.
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    If you want the best legal representation, look no further than Morris law firm. Melinda reassured me from the very first time we spoke over the phone. She is very professional and keeps you updated on the progress of your case. I really liked that I didn’t have to reach out to her Everything was smooth, straightforward and she put my mind at ease. You’ll be in good hands with her. Thank you Melinda
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    "Thanks to The Morris Law Firm"
    Mr.Shapiro helped my case by looking at the police body cam diligently which supported my testimony . He presented evidence to the prosecutor .I hired Seth Shapiro to defend me after a domestic battery charge in which I was wrongfully accused and arrested. My case was dismissed thankfully. .Couldn't have asked for a better outcome. This was an extreme difficult time for me. Seth Shapiro was knowledgeable and compassionate in my case. He followed up with my concerns. I would highly recommend this firm.
    - Melody Z.
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    Melinda has represented me on numerous cases and the outcome has always been great. Melinda goes above and beyond to defend your rights and get you the best possible outcome. I highly recommend hiring her.
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    "They closed my case in a very short terms, for what I'm very grateful."
    Morris Law Firm is a very professional and responsive. They closed my case in a very short terms, for what I'm very grateful. Strongly recommend them especially Seth Shapiro. He decreased my case from felony to misdemeanor in short terms and during 6 months my case was totally closed.
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