Call us 24/7 (727) 388-4736

Engaging in Prostitution

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

If you or someone you know has been arrested for engaging in prostitution, it’s crucial that you 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. Be proactive about your future and contact an attorney at Morris Law Firm, P.A..

Attorney for Prostitution in St. Petersburg, Florida

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 creates some compelling evidence. If you or someone you know has been charged with committing prostitution, it’s important that you gain legal representation.

Find quality legal representation with the attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A.. Our attorneys are not only skilled in the courtroom, but compassionate with every client. We will discuss all your possible options to help you get the best possible outcome. Contact us today at (727) 388-4736 for a free consultation.

Morris Law Firm, P.A. accepts clients accused of sex crimes throughout greater Pinellas County area including Seminole, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. 

Overview of Prostitution in Florida

Florida Laws for Engaging in Prostitution

The world’s “oldest profession” is not legal in the state of Florida. 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. 

Florida Penalties for Engaging in Prostitution

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 very difficult time assimilating back into society. They may have problems gaining housing, employment or maintaining personal relationships. Felons are also prohibited from owning firearms and may have to disclose their conviction in job interviews. 

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 court. 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 court 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 if you’re eligible 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. If you meet the following criteria you can participate in a drug court program.

  • 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. 

Additional Resources

Pinellas County Drug Court – Visit the official website for Pinellas County courts to find more information about Pinellas County’s drug court program. Access the site to learn more about the conditions of the program, how long drug court is, and relevant contact information. 

Annual Human Trafficking Report – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Children and Families 2016-2017 annual human trafficking report. Access the document to learn more about what human trafficking is, statistics for sex trafficking, and resources for victims of forced prostitution.  

Lawyer for Sex Workers in Pinellas County, Florida

Have you been accused of prostitution in the Pinellas County area? It’s important that you gain legal representation as soon as possible. You could face harsh penalties including expensive fines and possible incarceration. Don’t say a single word to law enforcement and contact Morris Law Firm, P.A.. 

Morris Law Firm, P.A. has represented those accused of prostitution for years. We can file motions, suppress evidence and uncover all your legal options for you. Let us be your legal partner in this process. Contact us today at (727) 388-4736 for a free consultation. 

Morris Law Firm, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater St. Petersburg area and surrounding communities including Tampa, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, and Bradenton.

This article was last updated on December 31, 2018.