Fort Lauderdale Prostitution Attorney
Florida law defines prostitution as “the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire but excludes sexual activity between spouses.” Florida Statute 796.07 makes prostitution and a number of related activities illegal. The law applies equally to prostitutes and their clients (“johns”), and both may find themselves in trouble as a result of Broward County law enforcement stings.
Prostitution is a misdemeanor if it is the defendant’s first or second offense, and while jail time is possible, an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney like Mark S. Lowry will fight hard to prevent that from happening, and may be able to get you off with pretrial diversion, particularly if it is your first offense. A third offense can be charged as a felony, making the possible punishment much more severe and the necessity of an effective defense attorney all the more important.
In addition to any sentence imposed, those convicted of prostitution (as either johns or prostitutes) are required to undergo STD testing, which includes a test for human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV. Though not technically a “punishment,” this requirement is a significant (though legal) encroachment into a person’s privacy rights. If the individual tests positive, they are required to undergo treatment before they are released from jail or probation.
As with all criminal cases, the goal of the defense is to show that the prosecution has not met its burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. For charges of prostitution against an alleged prostitute or john, there are two common ways of doing thus: (1) showing that the sexual conduct included consensual, uncompensated acts between adults; and/or (2) police entrapment led to the charges. Fort Lauderdale prostitution attorney, Mark S. Lowry, is adept at determining whether these or other defenses are available in a given case.
Third-Party Prostitution Crimes
It is not just those who engage in the paid sexual act that can be held criminally liable. Florida has also criminalized “pimping” and “pandering,” though the statutes don’t use that terminology. This means that it’s illegal to derive money off of another engaging in prostitution or force someone to engage in prostitution. Both offenses are felonies under Florida law. It is also illegal to solicit someone to engage in prostitution even if it is with a third party. For example, procuring a prostitute for a business associate is illegal and the procurer can be charged with a crime.
Property and Prostitution
Even those that just provide the property on which prostitution occurs can be charged with a crime in Florida. Florida law makes it unlawful for anyone to “own, establish, maintain, or operate” an establishment for prostitution or similar acts. It is also illegal to rent a place with knowledge that it will be used for such purposes. In these types of cases, the defense usually centers around proving that the defendant did not have knowledge of the prostitution or related acts that were occurring on the property.
For Those Charged
Fort Lauderdale prostitution defense attorney Mark S. Lowry provides criminal defense services to those charged with prostitution or a related crime. Contact the offices today for a consultation on your case.