Understanding Solicitation Laws in Florida
Most states have laws to ward off citizens from hiring prostitutes, a profession which is illegal in all 50 states. Basically, by punishing the Johns that solicit sexual services, the state aims to somehow curb that industry (whether that’s working is another story). Regardless of whether you think escort services should be legal or not, understanding solicitation laws in Florida can help keep you out of jail.
In this article, we’ll cover the actual meaning of solicitation in Florida, what it entails and what can happen if you’re charged with solicitation. For the most up-to-date legal advice, however, you should contact Mike G Law.
What is Considered Solicitation in Florida?
In the state of Florida, solicitation is fairly clear and void of legalese. Florida Code Section 796.07 states the illegal act as “purchas[ing] the services of any person engaged in prostitution.”
The code goes on to say that “solicit[ing], induc[ing], entic[ing], or procur[ing] another to commit prostitution” is also considered to be solicitation.
Note that even if you do not have sex with a prostitute or escort, you can be charged with solicitation. The point is that the intent existed. So, if you are caught speaking with a known prostitute and the police think you’ve handed over money, they may attempt to charge you with a crime.
What is the Solicitation of a Minor in Florida?
Any crime where a minor is a victim will be harshly prosecuted. If you’re charged with an offense involving a minor, it’s crucial to secure legal representation immediately. Otherwise, you may be railroaded.
Using the internet to induce a child into sex or sexual behavior is a serious offense. Even if the child does not agree—or if the person is only pretending to be a child in a sting—you can be charged with soliciting a minor, which carries stiff penalties.
While there are defenses to this type of charge (like entrapment or lack of criminal intent), you need a lawyer because the punishment if convicted is severe.
Solicitation of a minor is generally a second-degree felony and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and up to a $10,000 fine. Plus, if multiple devices are used, you can be charged per device or service. So, for example, if you used your home computer and your smartphone, that could result in two charges, which means double the punishment. Email and text? Two charges. And the charges will stack up quickly thanks to the various tech tools at our disposal.
If communication leads to establishing a meeting and the adult travels to meet the minor, that will lead to additional charges.
What is the Punishment for Solicitation in Florida?
The punishment for solicitation will vary based on whether it is a first-time offense or not, however, some aspects are the same for everybody convicted of solicitation of prostitution.
If you’re convicted of soliciting a prostitute, you will be required to attend a prostitution and human trafficking awareness course, complete 100 hours of community training, get tested for STDs, and pay a fine of $5,000. Even if you’ve been charged before and completed the requirements, you will need to do them again.
For a first-time offender, solicitation is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. Conviction can result in up to one year in jail, one year of probation, and up to a $1,000 fine.
A second-time offender will face third-degree felony charges, which are more serious and can result in stiffer penalties. If convicted, they face a minimum of 10 days in jail and up to five years in prison, five years of probation, up to 60 days of vehicle impoundment, and up to a $5,000 fine.
A third-time offense is considered a second-degree felony, which is punishable with up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, loss of a vehicle for 60 days, and up to $10,000 in fees.
Soliciting a prostitute may seem like a harmless crime, however, it can have major consequences for your career, finances, and relationships. If you’re convicted, you will have a black mark on your record that follows you around.
What Happens if I Am Charged with Solicitation in Florida?
If you are charged with a crime, whether it’s solicitation, another sexual offense, or any other crime, it’s crucial that you seek legal representation.
While you will be given the opportunity to secure a free public defender, these lawyers are often overworked and burdened with heavy caseloads. They will be unable to give your case the attention it deserves and may push you to settle your case so they can reduce their own caseload.
Make sure your rights are protected—hire a skilled Tampa defense attorney.
Need Help with a Legal Defense for Solicitation? Here’s What To Do
As a former sex crimes prosecutor, Mike G understands how prosecutors work when dealing with cases of a sexual nature. Too often, individuals charged with sexual crimes are treated as if they’re guilty until proven innocent. And even then, because of the connotations and social taboos that are tied to sex crimes, one’s reputation can be ruined. These types of salacious allegations tend to take on a life of their own, and the internet has made it harder to forget. Allegations and news stories may pop up when an employer or future romantic partner searches your name online. If you’re charged with solicitation, remember that the prosecutors will treat it as a serious offense, and you should too. Hire a defense attorney that’s will stand by your side and help you out.
If you’re charged with a sex crime, get Mike G on your side. He’s ready to fight for you and will work hard to ensure your rights are protected. Mike G is always forthright—he’ll let you know what to expect and give you the legal advice you need to hear so you can make the best choices for your situation.