Law enforcement in Florida makes crimes related to prostitution a priority and treats offenders harshly. Individuals who attempt to solicit, or buy, sex are usually the focus of law enforcement efforts. This requires assistance from a dedicated defense attorney.
Conviction on a solicitation charge could lead to public embarrassment, family problems, and professional risk, in addition to the statutory penalties. Work with a Clermont solicitation lawyer to resolve the charges in a way that has minimal impact on your life.
Florida Statutes § 796.07 defines prostitution-related offenses and prohibits a broad range of activities. Arranging to purchase sexual contact for something of value is a crime. Sexual contact does not need to happen, and an exchange of money need not take place, in order to commit the crime of solicitation. The attempt to reach an agreement to exchange something for sex is enough to justify the charge.
Under the definition of solicitation, the arrangement does not need to include penetration. Any act intended to elicit a sexual response could lead to solicitation charges.
The definition is broader still if the person allegedly soliciting is an adult and the target is a minor. Encouraging, luring, or enticing a minor into any act of a sexual nature could be solicitation of a minor. This act is a serious charge with severe consequences, and anyone accused of this crime should contact a Clermont solicitation attorney immediately after their arrest.
If both parties are adults, prosecutors usually charge solicitation as a second-degree misdemeanor, which could lead to up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Someone with one prior conviction could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge, potentially leading to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Ten days in jail is mandatory after a second conviction. A prosecutor could charge someone with two or more prior convictions with a third-degree felony, which could lead to up to five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine.
Everyone convicted of solicitation must take an HIV test and participate in a sexual violence prevention class. An offender would face driver’s license suspension if they used their car to solicit prostitution. Everyone convicted of soliciting prostitution must register for the state’s public database, which contains the offender’s name, address, color photograph, and last known address. The person’s information remains in the database for five years and is removed at that time if they have not committed any further offenses.
If the person in Clermont accused of soliciting is an adult and the target is a minor, the crime is far more serious, and the penalties will be harsher. Any attempt to lure a minor into a sexual performance or activity is a crime, even if the person that the accused solicited was an adult posing as a minor. Soliciting a minor over the internet is a third-degree felony and traveling to meet a minor for sexual purposes is a second-degree felony. In addition to a long prison sentence, a conviction of solicitation of a minor could require registration as a sex offender.
Solicitation charges require an intent to buy sexual contact, and the prosecutor’s evidence of intent is sometimes ambiguous or weak. A Clermont attorney could exploit the lack of evidence to get a solicitation charge dismissed or reduced.
Solicitation arrests often result from undercover police operations. If the evidence shows that police encouraged the accused to solicit sex, and the accused only engaged in the activity due to the encouragement, an attorney could argue police entrapment as a defense.
Police conduct also could provide a defense if law enforcement officers engaged in an illegal entry or search, or engaged in electronic surveillance. The U.S. Constitution offers protection against over-zealous police. An advocate could analyze the police procedures and bring a motion to exclude evidence that the police obtained illegally.
People facing solicitation charges are often surprised at the consequences that await them. Working with a Clermont solicitation lawyer gives you the best chance of resolving the charges with as little disruption to your personal or professional life as possible. Call The Umansky Law Firm immediately if prosecutors charge you with this crime.
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