Exchanging sexual contact for something of value, or attempting to do so, is solicitation. A person could be arrested for solicitation, whether they are offering sex for sale or buying it.
If both parties are adults, solicitation is a crime that carries significant consequences in many cases. If the alleged act involves an adult and a minor, penalties become much more severe and include registration as a sex offender.
Do not assume that you could handle a solicitation charge without the help of a criminal defense professional. Call a Winter Garden solicitation lawyer immediately if you were arrested and face severe penalties.
Selling sex is prostitution but it is also a solicitation crime in this state. Although police arrest people who offer to sell sex, law enforcement often targets the persons seeking to pay for it.
A person could be guilty of solicitation under the definition in Florida Statutes § 796.07 if they communicated online with someone to arrange a meeting where sex would be exchanged for money or something else of value. It is not necessary for the meeting to actually take place; attempting to arrange such a meeting is enough to convict someone of solicitation.
Any activity meant to achieve sexual arousal is sufficient to support a soliciting charge. Penetration or even physical contact with an individual’s genitals is not necessary. Because this could lead to severe penalties, an accused person should seek immediate help from an experienced solicitation attorney in Winter Garden.
Solicitation is a far more serious offense if it involves an adult seeking sexual contact with a minor, even if the minor initiates the interaction. The law presumes that minors involved in prostitution are victims of sex trafficking.
Merely encouraging the young person to engage in a sex act or any act for the sexual pleasure of the adult is a crime. This applies to activities done in person, over the internet, or even over the phone. The crime takes place when the adult requests or suggests the conduct, even if the minor does not comply with the request.
Solicitation of sex with a minor is a felony. Many state statutes could apply to this crime, and the elements the prosecution needs to prove and the defenses that could be effective depend on the specific charge. For example, in most cases, the prosecutor must prove that the other involved party was a minor. However, if the charge is internet solicitation of a minor, the age of the other party is immaterial. It matters only that the adult believed they were communicating with a minor.
The sentence a person could expect if convicted of a solicitation crime depends on their criminal history and the age of the other person involved. People with prior solicitation convictions could expect more serious consequences.
Solicitation is a second-degree misdemeanor if both parties are adults and the accused is a first-time offender. If they have prior solicitation convictions, the prosecutor could bring a first-degree misdemeanor or even third-degree felony charge. Everyone facing a solicitation charge must take an HIV test and a sexual violence prevention class. If the accused used their vehicle for solicitation, they face possible driver’s license suspension.
A crime involving soliciting a minor could be a third-degree felony, which carries a maximum five-year prison term and a $5,000 fine. If the offender was over 18 and the alleged victim under 16, the offense is a second-degree felony, and the accused could face as much as 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Variables like the accused’s criminal history, the age of the minor, and whether the accused threatened the minor could have an impact on the severity of the charges the prosecutor brings. A Winter Garden lawyer could determine how these variables affect a solicitation charge. However, a conviction for any felony sex crime requires the individual to register as a sex offender after they complete their sentence.
A conviction on a solicitation charge could lead to severe consequences but an experienced attorney could present an effective defense. Depending on the circumstances, they could challenge the prosecutor’s evidence and perhaps persuade them not to move forward with charges.
Do not take these charges lightly. Call a Winter Garden solicitation lawyer today.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys