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Fort Lauderdale Defense Attorneys Explain How to Beat Prostitution Charges

Fort Lauderdale Defense Attorneys Explain How to Beat Prostitution Charges

Getting arrested for prostitution can be scary. Even if you weren’t exchanging sex for money, just being accused can ruin your reputation. Fort Lauderdale defense attorneys know how to fight these charges and protect your rights. This article will explain the common defenses they use to get charges dismissed or reduced.

What Constitutes Prostitution in Florida?

Under Florida statute 796.07, prostitution involves agreeing to engage in sexual activity in exchange for something of value. This includes oral sex, sexual intercourse, or other lewd acts. The “something of value” doesn’t have to be money – it could be drugs, shelter, transportation, etc. Simply offering or agreeing is enough, even if no sex ultimately happens.

Prostitution charges often arise from undercover sting operations. An undercover cop will pose as a customer and try to solicit sex from someone. Or, they’ll respond to an escort ad and arrange a meeting. Merely showing up to the meeting, even if no agreement is made, can lead to an arrest. Florida also has “solicitation of prostitution” laws that make it illegal to induce someone else to commit prostitution.

Common Defenses Against Prostitution Charges

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys use various strategies to fight prostitution accusations, like:

  • Entrapment – This argues police used coercive tactics that would make an ordinary law-abiding person commit a crime. For example, an undercover cop pestering someone repeatedly to have sex after they initially refused.
  • Lack of agreement – The accused must have clearly agreed to engage in a sex act for an exchange. Vague statements won’t suffice. If money is found, the defense can argue it was for non-sexual companionship or modeling.
  • Misidentification – Eyewitness mistakes happen, especially in quick undercover operations. The defense can challenge if the accused is the right person.
  • Puffing – Some statements are too exaggerated or fanciful to be considered serious offers. For example, an escort saying “I’ll do anything you want” may be mere puffery not indicating actual intent.

A skilled lawyer will look for issues with how the cops handled the investigation and arrest. Sloppy police work like lack of probable cause, improper interrogation tactics, or mishandling evidence can sometimes invalidate the whole case.

What Are the Penalties for Prostitution in Florida?

A first offense for prostitution in Florida is a second-degree misdemeanor. Penalties can include:

  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Probation up to 6 months
  • Up to $500 fine
  • Mandatory STD/HIV testing
  • Having a criminal record

Subsequent prostitution convictions will be first-degree misdemeanors with harsher punishments – up to one year in jail. Getting charged with other crimes like racketeering or money laundering can also increase penalties. And merely being accused – even if charges get dismissed – could still impact jobs, housing, reputation, etc. That’s why fighting the charges is so important.

Diversion Programs May Avoid a Conviction

Many Florida counties offer pretrial diversion programs for first-time prostitution defendants. These involve classes about the harms of prostitution, health risks, job skills training, etc. Upon successful completion, the charges get dropped. Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyers can advise if this is an appropriate option.

How Lawyers Defend Against Solicitation of Prostitution

Soliciting someone else to commit prostitution brings similar penalties as prostitution itself. Common defenses against solicitation charges include:

  • No real intent – The accused was joking, exaggerating, or there was some misunderstanding. Hyperbole is not enough to prove intent.
  • Entrapment – Undercover cops pressured the person into soliciting when they weren’t predisposed to do so.
  • Unreliable evidence – Circumstantial evidence like phone records, texts, online ads, etc. can often be explained away or argued as insufficient.

An assertive defense lawyer will hold police accountable and make them prove solicitation beyond a reasonable doubt.

Don’t Take Chances – Consult a Lawyer Immediately

Prostitution accusations shouldn’t be taken lightly. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you of all options and build the strongest case. Time is of the essence, so don’t delay in seeking legal help. Fort Lauderdale attorneys are available 24/7 to provide skilled representation and protect your rights after an arrest.

With an aggressive defense focused on the flaws of the state’s case, many of these charges can be beaten. But it takes a knowledgeable lawyer, thorough investigation, and compelling presentation to the judge. Take a proactive approach and fight to clear your name. The stakes are too high not to.


Florida Statute 796.07

Florida Misdemeanor Crimes & Penalties

How Florida’s Prostitution Laws Target Gay Men

Florida Prostitution Laws & Penalties

Prostitution Charges in Florida: An Overview

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