New Soliciting Prostitution Law in Florida

If you have been arrested for solicitation of prostitution in Jacksonville FL, you were likely arrested pursuant to Florida Statute Section 796.07. This is the Florida law that prohibits offering or engaging in prostitution. The current 2015 prostitution law states:

(2) It is unlawful:
(a) To own, establish, maintain, or operate any place, structure, building, or conveyance for the purpose of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution.
(b) To offer, or to offer or agree to secure, another for the purpose of prostitution or for any other lewd or indecent act.
(c) To receive, or to offer or agree to receive, any person into any place, structure, building, or conveyance for the purpose of prostitution, lewdness, or assignation, or to permit any person to remain there for such purpose.
(d) To direct, take, or transport, or to offer or agree to direct, take, or transport, any person to any place, structure, or building, or to any other person, with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that the purpose of such directing, taking, or transporting is prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
(e) To offer to commit, or to commit, or to engage in, prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
(f) To solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
(g) To reside in, enter, or remain in, any place, structure, or building, or to enter or remain in any conveyance, for the purpose of prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
(h) To aid, abet, or participate in any of the acts or things enumerated in this subsection.
(i) To purchase the services of any person engaged in prostitution.

A bill that has passed the Florida House of Representatives will change the prostitution law. While the new law is not going to change the portion of Section 796.07 set forth in the paragraph above, it will change another section of the law. As stands, Section 796.07(4) states:

(4) A person who violates any provision of this section commits:
(a) A misdemeanor of the second degree for a first violation, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(b) A misdemeanor of the first degree for a second violation, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(c) A felony of the third degree for a third or subsequent violation, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(5) A person who is charged with a third or subsequent violation of this section shall be offered admission to a pretrial intervention program or a substance abuse treatment program as provided in s. 948.08.

Section 796.07(4) equally applies punishment to the person offering the prostitution and the person accepting it. Basically, both the prostitute and the person paying for the service are treated the same. The proposed new law recently passed by the Florida House changes this. “People who solicit prostitutes would face increased penalties under a bill that passed the Florida House. The bill that passed unanimously Thursday, attempts to deal with prostitution by going after people who pay for sex.” (WEAR News)

Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer

Changes in FL Prostitution Law?

Without the new language in HB 465, it is a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense where the defendant offers, solicits, or engages in prostitution or any of the activities set forth in Florida Statute Section 796.07(2). A second offense is a first-degree misdemeanor. A third offense is a third-degree felony. HB 465 would change that for the activities listed in Section 796.07(2)(f) only. This section makes it illegal “to solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.” If a person is caught soliciting prostitution from another person, “the penalty for a first offense would increase from a second-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor. A second offense would be a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. A third offense would be a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.”

Not only does the Florida prostitution bill increase the possible punishment for soliciting prostitution, but it also places new minimum mandatory penalties and sentences on the defendant. Any one convicted under 796.07(2)(f) will be required to perform 100 hours of community service and pay for and attend an approved educational program that focuses on the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking. If a person violates Section 796.07(2)(f) of the Florida Statutes a second or subsequent time, he or she will have to serve a mandatory 10 day jail sentence.  There is an additional punishment if a vehicle is used during the commission of the crime. If a person uses his or her vehicle while soliciting prostitution, the judge may impound or immobilize the vehicle for 60 days.

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