Prostitution Crimes in Pasco County
Many crimes for prostitution-related offenses have moved online. Although Backpage was shut down in April of 2018, other alternative sites have quickly taken their place.
Law enforcement officers in Pasco County, FL, have also moved their criminal investigations online using elaborate sting operations to catch prostitutes and their customers.
Prostitution crimes target people in the sex industry online including:
- the sex worker;
- the customer of the services; or
- the person who helps facilitate the transaction.
The most commonly prosecuted prostitution crimes in Pasco County, Florida, include:
- Soliciting another to Commit Prostitution;
- Offering to be a Prostitute;
- Owning or Operating a Building for Purposes of Prostitution;
- Offering a Place for Prostitution to Occur; or
- Transporting a Person to a Place of Prostitution.
Unfortunately, only the least experienced participants tend to be caught up in these sting operations.
Attorney on Soliciting a Prostitute in Pasco County, FL
If you were arrested for any type of prostitution crime in Pasco County, then your case will be prosecuted at the courthouse in New Port Richey on the west side of the county or in Dade City on the east side of the county.
If you were arrested for a prostitution-related crime, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
Florida Laws Prohibiting Prostitution and Solicitation
Florida Law defines the term “prostitution” as the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire, although the definition excludes sexual activity between spouses as provided in Section 796.07(1)(a), F.S.
Florida Statute 796.07(1)(a) defines the term “prostitution” as the giving or receiving of sexual activity for hire.
Section 796.07(2)(f), F.S., prohibits the solicitation, inducement, enticement, or procurement of another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
Pursuant to Section 796.07(1)(b) and (c), F.S., those terms are defined in the following ways:
- “Assignation” means the making of any appointment or engagement for prostitution or lewdness, or any act in furtherance of such appointment or engagement; or
- “Lewdness” means any indecent or obscene act.
Penalties for Offering to Commit Prostitution in Florida
The penalties for prostitution depend on the way the act was committed or whether the person accused has any prior convictions for similar offenses.
The crime of offering to commit prostitution as a first offense is charged as a second degree misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and up to sixty (60) days in jail.
For a second offense of offering to commit prostitution, the crime is charged as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 12 months in jail.
For a third offense of offering to commit prostitution, the crime can be charged as a third-degree felony punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and five (5) year in Florida State Prison. The crime is classified with a severity ranking of Level 1 for purposes of Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
Punishments for Soliciting Another to Commit Prostitution
If you are accused of violating Section 796.07(2)(f), F.S., by soliciting, inducing, enticing, or procuring another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation, the crime can be charged as:
- A misdemeanor of the first degree for a first violation;
- A felony of the third degree for a second violation; and
- A felony of the second degree for a third or subsequent violation.
A conviction for soliciting a prostitute also requires that you pay a $5,000 civil penalty. The court might also require that you complete 100 hours of community service, attend a human trafficking awareness course, and undergo a test for sexually transmissible diseases.
Although crimes for soliciting a prostitute rarely result in jail time for a first offense, it is important to remember that in addition to the minimum mandatory penalties, the court can impose additional penalties up to the statutory maximum for a first-degree misdemeanor which includes twelve (12) months in the county jail.
If you are convicted of soliciting another to commit prostitution and you have a prior conviction for a prostitution-related offense, then you can be charged with a third-degree felony punishable by a minimum of ten (10) days in jail and up to five (5) years in prison.
The severity ranking for the offense of soliciting another to commit prostitution with a prior conviction, the offense is classified as a Level 1 offense for purposes of Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
A third or subsequent conviction is a felony of the second degree punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
Prostitution Crimes Charged as a Second Degree Misdemeanor
Many prostitution crimes are classified as a second degree misdemeanor including:
- To own, establish, maintain, or operate any place, structure, building, or conveyance for the purpose of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution;
- To offer, or to offer or agree to secure, another for the purpose of prostitution or for any other lewd or indecent act.
- To receive, or to offer to 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;
- 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;
- For a person 18 years of age or older to offer to commit, or to commit, or to engage in, prostitution, lewdness, or assignation;
- 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;
- To aid, abet, or participate in any of the acts or things listed above; or
- To purchase the services of any person engaged in prostitution.
Pursuant to Section 796.07(4), F.S., these second degree misdemeanors are reclassified to a first degree misdemeanor for a second violation, and a third degree felony for any third or subsequent violation.
Other Prostitutional Crimes Prosecuted in Pasco County, FL
Other prostitution crimes prosecuted in Pasco County, FL, include “Procuring a Person Under the Age of 18 for Prostitution” under Section 796.03 F.S.
Law enforcement officers with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office have become more aggressive in investigating allegations of Human Trafficking.
Crimes of human trafficking involve the recruitment, harboring, transportation, or obtaining a person through force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of a commercial sex act or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under 18 years of age.
In Florida, human trafficking crimes are prosecuted under Section 787.06 F.S.
This article was last updated on Thursday, March 31, 2022.