Tampa’s Prostitution Exclusion Zone (PEZ)
If you were charged with a prostitution-related crime in Hillsborough County, FL, chances are you heard the term PEZ. The term PEZ stands for the Prostitution Exclusion Zone.
The purpose of the Prostitution Exclusion Zone (PEZ) is to provide a tool for law enforcement officers in Tampa, FL, to combat the prostitution concerns in specially designated areas.
Law enforcement officers complain that they face unique challenges when attempting to enforce crimes related to prostitution. In an effort to aid officers, the Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office, and Probation and Parole teamed up to develop a Prostitution Exclusion Zone (PEZ) program.
This PEZ program involves adding a special condition to probation or pre-trial intervention for felony prostitution offenses. The condition prohibits the offender from entering the designated exclusion zone unless authorized by their probation officer or a listed exception.
After verification of the violation, the offender will be charged with a violation of the probation and arrested.
Law enforcement officers in Tampa, FL, are cautioned to use great care and “common sense” when enforcing this ordinance. Officers should err on the side of not making the arrest if there is any doubt as to the justification for being inside the exclusion zone.
Attorney for Prostitution Crimes in Tampa, FL
If you were arrested in the city of Tampa for any kind of prostitution-related offense, then contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm.
We also represent clients caught up in a prostitution sting operation conducted in the greater Tampa Bay area.
From fighting these cases, we have become familiar with the standard operating procedures used by the Tampa Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies in and around Hillsborough County.
With offices in downtown Tampa, our attorneys are experienced in fighting these charges to help you get the best possible result. Call (813) 250-0500 for a free and confidential consultation.
Procedures in the Prostitution Exclusion Zone
After a felony prostitution arrest (three or more prior misdemeanor convictions), the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County, FL, will be seeking the prostitution exclusion zone as a special condition for probation or pre-trial intervention (P.T.I.).
This special condition of probation is to be part of any plea offer on a felony prostitution case that includes a period of probation or community control.
If the defendant enters an open plea and objects to the PEZ condition, a hearing will be requested to demonstrate to the court that there is a factual basis for the court to impose this condition of probation.
The Tampa Police Department will provide a witness to testify at this hearing. Designated expert witnesses will testify on the frequency and crime statistics regarding prostitution along any PEZ geographic area.
Once placed on probation or P.T.I., the designated district’s juvenile/adult probation coordinator will act as a liaison between the S.A.O. and Probation and Parole. The liaison maintains a list of offenders subject to the PEZ condition.
The list will be updated and posted on the I-NET for officers to view and have “real-time” access to those offenders with this special condition.
Officers will familiarize themselves with the active Prostitution Exclusion Zone areas and note how the borders include curbs, sidewalks, and the public right of way.
If an offender who has this special condition active is found to be inside the exclusion zone, the officer will confirm that the offender is not in the zone for the following purposes:
- Meeting with their attorney;
- Obtaining other government services or assistance;
- Meeting with probation personnel;
- Utilizing social service agencies;
- Obtaining medical or psychological treatment;
- Other necessary and lawful functions that cannot be accomplished outside the Prostitution Exclusion Zone.
PEZ Probation Violations in Tampa, FL
If you are on probation and a special condition of your probation is to stay out of the PEZ, then your probation can be violated if you are found in the zone.
If you are suspected to be in violation during business hours, the violation will be confirmed with the probation officers. Once confirmed, you will be charged with felony violation of probation and booked in the Orient Road Jail. A V.O.P. report will be originated.
If you are suspected to be in violation during non-business hours, the officer will generate a V.O.P. report, complete a V.O.P. affidavit and refer it to the assigned district’s probation coordinator.
The affidavit will be left on the coordinator’s desk, and they will confirm the probation status on the next business day. If confirmed a felony local pick-up will be placed. After thirty days and if not arrested, the assigned detective will cancel the local pick-up and secure an arrest warrant.
If you believe your probation will be violated for a PEZ violation, then call us today to discuss the case.
PEZ Pre-Trial Interventions Violations
P.T.I. violations are not the same as V.O.P.’s. Other than new law violations, the conditions are governed by contract and not by court order.
If one of the special conditions of your Pre-Trial Intervention Diversion Program (PTI) is PEZ, and a law enforcement believes there is a technical violation of the diversion agreement (as opposed to a new criminal offense), the Department of Corrections (D.O.C.) should be notified via a referred report routed to the designated district liaison.
The D.O.C. supervises diversion cases, and if they are made aware of the violation they will then notify the S.A.O. and ask for direction on whether to leave the defendant in diversion or remand the case back to court for violating the diversion agreement.
This article was last updated on Friday, February 7, 2020.