Robin Fuson
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What Are The Consequences of a Solicitation Conviction?

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It is illegal to solicit anyone with the goal of prostitution or for the purpose of performing lewd or indecent acts under Florida Statute Section 796.07(2)(2). Often, arrests come as part of a sting operation and it’s important to note that just as technology has provided some degree of protection for both prostitutes and their clients, the sting operations are becoming more sophisticated as well, using the same technology, whether it’s CraigsList ads or message boards.

While many prostitution attorneys argue entrapment in order to protect their clients, the courts have historically sided with prosecutors whose theories are that solicitation is not good for anyone involved nor is it good for the community.   As part of the entrapment defense, attorneys argue the female law enforcement officers who pose as prostitutes cross the lines in order to make their cases and knowing the local newspapers can be the biggest fear of a married client, law enforcement use that as a scare tactic.

Consequences of a Solicitation Conviction

A first violation is typically charged as a misdemeanor of the second degree. If there is another arrest with the same charges, a first-degree misdemeanor is charged. A subsequent arrest can result in being charged with a felony under Florida law.

If there are substance abuse issues, the courts will generally offer a treatment program, either as part of the rehabilitative process or as an alternative to jail time. Community service, mandatory attendance in an educational program regarding the negative effects of prostitution and even human trafficking if merited (for example, a sexual violence prevention education program) can also be ordered by the courts. Jail time may or may not be part of any deal made.

Further, if the act takes place in a car, the judge may opt to impound it or immobilize it for up to 60 days. The vehicle’s owner may petition the court to dismiss the order of impoundment, but if it’s a client’s vehicle and his or her spouse is an owner, this could open the door to more than a few very complicated conversations. The judge is more likely to release the car if it’s the only vehicle in a family or if it belongs to another family member. Even if an attorney can get the charges dismissed, the information may already be made public, including publication in local newspapers.

There are times when an evidentiary hearing can be requested. This happens if the court denies the request to dismiss the order of impoundment. This can allow the client to plead his case and provide insight into the circumstances of why the car shouldn’t be impounded. The court, if it sides with the petitioner, will then release the vehicle with no costs incurred as a result of the impoundment.

A strong lawyer can often get the charges reduced or even dismissed, including sometimes making the arrest record and mug shots disappear.

It’s always wise to speak with a prostitution lawyer who understands Florida laws regarding prostitution and solicitation convictions.

Robin Fuson
By Robin Fuson