How to Beat a Solicitation Charge in Florida

Strategies to Beat Florida Solicitation Charges

Solicitation refers to the act of enticing, encouraging, or requesting someone to engage in illegal activities, such as prostitution, drug trafficking, or other criminal acts. Solicitation charges in Florida do not require an actual completed act; the mere intent or attempt to solicit someone for illegal activities is sufficient for prosecution. This means that even if the illegal act never took place, a person can still be charged and convicted based on their intent and actions leading up to the solicitation.

In this post, we will discuss the elements of a solicitation charge, common defenses to solicitation charges, and strategies you can use to avoid a conviction. Whether you are facing a solicitation charge or simply want to be prepared, this article will provide you with valuable information to help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.

Possible ways to beat a Florida solicitation charge

  • Prove Police Entrapment: Demonstrate that law enforcement improperly induced or coerced you into engaging in the alleged act.
  • Prove Unwilling Participation: Establish that you were forced or pressured against your will to participate in the conduct leading to the charge.
  • Prove Lack of Knowledge: Demonstrate that you were unaware that the other individual was engaged in prostitution.
  • Challenge Evidence: Contest the credibility or sufficiency of the evidence against you, including witness testimony and physical evidence.
  • Prove No Agreement for Money: Show that there was no explicit or implied agreement to exchange money in return for sexual acts.
  • Prove Legal Impossibility: Establish that you were legally prohibited from engaging in the alleged solicitation act due to factors such as age or incapacity.

What is Solicitation in Florida?

According to Florida Statute §796.07 (2)(5)(a), solicitation for prostitution is classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree for the first offense. This can result in up to 1 year of jail time and a maximum fine of $1,000. For a second offense, the charge escalates to a third-degree felony, potentially leading to up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Subsequent offenses are treated as second-degree felonies, carrying penalties of up to 15 years in jail and fines up to $10,000.

Further penalties for a solicitation charge in Florida include mandatory community service, a $5,000 civil penalty, mandatory minimum imprisonment of 10 days for second and subsequent offenses, attendance at an educational program on the negative impacts of prostitution and human trafficking, and vehicle impoundment if the vehicle was used in the commission of the offense.

In terms of general trends, Florida has shown a proactive stance in combating human trafficking, which is often closely linked with prostitution. The state’s efforts have included sting operations targeting those engaging in prostitution or preying on vulnerable individuals.

The legal landscape in Florida indicates a stringent approach to these offenses, with increasing severity of penalties for repeated offenses. It’s important for individuals facing such charges to seek legal advice, given the complexity of the law and the potential consequences involved.

What is the new solicitation law in Florida?

As of 2024, the most recent and relevant law regarding solicitation in Florida pertains to the prohibition of solicitation of prostitution. According to the Florida Statutes, solicitation is defined as hiring, inducing, enticing, procuring, or soliciting another person to engage in prostitution. It’s important to note that in Florida, even if an individual does not engage in sexual activity with a prostitute, they can still face solicitation charges. This is because solicitation is considered an offense of intent; simply speaking to a known prostitute with exchange of money can lead to legal trouble.

For a first offense of solicitation, the crime is categorized as a first-degree misdemeanor. This can result in up to one year in jail, one year of probation, and a maximum fine of $1,000. If there are second or subsequent offenses, these are considered felonies, which carry much more severe sentences.

In addition to these legal penalties, individuals convicted of solicitation in Florida are also required to attend a course on prostitution and human trafficking, complete 100 hours of community service, and undergo STD testing.

Solicitation involving minors is treated even more severely. Solicitation of a minor is a significant crime in Florida, and it’s pursued aggressively by prosecutors and law enforcement. This offense includes using the internet to induce a minor into any form of sexual behavior. Convictions for solicitation of a minor can include:

  • punishments of up to 15 years in prison
  • 15 years of probation
  • and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Separate charges may apply if multiple devices are used to solicit minors.

These laws highlight Florida’s strict stance on offenses related to solicitation and prostitution, emphasizing significant legal consequences for those convicted. For anyone facing such charges, it’s crucial to seek legal advice to navigate the complexities of the law and the potential consequences involved.

For further details, you can refer to the Florida Senate website and legal resources like O’Mara Law Group.

Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database

The Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database in Florida is a state-maintained registry that lists individuals who have been convicted of soliciting prostitution. This database was established as part of a broader initiative to discourage the solicitation of prostitution and combat human trafficking.

Key features and purposes of this database include:

  1. Public Record of Offenders: The database serves as a public record of individuals who have been convicted of solicitation offenses. This public visibility acts as a deterrent and aids in societal awareness of such offenses.
  2. Details Included: Typically, the database includes the offenders’ names, photographs, addresses, and the charges for which they were convicted. This information is made available to the public, often through an online platform.
  3. Legal Basis: The establishment of such a database is often underpinned by state legislation that mandates the collection and publication of this information as part of the legal consequences of being convicted of soliciting prostitution.
  4. Aim to Reduce Prostitution and Trafficking: By making this information publicly accessible, the database aims to reduce the demand for commercial sex and, consequently, human trafficking, by publicly exposing those who participate in solicitation.
  5. Controversy and Legal Considerations: Databases like these can be subject to legal and ethical debates, particularly concerning privacy rights, the potential for rehabilitation, and the social stigma attached to the individuals listed.
  6. Enforcement and Updates: The database is typically maintained and updated by a designated state agency, such as the Department of Law Enforcement, and is regularly updated with new convictions.

Retroactive Inclusion in Public Database

Individuals convicted of statute 796.07(2)(f) prior to January 1, 2021 will not be placed on the Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database, as only convictions on or after this date are being recorded.

Erroneous Inclusion on the Public Database

If you were lawfully convicted of statute 796.07(2)(f) and subsequently placed on the public database, you can submit a completed petition to [email protected] for review. For other reasons of erroneous inclusion, provide supporting evidence to the same email address.

Expunging a Conviction

To expunge a conviction, you must meet specific criteria outlined in Sections 943.0585 and 943.059 of the Florida Statutes (F.S.). Additionally, apply to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for a Certificate of Eligibility. The granting of an expungement petition is at the court’s discretion.

Removing Copies of the Database from the Internet

Copies of the Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database obtained from sources other than the FDLE or its official website are not managed by the FDLE. For removal requests, contact the respective website directly.

Appealing Verdict or Expungement

After going through the stressful process of a trial, the journey may not be over just yet. If you have been convicted of a solicitation charge in Florida, there are still post-trial options available to potentially overturn the verdict or minimize its impact on your record.

Appeal.

This involves requesting a higher court to review your case for legal errors or misconduct that may have influenced the outcome. It’s important to note that an appeal is not a retrial, but rather an opportunity to challenge the legal process and argue that your rights were violated or that the evidence presented was insufficient.

To pursue an appeal, you will need to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who specializes in appellate law. They will thoroughly review the trial transcripts, evidence, and legal arguments to identify any grounds for appeal. It’s crucial to act promptly, as there are strict deadlines for filing an appeal in Florida.

Expungement.

Another potential option to explore is seeking expungement of your criminal record. Expungement is a legal process that allows eligible individuals to have their criminal records sealed or erased from public view. If successful, it can significantly reduce the negative impact of a solicitation conviction on your future prospects, such as employment or housing opportunities.

The eligibility criteria for expungement in Florida can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case, including the nature of the offense and your criminal history. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney who understands the expungement process is essential to determine if you meet the requirements and navigate the necessary legal procedures.

Florida Statute 796.07(2)(f) SOLICITATION OF PROSTITUTION

The relevant section of the Florida Statutes pertaining to the solicitation of prostitution is found under Section 796.07. This section deals specifically with prohibiting prostitution and related acts. It outlines various offenses, including owning, establishing, maintaining, or operating any place for prostitution or lewdness, or participating in the prostitution of another.

More specifically, it includes the solicitation, inducement, enticement, or procurement of another person to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation. The statute also addresses the purchasing of the services of any person engaged in prostitution.

This section of the Florida Statutes provides detailed information about the legal framework surrounding the prohibition of solicitation of prostitution, including definitions, penalties, and other relevant legal aspects.

For the full text and specific details of the statute, you can visit the Florida Statutes website at the section on solicitation of prostitution: Florida Statute 796.07.

FAQs on Solicitation Charges in Florida

What is a charge of solicitation?

Solicitation of a prostitute in Florida involves enticing, inducing, or offering compensation to an individual believed to be a prostitute in exchange for sexual favors.

Is entrapment a defense?

Entrapment is a valid defense in Florida solicitation cases. It applies when law enforcement officials induce or coerce an individual to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. To establish entrapment, the defendant must demonstrate that:
– Government agents induced or coerced them into committing the crime.
– They were not predisposed to commit the crime before being approached by law enforcement.

Can I attack the officer’s credibility?

Yes, attacking the credibility of the arresting officer can be an effective defense strategy. The defense attorney can scrutinize the officer’s testimony, seeking inconsistencies, biases, or prior misconduct that could undermine their credibility. By casting doubt on the officer’s reliability, the defense can weaken the prosecution’s case.

When is insufficient evidence a defense?

Insufficient evidence can serve as a defense if the prosecution fails to present enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant solicited a prostitute. This may involve challenging the reliability of witness testimony, exposing gaps in the prosecution’s case, or demonstrating a lack of corroborating evidence.

What are the penalties for soliciting prostitution in Florida?

A conviction for solicitation of a prostitute in Florida carries several consequences, including:

Penalty Type First Offense Second Offense Subsequent Offenses
Jail Time Up to 1 year Up to 5 years Up to 15 years
Fine Up to $1,000 Up to $5,000 Up to $10,000
Community Service 100 hours 100 hours 100 hours
Civil Penalty N/A $5,000 $5,000
Minimum Imprisonment for Subsequent Offenses N/A 10 days 10 days
Educational Program Required Required Required
Vehicle Impoundment 60 days (if applicable) 60 days (if applicable) 60 days (if applicable)
Public Database Registration Required Required Required

Final Word

We hope you found our blog post on strategies to beat a solicitation charge in Florida informative and helpful. Navigating the Florida legal system can be overwhelming, especially when facing serious charges. By following the strategies outlined in this article, you can equip yourself with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively fight a solicitation charge. The most important takeaway is the importance of consulting a qualified attorney who specializes in Florida criminal defense to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Stay informed, stay prepared, and stay confident in your pursuit of justice.

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