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St. Petersburg / Clearwater Lawyers Who Can Help
Simply “soliciting” (asking) a person to engage in prostitution is an unlawful act. This is known as Solicitation of Prostitution and constitutes a criminal offense. Under Florida Statute 796.07(2)(i), the actual exchange of money for sex is not necessary to secure a conviction for solicitation. Nor is it required that a sexual act be performed. In fact, the mere offer of money in exchange for “the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity” will subject a person to criminal liability. For this reason, the crime of “Solicitation of Prostitution” is one of those relatively rare examples of a crime that can be committed by words alone.
In addition to the significant stigma attached to this offense, many people find that the penalties they face upon conviction are both embarrassing and burdensome. Consider the following sanctions that are available to the Court:
If you are convicted of violating Florida’s prostitution statute, the judges in Pinellas County will require, as a routine matter, that you submit to screening for sexually transmitted diseases. If you test positive for any STD, you must undergo appropriate treatment and counseling prior to your release from supervision. The results of the STD screen will be made available to court personnel, the prosecutor, and the judge.
Upon conviction, the St. Petersburg Police Department will televise your name and photograph over Cable Channel WSPF 35 and Broadcast Channel 15 on their “Prostitutes and Johns” program. You can expect that your information will be broadcast 2-3 times a week for as long as three months. Accordingly, anyone in the area who owns a television will have access to this potentially embarrassing and damaging information.
If you used a motor vehicle in connection with the offense, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will automatically revoke your driver’s license. See Florida Statutes ss. 322.26(7).
On a first offense Solicitation for Prostitution, you will be subject to as much as a $1,000.00 fine and court costs. Although incarceration is not mandated by the legislature, the Judge does have the discretion to sentence you for up to one year in the county jail. You may also be required to reimburse the State for the cost of the police investigation as it relates to your case.
Note: In the past, the Pinellas County Criminal Justice System would often impose a requirement that the defendant attend and complete “john’s school” or “prostitution school” as a method of impressing upon offenders the idea that solicitation of prostitution was not a “victimless crime.” However, the “prostitution school” in Pinellas County has been defunded and, at present, is no longer a possible sentencing option for the Court.
Getting the right outcome may help you to avoid having your name and photograph broadcast on television. It may also allow you to bypass the otherwise mandatory suspension of your driving privileges. Additionally, by avoiding formal conviction, you may be eligible to have your record sealed or expunged. Here are some of the ways that we may be able to help:
Click here for more information on Pre-Trial Intervention / Diversion Programs.
We may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor in your case for a “withhold of adjudication.” Such an agreed-upon final outcome will allow you to avoid being formally convicted of the charge. Avoiding formal conviction is important to sidestep many of the sanctions that might otherwise be imposed upon conviction. This includes the suspension of your privilege to drive, if an automobile was used in connection with your offense. Learn more about Adjudication Withheld and Avoiding Conviction.
May enable the case to be satisfactorily resolved without the need for a trial or even your personal appearance in court. Pleas in Absentia allow your attorney to make all court appearances on your behalf. This waiver of your personal appearance is a potential method to avoid the embarrassment you might otherwise suffer when the official charges are read in open court. Learn more about how our office can accommodate the unique needs of Out-of-Town Clients.
|Watch our video to learn more about sealing or expungement of criminal records in Pinellas County, Florida.|
Depending on your prior record and the official outcome of your case, you may qualify to have your record sealed or expunged. Getting your record sealed or expunged would enable you to truthfully state (with a few limited exceptions) that you had never been arrested or charged with a Solicitation of Prostitution offense in Pinellas County. Learn more about Sealing / Expungement of Pinellas County Criminal Records.
Call us for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303. We can answer many of your questions right over the phone.