Florida’s Tougher Prostitution Laws: What Residents & Guests Should Know

Recent changes in the state’s prostitution laws have created problems for those who live in or enjoy visiting the Sunshine State. In fact, Florida statute 796.07 offers a laundry list of activities that can lead to being charged with the unfortunate crime of prostitution. 

A Statute Covering a Wide Variety of Potential Offenses

Because the statute is confusing in both the range of activities that can lead to being charged with prostitution and the way each is defined, it is easy to see why so many residents and visitors are being blind-sided by a prostitution-related charge. In essence, according to knowledgeable Jacksonville defense attorney groups, Florida residents or visitors can be charged with prostitution for something as vague as providing transportation for someone who is planning to meet and exchange compensated sexual activity with someone else or assisting someone else in arranging any type of compensated sexual activity. 

Other significant portions of the statute refer to:

  • offering to exchange any type of compensated sexual activity
  • offering to compensate anyone for sexual activity
  • allowing compensated sexual activity to take place in any room, business, or other location kept and designated for that purpose

Residents and visitors to Florida must also understand that trading any type of sexual activity for drugs is also a chargeable offense. 

Punishments are serious, even for first offenses

Those found guilty of first-time prostitution offenses are subject to serious punishments and embarrassment. Punishments for first-time convictions of misdemeanor prostitution offenses can expect punishments ranging from paying a hefty fine and associated court costs to a one-year confinement in county jail, along with paying all associated costs. In addition, offenders must complete mandatory STD screenings and AIDS awareness education. 

Understanding Florida’s “John Law”

In addition, Florida statute 796.07(6) also provides an extremely high fine for anyone convicted of attempting to enlist the services of a prostitute. Called the “John Statute”, it carries a mandatory fine of $5,000. This fine is in addition to any other penalty given, even if the events show that only a solicitation was made and no actual sexual activity resulted.

In addition to the penalties listed, those arrested and charged with repeated prostitution crimes may face one or more felonies, with the potential for much higher fines and lengthy prison sentences, if convicted.

If Arrested for any Prostitution-Related Crime, Remember Time is Critical

Being charged with any prostitution-related crime is something that must be taken seriously to protect your reputation and minimize the potential for damage to your life. Jacksonville criminal defense attorney  James Davis recommends that anyone charged with any type of prostitution crime contact a knowledgeable attorney immediately to ensure that the best possible defense is mounted and all your questions are answered.