In recent years in Orange, Seminole, Volusia, and Polk Counties prostitution charges have been on the rise. Police in Orlando and Sanford are still arresting individuals (usually women) that are allegedly attempting to engage in acts of prostitution; however, our Office has seen an increasingly high number of men who have been subject to large undercover sex stings. Solicitation of prostitution is an offense that can have a damning impact on your personal and professional life, particularly the stigma of having a prostitution offense on your record.
Law enforcement has now been using websites such as Craigslist and Backpage.com as a ploy to potentially entrap defendants. Usually, departments such as the Seminole County or Orange County Sheriff’s Office will post an add on the “casual encounters” section of craigslist that will advertise for a “body rub”, massage, or female escort. The undercover officer (usually female) will eventually text or speak to the subject on the phone and attempt to have the person agree to in some form exchange cash for sexual conduct. The undercover officer will lure the alleged “John” to a hotel room that contains video recording equipment and will attempt at that point to record a conversation between the prostitute and the John reinstating the criminal conduct. When a potential deal is worked out the undercover officer will signal for the “take down”. Following the “takedown “other police officers will move in an immediately mirandize the subject and attempt to procure an admission.
Strategies and Defenses
The first and primary defense in any sex sting case, particularly a Craigslist or Backpage Sex Sting is entrapment. The affirmative defense of entrapment is usually a jury question, that is, a determination that needs to be made by a jury of one’s peers. However, entrapment may resolve a case with the filing of a Motion to Dismiss. Put simply, an entrapment defense requires that (1) the crime was created by law enforcement and (2) the individual who committed the contrived offense was a person that would have committed the offense whether law enforcement had created the crime or not. The less evidence the State has against a person the stronger the entrapment defense. Also, a skilled criminal defense lawyer will look into issues related to improper Miranda and unconstitutional searches and seizures of one’s home, person, or property.
Elements of the Crime of Solicitation of Prostitution and Defenses
In order to prove solicitation of prostitution the State must show the Defendant beyond a reasonable doubt offered to commit or commit the act of prostitution. Prostitution is defined by Florida Statutes as the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire. Penalties for the crime of solicitation of prostitution require a mandatory HIV test/screen, mandatory $5,000 fine, and a potential of 60 days in the county jail. If you have been charged with solicitation of prostitution for a second offense you will face a first degree misdemeanor, and if you have been charged with solicitation of prostitution a third time, you will face a third degree felony and up to 5 years in prison.
If you have been charged with a crime of prostitution call an Orlando, Sanford, Seminole County, and Orange County Prostitution Solicitation Lawyer.