TAMPA PROSTITUTION DEFENSE ATTORNEY
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Despite the current movement to legalize and decriminalize sex work in the United States, prostitution is still against the law, including in the state of Florida. If you have been charged with prostitution in Tampa, FL, or any of the surrounding areas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who can help defend you in court.
Tampa criminal defense lawyer Andrew Buda is prepared to stand by your side throughout your case and help ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case. In addition to his deep understanding of Florida laws, Andrew Buda brings a compassionate and strategic approach to defending his clients, including individuals facing prostitution charges.
Prostitution Laws in Florida
In order to understand Florida’s prostitution statute, we have to understand how it defines prostitution. Prostitution is defined as the exchange of one’s body for sexual activity for hire, with specific exclusions for consensual sexual activity between spouses.
This law also defines “sexual activity” as a number of intimate acts, including oral, anal, or female genital penetration, and the handling or fondling of the sexual organ of another for the purpose of masturbation. It specifically excludes acts done for legitimate medical purposes.
Additionally, this Florida law outlaws lewdness, which is defined as any lewd or obscene act, in exchange for money. It also outlaws assignation, which is defined as the making of any appointment or engagement for prostitution or lewdness.
In the same statute, Florida outlaws other related crimes like soliciting prostitution, brothel keeping, and forcing someone into prostitution. Each of these crimes has its own set of provisions and definitions, but they all have similar penalties.
Florida Statute 796.07
Florida Statute 796.07(2)(e) specifically states that it is illegal for “a person 18 years of age or older to offer to commit, or to commit, or to engage in, prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.” If someone engages in any of these acts, they can be charged with prostitution. The only exception is when these acts occur between consenting spouses.
Is Prostitution a Felony in FL?
Prostitution can be a felony crime in Florida, but only after multiple prior convictions of prostitution. Felony criminal charges can carry harsher sentences and a felony criminal conviction can affect multiple aspects of a person’s life, even after they serve jail time.
If you have been convicted of multiple prostitution offenses, and you’re facing another prostitution charge, it’s important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Felony charges can impact your ability to find employment and housing, as well as prevent you from exercising your right to vote. Not only that, but a felony prostitution conviction can affect your criminal record and your social reputation.
A prostitution defense attorney can help ensure you receive a fair trial and a favorable outcome in court. If you’re in need of legal guidance, turn to Attorney Andrew Buda of Buda Law. He has experience handling a variety of cases and can help provide you with the support and advocacy you need to get through this difficult time.
Penalties for Prostitution in Florida
The penalties for prostitution in Florida are tiered, based on the number of prior convictions a person has.
- First offense: second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail, up to 6 months of probation, and up to $500 in fines
- Second offense: first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to 1 year of probation, and up to $1,000 in fines
- Third offense and subsequent offenses: third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail, up to 5 years of probation, and up to $5,000 in fines
Additionally, anyone charged with their third or subsequent offense may be sent to a pre-trial intervention program or substance abuse program. These are designed to offer individuals with counseling, education, and supervision, as well as medical and mental health treatment, when necessary.
What Makes Prostitution Defense Cases Challenging For Criminal Defense Attorneys
Prostitution cases are incredibly difficult due to the social understanding of sex work as well as the complicated circumstances that surround prostitution. In today’s political climate, the criminalization of prostitution has been a point of contention. Many people have called for the legalization of sex work and the decriminalization of prostitution, removing some of the social stigma surrounding the act of prostitution.
Despite this, there is still a massive stigma surrounding sex work, especially in the realm of criminal law. This societal stigma surrounding prostitution can make it difficult to defend against these kinds of sex crimes.
It’s also important to note that not all individuals who engage in prostitution in Florida (or anywhere) are doing so willingly. Many people are forced into prostitution by a friend, family member, domestic partner, or even a complete stranger. However, it can be difficult to prove that the defendant (the person accused of the crime) was actually being forced or coerced into engaging in sex work.
Prosecution cases can also be difficult to handle due to the complex nature of police investigations and sting operations surrounding crimes like prostitution. In order to charge people with prostitution, law enforcement officers often go undercover into places or areas where suspected prostitution occurs. These operations often employ sophisticated police tactics, which can make it very difficult to assert the entrapment defense.
The actual language used in Florida’s prostitution law can also make it difficult to defend against these charges. Due to the definition of lewdness in Florida’s prosecution statute, prosecutors can argue that the defendant violated this law by engaging in any act that could be considered “lewd or obscene.”
What are Some Defenses for Prostitution Charges in FL?
While prostitution cases can be tricky to defend against, there are still a number of defense strategies that criminal defense lawyers can use to ensure their client receives a favorable outcome. Below are some of the most common defense strategies defense attorneys use to help defend their clients from prostitution charges.
- Entrapment: the defendant would have not committed the crime if undercover police didn’t put them in a position where they felt like they had to commit the crime
- Underage or coerced involvement: the defendant was underage at the time of the alleged crime or the defendant was being coerced or forced into sex work
- Lack of intent: the defendant did not intend to engage in prostitution
- Lack of sexual activity, lewdness, or assignation: the defendant did not engage in any lewd, obscene, or sexual acts with the alleged victim
- Lack of evidence: the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove there was an exchange of money and/or that any sex acts occurred
- Violation of rights: the defendant’s rights were violated at some point in the criminal process
- Unlawful police tactics: law enforcement used illegal tactics in order to arrest or charge the defendant with prostitution
Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for Prostitution Charges?
Yes, if you are facing charges of prosecution in Florida, you need a criminal defense attorney who can stand by your side and defend your best interests. Due to how difficult it can be to defend against prostitution charges, those accused of prostitution should contact a criminal defense attorney who can help defend their rights and interests both in and out of court.
A sex crime accusation like prostitution can affect your social reputation, and a criminal conviction can cost you your freedom. Experienced criminal defense lawyers will be able to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime, speak to witnesses, review the evidence, and develop an aggressive defense strategy in your favor.
Why Choose Andrew Buda For Your Tampa Prostitution Defense
If you are facing prostitution charges in Tampa or the surrounding area, Attorney Andrew Buda can help defend your rights and protect your future. Due to his previous work as a criminal prosecutor in Florida, he has experience handling criminal cases from both sides of the courtroom, giving him a unique advantage in every criminal case he takes on.
Attorney Buda is not afraid to challenge the prosecution’s evidence, scrutinize law enforcement tactics and procedures, and overcome general assumptions that paint sex workers in a bad light. He is also committed to providing clients with personalized and strategic legal representation, ensuring each of his clients receives the legal assistance they need for their specific case.
What sets Andrew Buda apart from so many other attorneys is his unwavering dedication to his clients, ensuring that each one feels confident in their case and satisfied with their defense strategy.
Having a legal advocate by your side who is both skilled and compassionate can be invaluable in a criminal case, especially in one involving prostitution charges. If you are facing a criminal charge like prostitution, our Tampa sex crimes attorneys at Buda Law will fight by your side every step of the way in order to minimize the potential consequences and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
Call an Experienced Tampa, FL Criminal Defense Lawyer at Buda Law Today
If you have been accused of prostitution in Tampa or the surrounding area, you don’t have to face these charges alone. Tampa prostitution defense attorney Andrew Buda is here to help defend your rights and ensure you receive a fair trial and a favorable outcome.
Attorney Andrew Buda of Buda Law has experience handling a variety of crimes, including drug crimes, sex crimes, violent crimes, domestic violence charges, and more. He is not afraid to shy away from difficult cases, even ones involving sensitive topics like prostitution, and will stop at nothing to defend his clients.