Florida’s Laws Against Prostitution

In Florida, prostitution is the use of one’s body to give or receive sexual acts in exchange for money, goods, or services. Prostitution is one of several crimes where a person may be convicted for his or her involvement without physically being involved in the sexual acts; this is because for many who are convicted for their involvement in the crime, it is because they coerce or otherwise force another to engage in the sexual acts. A person in this case may be colloquially known as a “pimp” where the person who is actually engaging in the sex act may be unable to consent to or benefit financially from the act. If you or a loved one have been arrested for participation or involvement in prostitution , please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.

Florida’s Prostitution and the Criminal Liability for Everyone Involved

In Florida, it is illegal to be connected to prostitution in the following ways:

  • Engaging in the sexual act as a patron who enjoys the services of the prostitute;
  • Owning, maintaining, renting, or leasing space knowing that the premises will be used for these illegal sexual services;
  • Offering or agreeing to provide a person that a patron may use or engage in sexual acts with;
  • Knowingly transporting or otherwise directing a person to the premises where illegal sex acts for hire will take place; among other criminal acts associated with prostitution.
The Law Against Benefiting or Deriving Support from the Proceeds of Prostitution

It is also a criminal offense to knowingly derive support or benefit from the proceeds of prostitution. To knowingly benefit from the proceeds of prostitution, a first offense will lead to a conviction of a second-degree felony conviction; a second offense will lead to a conviction of a first-degree felony conviction; and a third and any subsequent offenses will lead to a first-degree felony conviction with a fixed minimum criminal sentence of 10 years.

Criminal Punishments for Spreading Sexually Transmissible Diseases and HIV

There are also serious criminal punishments for those involved in prostitution who may transmit any sexually transmissible disease to others as a result of illegal sexual acts. The seriousness of the crime of spreading sexually transmissible diseases (STD) stems from public health and welfare concerns where there is a serious fear of transmission of these diseases throughout the population, including those who have not engaged in illegal sex acts. Those who have been arrested and/or convicted of prostitution must undergo screening for sexually transmitted diseases. In the event that the person is found to be positive for an STD, he or she will be required to start a treatment plan and submit to any and all tests and treatments associated with this treatment plan.

Protecting Public Welfare from HIV/STD Exposure

If the person who was engaging in prostitution knew or should have known that he or she had been diagnosed or exposed to an STD, but continued to engage in illegal sexual acts, he or she may be convicted and given a sentence associated with a misdemeanor in the first degree. This conviction will be based on the type of STD and the extent to which the STD may be treatable for those who were exposed as a result of the prostitution.

However, when a person engages in illegal sex acts and knows or had reason to know that he or she had been diagnosed with or exposed to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), he or she may be charged with criminal transmission of HIV, which can be a third-degree felony. This is due to the life-altering effects (and possible life-threatening results) of HIV, and the threats to public safety and welfare resulting from widespread exposure.

Please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.