In the State of Florida, prostitution is a misdemeanor. It is unlawful to sell sexual services in exchange for money, as it is illegal to purchase sexual services in exchange for money. Both charges of procuring (buying) and soliciting (selling) are illegal and are enforced throughout Miami-Dade and Broward.
In Miami-Dade and Broward, undercover cops usually bust accused prostitutes by pretending to be customers. The cops get the accused prostitute to offer sexual services in exchange for money, at which point they will arrest the prostitute.
Police may also participate in "reverse" sting operations, where a female officer may disguise herself as a prostitute, arresting customers who offer to pay for sexual services.
Prostitution does not only exist on the street. Police agencies are tracking "escort" services on websites such as www.craigslist.com in order to find people advertising sexual services over the internet.
First-time offenders can usually expect to be offered Pretrial Diversion if charged with either procuring a prostitute or solicitation. Repeat offenders or accused people with prior criminal records can expect probation.
Nearly all prostitution-related penalties will require the accused to take an AIDS test, and possibly complete and AIDS awareness class.
Accused prostitutes with multiple convictions can expect jail time. If you have two prior convictions for prostitution, you can be charged with a felony for your third.
Florida law outlines the following regarding prostitution and prostitution-related crimes. Some of these crimes are serious felonies, such as forcing somebody to prostitute or sex trafficking.
796.04: Forcing, compelling, or coercing another to become a prostitute
(1) After May 1, 1943, it shall be unlawful for anyone to force, compel, or coerce another to become a prostitute.
(2) Anyone violating this section shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
796.045: Sex trafficking; penalties
Any person who knowingly recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means a person, knowing that force, fraud, or coercion will be used to cause that person to engage in prostitution, commits the offense of sex trafficking, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. A person commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if the offense of sex trafficking is committed against a person who is under the age of 14 or if such offense results in death.
796.05: Deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person with reasonable belief or knowing another person is engaged in prostitution to live or derive support or maintenance in whole or in part from what is believed to be the earnings or proceeds of such person's prostitution.
(2) Anyone violating this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
The law makes it a felony to derive support from the proceeds of prostitution. This is the statute that police and prosecutors use to go after suspected "pimps."
As you can see, the State of Florida takes prostitution seriously. Not only due to the spread of disease, but to the potential for exploitation that exists.
I am a South Florida criminal defense attorney who handles criminal cases in Miami-Dade and Broward. As a former prosecutor, I handled thousands of prostitution cases.
If you are in need of legal services, call me for a confidential consultation.