The Florida legislature has amended the Prostitution statute to increase the civil penalty portion of the statute to $5,000.00!!!
This $5,000.00 lewdness fine applies to crimes committed after January 1, 2013
Is this legal? Can they really fine me $5,000.00? there are number of legal challenges to this "civil penalty"
- Does it have any nexus to the criminal charge of prostitution - how is this fine related to Soliciting a Lewd act?
- Is the fine or penalty disproportional to the crime charged? Prostitution is only a 2nd degree misdemeanor
- Does it violate criminal statute 775.083 which limits the fine to a maximum of $500.00 for prostitution.
Florida Statute 796.07. Prohibiting prostitution and related acts states:
(6) A person who violates paragraph (2)(f) shall be assessed a civil penalty of $5,000 if the violation results in any judicial disposition other than acquittal or dismissal. Of the proceeds from each penalty assessed under this subsection, the first $500 shall be paid to the circuit court administrator for the sole purpose of paying the administrative costs of treatment-based drug court programs provided under s. 397.334. The remainder of the penalty assessed shall be deposited in the Operations and Maintenance Trust Fund of the Department of Children and Family Services for the sole purpose of funding safe houses and short-term safe houses as provided in s. 409.1678.
That means the criminal court and prosecutor have no discretion if you plead guilty, no contest, or are found guilty at your prostitution trial. The court must add this civil penalty if you are convicted of 796.07(2)(f) which states:
(2) it is unlawful to:
(f) To solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.
“Prostitution” means the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire but excludes sexual activity between spouses.
“Lewdness” means any indecent or obscene act.
“Assignation” means the making of any appointment or engagement for prostitution or lewdness, or any act in furtherance of such appointment or engagement.
“Sexual activity” means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another; anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; or the handling or fondling of the sexual organ of another for the purpose of masturbation; however, the term does not include acts done for bona fide medical purposes.
So how does an individual arrested for prostitution get out of paying the $5,000.00 penalty?
- Go to trial and be found not guilty.
- File a motion to suppress or dismiss that results in the charge being dropped so there are no penalties.
- Retain an aggressive Polk County criminal defense attorney like Thomas C. Grajek to negotiate and have the criminal charge amended pursuant to a plea agreement with the State Attorney. Instead of entering a plea to the charge of soliciting a lewd act, an experienced Polk criminal lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct, some other criminal offense that does not mandate the $5,000.00 penalty, or negotiate a plea to a different subsection of the prostitution statute. The prosecutor will probably still be requesting the old $500.00 surcharge in these lewd cases.
- There are also diversion programs available in criminal cases, but it is very difficult to get a person charged with prostitution into a diversion program that would result in the criminal solicitation charge being dropped.
The final way is to challenge the constitutionality of this outrageous prostitution fine in criminal court and let a judge decide of this fine can be assessed against the defendant. By filing a motion to declare the $5,000.00 prostitution fine unconstitutional would result in the fine being thrown out in your case.
Call an experienced and aggressive Polk County criminal lawyer who has actually tried solicitation for prostitution or lewdness to a jury verdict. Thomas C. Grajek knows how a jury reacts to these cases and how to question and argue jurors so that you get the best criminal defense to the prostitution charge.
Prostitution is a crime that can be sealed or expunged, but if you go to court alone, the chances of removing this criminal charge may be in jeopardy.
Do not go to court alone! Protect your reputation!
CALL NOW AND SPEAK TO AN EXPERIENCED, AGGRESSIVE
POLK COUNTY CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER.
CALL AND SET YOUR FREE OFFICE CONSULTATION NOW!
You will not have to drive to another county. Office - Lakeland, Polk County, FL.
Thomas C. Grajek 863-688-4606
Criminal lawyer handling all felony and misdemeanor prostitution, lewdness, solicitation, and sex crimes in Polk County whether arrested by the Polk County Sheriff, Lakeland Police Department, Bartow Police Department, or Winter Haven Haven Police Department.