Commercialized vice is an unfamiliar term for many, but it covers some all-too-familiar crimes in Florida, including prostitution. If you’re facing a charge for prostitution or other Florida sexual offense, then you’ll need a South Florida criminal defense attorney on your side.
Generally, commercialized vice describes Florida sexual offenses associated with prostitution and sex trafficking. Some of the most common criminal charges associated with commercialized vice in Florida are:
- forcing or compelling someone to become a prostitute;
- sex trafficking;
- deriving support from prostitution; and
- renting space for prostitution.
These offenses represent much of the criminal activity surrounding prostitution, which itself is illegal in Florida.
Florida lawmakers take human and sex trafficking seriously. In fact, earlier this year, the Florida Legislature passed a law designed to ensure tougher penalties for people who engage in the trafficking of minors for sexual or domestic purposes. It also provides support for young victims to get the help they need.
The bill also cracks down on massage parlors, which are often used as fronts for alleged prostitution rings.
“The state of Florida is not going to stand on the sidelines anymore,” said state senator Anitere Flores of Miami. “We are going to take this seriously… We are going to make it so that this is not a profitable business.”
The act of selling or paying for sex is a misdemeanor for the first offense in Florida, but the associated activities can result in much stiffer penalties. Forcing someone to engage in prostitution is a third-degree felony. Deriving support or gaining income from the prostitution of another person is also a third-degree felony.
Sex trafficking is a second-degree felony unless it’s committed against someone 14 years old or younger. In that case, the crime becomes a first-degree felony.
All of these felony offenses could result in significant jail time with a conviction, and it’s important when facing one of these charges to contact a South Florida criminal defense attorney.
The complexities of these types of cases often require legal expertise, and because of the severity and wide range of penalties, there are ways to reduce the charges against you.
An attorney may be able to arrange a plea-bargain if you’re facing a severe penalty. Defendants have three plea options when accused: no contest, guilty, and not guilty. Essentially there are two types of plea bargains available to reduce the penalty when convicted of a Florida sexual offense related to commercialized vice.
A charge bargain will allow the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for testimony against other people. In organized prostitution cases, often there is more than one defendant.
In a sentence bargain, a defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. In these cases, the defendant normally knows what the penalty will be prior to submitting a guilty plea.
The shift among lawmakers to crack down on those who organize and support prostitution and other Florida sexual offenses highlight the critical need for proper legal representation.
A South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Can Defend You Against Charges
Florida sexual offenses surrounding commercialized vice can result in severe penalties upon conviction. Defendants need representation to protect their rights and offer a vigorous defense.
The Miami Law Firm of Falk & Ross offers a free consultation if you’ve been accused of these serious crimes. Call today and talk to them about your case at 1-877-663-5110 or 1-305-741-6997.