Deriving Support from the Proceeds of Prostitution

Deriving Support from the Proceeds of ProstitutionIn Florida, it’s illegal for anyone to derive support or benefit financially from prostitution. This law primarily targets pimps and others who receive money for providing prostitution services. When convicted, these individuals face lengthy jail sentences or huge fines. Because this crime is so severe, it’s essential to have a highly skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney representing you in court.

Definition of Deriving Support from the Proceeds of Prostitution

According to Florida Statute 796.05, the crime of deriving support from prostitution proceeds occurs when a person is reasonably suspected to live off of, derive support from, or maintain any part of their life from the earnings or profits of prostitution.

Reasonable Belief

Often pimps or escort services will post advertisements on behalf of prostitutes. However, these ads will usually have a disclaimer stating that whatever happens is between two consenting adults. These statements attempt to deny that sexual activity will occur, but this does not act as a defense in a court of law.

What Must Be Proven in Court

To convict someone of deriving support from prostitution proceeds, a prosecutor must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Another person must have engaged in prostitution
  • You must have reasonably believed or had the knowledge that the individual was engaged in prostitution
  • You shared the earnings the individual made from prostitution

If the prosecution is not able to prove all things occurred, a judge will likely dismiss the case.

Defenses to Deriving Support from Prostitution Proceeds

When a person is accused of deriving support from prostitution, the case is tied to the particular facts and circumstances that led to an arrest. Other factors, like whether the state obtained any evidence in violation of the constitution, cannot be used in court. If a defendant’s attorney can successfully suppress evidence achieved through investigation and research, the state is forced to drop the case.

Your attorney can also try to prove the evidence against you is insufficient. If they can prove or bring doubt that you were not living off prostitution proceeds, the case would be thrown. Depending on the situation, an attorney may prove the individual earning money was not engaging in prostitution. Your attorney may also try to use pretrial defenses to challenge the legality of how the prosecution obtained evidence.

Penalties for Deriving Support from Proceeds of Prostitution

The penalties for this crime depend on how many times the individual has been convicted. However, in all cases, a convicted individual may face jail time, probation, hefty fines, or a combination of all three. In addition to the charges below, convicted individuals could face other felony charges, like charges of child molestation, human trafficking, or child exploitation, which may have more serious penalties.

First Offense

If it is the convicted individual’s first offense to this crime, penalties are still severe, but not as severe as a second or third conviction. A first offense is considered a second-degree felony and is ranked a level 5 under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. Potential penalties include:

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • Up to 15 years of probation
  • Up to $10,000 in criminal fines

A judge can also impose any combination of these punishments.

Second Offense

If you’re convicted of the crime twice, the punishment is more severe. A judge can still impose any combination of punishment. However, they must set a minimum 23-month prison sentence. Penalties include:

  • Up to 30 years in prison
  • Up to 30 years of probation
  • Up to $10,000 in criminal fines

A second offense is classified as a first-degree felony and is ranked as a level 7 under the Criminal Punishment Code.

Third Offense

In a third offense conviction, a judge must impose at least 10 years in prison but still has the authority to create a sentence of any of the following penalties:

  • Up to 30 years in prison
  • Up to 30 years of probation
  • Up to $10,000 in criminal fines

A third offense is a first-degree felony and ranked as a level 7 under the Criminal Punishment Code.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Central Florida

If you’re facing charges of deriving support from proceeds of prostitution, it’s vital to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. These are severe charges that impose harsh penalties, even for first-time offenders. When you’re unsure how to navigate Florida’s criminal justice system, you can trust the defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm to protect your rights.

Our lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience defending people from all walks of life. Many on our team are former state prosecutors and will provide the representation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call (407) 228-3838 or complete our online contact form.