Court Grapples with Adverb in Prostitution Statute

Whittel & Melton 1-866-608-5LAW (5529) – Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys

An Atlanta-based federal appeals court ruled on Monday that federal prosecutors do not have to prove that a person accused of enticing a minor into prostitution knew the person was under 18.

In a ruling by three judges, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the statute is written to protect minors from getting caught up in these illicit acts, rather than for offenders to disregard the age of the victims they transport.

According to the law, whoever “knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years, to engage in prostitution” shall be subject to at least 10 years in prison.

The argument centered on the adverb “knowingly.”

Lawyers defending a man convicted of inducing a 14-year-old girl into prostitution argued that the adverb at the beginning of the statute applied to everything that followed. They reasoned that the defendant had to know the victim was underage to be in violation of the law.

The 11th Circuit revered a contextual approach to interpreting the statute and wrote, “We honor the congressional goal inherent in the Child Protection and Sexual Predator Punishment Act of 1998, and reach a holding that aims to protect minors—not make conviction more difficult for crimes that affect them.”

Procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution in Florida, also known as pimping or pandering, is a felony offense carrying strict consequences. If you are facing these charges, you may be accused of transporting a person for prostitution purposes. The Florida Sex Crimes Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can fully explore the charges against you and work aggressively to uphold your innocence. As former prosecutors, we can effectively interpret Florida sex crimes laws to your advantage.

The crime of procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution is punishable under the Florida Sexual Predators Act. Being convicted of a crime under this act means you will be required by Florida law to register with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a sexual predator. Once you are a registered sexual predator, public notice will be given to residents in your community notifying them of your conviction as well as your name, address, a photo and a description of your crimes. Due to the seriousness of a conviction, you must understand your legal options.

Prosecutors face several challenges in proving guilt in pimping and pandering cases. The Florida Sex Crimes Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can work to establish any drawbacks that lie within the prosecution’s case and vigorously fight to lessen or remove criminal penalties. The best thing a person can do after being charged with the crime of pimping or pandering is to remain silent and request to speak with a sex crimes defense attorney. The sooner you consult with a Florida Sex Crimes Attorney at Whittel & Melton, the better your chances of avoiding hefty fines, lengthy prison terms and other extreme penalties.

If you are facing sex crimes charges anywhere in the state of Florida and need help fighting your criminal charges under the Florida Sexual Predators Act, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or call us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).