Solicitation of prostitution is illegal in forty nine (49) states including Florida. Florida Statutes section 796.07(2)(f) declares it unlawful to "solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation". The legislature recently enhanced the punishments for engaging or soliciting a prostitute and instituted a mandatory civil penalty of $5,000.
There have been two recent stings focusing on criminal sex acts or attempted criminal sex acts in Gainesville and Ocala. The Marion County investigators were seeking to combat solicitation of prostitution. The Alachua County investigation targeted those soliciting a parent, legal guardian or custodian of a child to commit an illegal sex act with a child or traveling to meet a child. Both law enforcement operations were conducted in August 2015.
The criminal offense of Solicitation of Prostitution is a second degree misdemeanor. Normally, a second degree misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of sixty (60) days and a five hundred dollar ($500) fine. However, effective 2013, the Florida legislature changed the fine for soliciting a prostitute to a mandatory five thousand dollar ($5,000) fine. According to this relatively new law, a judge has no discretion. The fine that is required to be imposed is five thousand dollars ($5,000).