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Maintaining a Place of Prostitution

Florida law provides for harsh penalties for “maintaining a place of prostitution, lewdness, or assignation” under Florida Statute § 796.07(2)(a). If you were arrested for any criminal offense involving prostitution then contact a criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL.

The criminal defense attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients charged with sexually motivated crimes throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hernando County, and Polk County, Florida. Call 813-250-0500 to speak with an attorney today.


Jury Instruction 23.1 for Maintaining a Place of Prosecution

The jury instruction number 23.1 for “maintaining a place of prostitution, lewdness, or assignation” under Florida Statute § 796.07(2)(a) was originally adopted in 1981. The jury instruction was subsequently amended in 2008 [995 So. 2d 476], 2010 [48 So. 3d  41], and 2013.

The standard jury instructions provide for the following elements of the offense:

To prove the crime of Maintaining a Place of [Prostitution] [Lewdness] [Assignation], the State must prove the following element beyond a reasonable doubt:

(Defendant) [established] [owned] [maintained] [operated] any [place] [structure] [building] [conveyance] for the purpose of [lewdness] [assignation] [prostitution].

Under § 796.036, Florida Statute, the jury might also be instructed on certain additional elements that can lead to enhanced penalties:

If you find the defendant guilty of Maintaining a Place of [Prostitution] [Lewdness] [Assignation], you must then determine whether the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that:

a.    A minor was engaged in the [prostitution] [lewdness] [assignation] [sexual conduct] [(other conduct prohibited in Chapter 796)]; and,

b.    The minor was not the person charged in this case.


Definitions under Florida’s Prostitution Statutes

Under Florida law, the term “prostitution” is defined as “the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire but excludes sexual activity between spouses.” The term “lewdness” is defined as “any indecent or obscene act. “Indecent” means wicked, lustful, unchaste, licentious, or sensual intention on the part of the person doing the act.”

“Assignation” means the making of any appointment or engagement for prostitution or lewdness or any act in furtherance of such appointment or engagement.

A “structure” is any building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it and includes any closely adjoining land enclosed by a fence or wall. A “conveyance” means any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car.   


Additional Resources

Florida Statute Section 796.07 - Visit the website for the Florida Senate to find statutes including Florida Statute Section 796.07. Find the definitions of various terms used in sexually motivated offenses.

Standard Jury Instructions under Chapter 23 for Prostitution - Visit the website of the Florida Supreme Court to find the standard jury instructions under Chapter 23 related to prosecution. The jury instructions are provided in Rich Tex Format that can be viewed in a word processing application.

  • 23.1 Maintaining A House of Prostitution, Lewdness, or Assignation § 796.07(2)(a), Fla.Stat.
  • 23.2 Soliciting for the Purpose of Prostitution or Lewd or Indecent Act § 796.07(2)(b), Fla.Stat.
  • 23.3 Receiving for the Purpose of Prostitution, Lewdness or Assignation § 796.07(2)(c), Fla.Stat.
  • 23.4 Transporting for the Purpose of Prostitution, Lewdness or Assignation § 796.07(2)(d), Fla.Stat.
  • 23.5 Offering to Commit, Committing, or Engaging in Prostitution, Lewdness, or Assignation § 796.07(2)(e), Fla.Stat.
  • 23.6 Soliciting for the Prostitution, Lewdness, or Assignation § 796.07(2)(f), Fla.Stat.
  • 23.7 Entering for the Purpose of Prostitution, Lewdness, or Assignation § 796.07(2)(g), Fla.Stat.

Finding an Attorney for Solicitation Crimes in Tampa, FL

If you were arrested for any prosecution or solicitation offense under Florida law, then contact a criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients on a variety of sexually motivated offenses from a simple solicitation misdemeanor charge to the most serious felony offenses such as sex trafficking. 

If your case is in the greater Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County or Hernando County, then contact us today to discuss the best ways to fight the charges. 


This article was last updated on Tuesday, July 11, 2016.