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Precursor Acts Facilitating Prostitution

Under Tampa's Ordinance Code Violation § 14-80, it is a crime to engage in precursor acts facilitating prostitution. Officers with the Tampa Police Department set up elaborate sting operations in an attempt to catch men and women engaged in prostitution activities including soliciation or offering prostitution. Because these offenses are so hard to prove, even when part of a sting operation, the authorities have enacted this city ordinance that makes it a crime to even participate in a "precursor act".

These types of county ordinances are often found to be unconstitutional on their face or as applied. The provisions in this type of ordinance might be found to be too vague or overbroad to pass constitutional muster if properly challenged.

For example, the Tampa Ordinance provides that any violation of this section is not contingent upon the participants expressly mentioning money, prostitution, sexual acts or any euphemism for any of those terms. In order to limit application of this ordinance to prostitution related activities and not prohibit otherwise lawful behavior between persons not involved in prostitution related activities, this section shall be enforced only when a law enforcement officer is one of the participants in the public encounter. The ordinance provides that this need not be known to the other participant.

Attorney for Prostitution Precursor Acts in Tampa, FL

If you were arrested for any type of prostitution crime including offering to commit prostitution or soliciting a prostitute, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. In many of these cases, the police do not have enough information to charge the person with a violation of state law so they charge the person with the city ordinance for violating Section 4-80(a).

The undercover law enforcement officer is supposed to audio tape the conversion. If the Tampa Police Department is unable to release that tape, your case might be dropped because of a due process violation. Other defenses exist including the entrapment defense because these crimes are manufactured by the police and often do not catch a person who would normally be predisposed to commit the crime.

We are experienced in fighting these cases aggressively. The best result in these cases is getting the charge dropped quickly so you can expunge the criminal record if you are eligible.

Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case.


Elements of Precursor Acts Facilitating Prostitution

Under § 14-80(a), it is illegal for any person participating in a public encounter to:

  1. Demand or request any other encounter participant to expose his or her sexual organ;
  2. Demand or request any female encounter participant to expose her breast;
  3. Expose his or her sexual organ;
  4. Expose her breast if female;
  5. Fondle or touch the sexual organ of any other encounter participant, whether or not the sexual organ is covered by clothing or any other material;
  6. Fondle or touch the breast of any female encounter participant, whether or not the breast is covered by clothing or any other material;
  7. Demand or request any encounter participant to fondle or touch the sexual organ of any other encounter participant, whether or not the sexual organ is covered by clothing or other material; or
  8. Demand or request any encounter participant to fondle or touch the breast of any female encounter participant, whether or not the breast is covered by clothing or other material.

Penalties for Facilitating Prostitution

The penalties for facilitating prostitution precursor actions depend on whether the offense is a first offense or a second or subsequent offense.

A first violation of the city ordinance is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding sixty (60) days and a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00).

A second or subsequent violation of the city ordinance is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months and a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.00).


Definitions for Precursor Acts to Facilitating Prostitution

Under § 14-80(a)(1), the definition of “public encounter” means contact between two (2) or more persons which originates in the City of Tampa where at least one (1) of the parties thereto is on a public street, on a public sidewalk, on the public right-of-way or is visible from any of the foregoing, regardless of whether any party is in a motor vehicle.

The term “contact” means sufficiently close proximity between two (2) or more persons as to permit verbal communication between them.

The term “right-of-way” is defined as provided in Tampa Code section 23-4.


Exclusion to Facilitating Prostitution Precursor Acts

Exclusions apply for law enforcement officers who are within their jurisdiction, on duty, and otherwise engaged in approved law enforcement activity.

An exclusion also applies to medical personnel including physicians, nurses, and emergency responders while engaged in providing legitimate medical treatment.


This article was last updated on Friday, June 1, 2018.

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