Monday, December 5, 2011

Tampa Florida Targets Drug Sales & Prostitution with New Law


St. Petersburg Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses a new Tampa ordinance targeting drug sales and prostitution.

Issue:

The city of Tampa, Florida has given initial approval to a new ordinance that would impose a $500 fine on drivers whose vehicles are used when either buying drugs or soliciting a prostitute.

Vehicles are typically impounded when used in the commission of certain crimes including drug sale/purchases and solicitation of prostitution.  Currently, the city of Tampa brings the vehicle to an impound lot where the cars are released once the owner pays storage and towing costs that usually are around $150.

If the ordinance passes, vehicle owners would have to pay an additional $500 fine on top of the towing and storage costs.  City leaders hope that the additional fine will dissuade people from committing vice crimes.

In Pinellas County, Florida there is already an ordinance on the books that requires a $500 fine when a vehicle is used in the commission of the crime of solicitation of prostitution.


Why This Matters To You:

Tampa Bay area counties are targeting vice crimes by imposing additional fines.  Even with local ordinances gaining approval, similar ordinances from around Florida have faced legal challenges.  In South Florida, two cases have gone to the Florida Supreme Court to challenge the ordinances.

In fact, Tampa’s own ordinances have been repealed in the past, and the city continues to rewrite them to find more solid legal ground.

The ordinance based fines described above are just another way for local cities to find revenue sources.  There are already criminal fines and punishments in place to deal with vice related crimes.  Further, the city has a very minor burden of proof to be able to impose the fines.

What To Do Next:

If you have been arrested for a drug related crime or solicitation of prostitution, contact a St. Petersburg First Time Offender Lawyer to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss your case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form to be contacted for a Free Initial Consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help and has specific knowledge and experience in defending Drug Charges / Solicitation of Prostitution offenders throughout Pinellas County and the entire Tampa Bay, FL Area (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Bradenton, Manatee, and Sarasota).