Fort Lauderdale residents have been grappling with the problem of rampant prostitution along Federal Highway for years now. Likewise, drug sales on the street level go hand in hand with the prostitution, and local police have had difficulty putting a lid on both problems. According to Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore, many of those who are apprehended by police are able to post bail or are released on their own recognizance. With high numbers of inmates serving mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, in addition to the many held for other reasons, non-violent offenders are often released before they go to trial.
Street prostitution and open drug sales are associated with other crimes and poverty. Local residents have supported the police crackdown in an effort to revitalize their community. The motels along Federal Highway between Sheridan Street and the Pembroke Road area have largely been the epicenter of these problems, with thousands of arrests at these motels last year.
Some of the motels offer hourly rental rates, contributing to their popularity for prostitution, while others charge less than $40 for a one-night stay. Barry Stock, a neighborhood activist, proposes a more radical solution: “Until you take the motels out completely, the prostitutes and the johns are going to be there.” That solution is closer to becoming a reality since the Hollywood city council gave police the authority to close establishments known for chronic crime under a new provision for nuisance abatement. So far, the police have not actually seized any of the motels, instead hoping to use that power as a threat to force the owners of the motels to reform the properties. Whether that threat has much bite, however, is another possibility: Hollywood officials think they would be subjected to strings of costly lawsuits, which they might not even when.
Since 2005, the Hollywood Nuisance Abatement Board has not closed down any properties, although it has classified three officially as public nuisances. The new ordinance has tougher provisions, including allowing Hollywood to put strings on allowing owners to retain control of their property. For example, they might require a property owner to get additional security guards if criminal activity continues. Despite the provisions, Hollywood criminal attorney Moore says that that refusal to comply with any conditions imposed can result in the city closing the property – but there is no intermediate punishment or disincentive, such as fines.
Broward criminal lawyer William Moore has experience in all kinds of criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A conviction for a felony or misdemeanor can have consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in the south Florida area, contact William R. Moore Criminal Defense Law Firm, which has offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.
This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor as implied representation of any person.