Victimless Crimes: Should Prostitution and Drug Use Really Be Crimes?
Broward criminal lawyer William Moore has experience in a broad range of criminal issues as a private Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney and as a former prosecutor and public defender. Lawyers and policymakers fall all over the map when evaluating the appropriate punishment for any crime. For some, significant mandatory jail time for first-time DUI offenders makes perfect sense due to the inherent danger in drinking and driving, while others think that it should be treated more like a traffic offense as long as no one was hurt. Likewise, Broward County residents do not all agree with the current criminal nature of so-called “victimless crimes.”
Victimless crimes are those in which the people involved completely consent to the criminalized activity and, in their view, do not harm others when they engage in it. Prostitution is a good example. A high-dollar Fort Lauderdale call girl may believe that her lifestyle as a sex worker is completely legitimate. After all, she agrees to perform the services and negotiates the prices. The work may allow her to live a lifestyle she would otherwise be unable to afford or she may simply like the independence offered by setting her own hours. Some women’s rights activists believe sex work should be decriminalized because it empowers women to make choices about their own bodies. The industry could be regulated and the sex workers tested frequently to prevent the spread of disease. On the other end of the spectrum, equally ardent supporters of women’s rights argue that the woman herself is the victim when she sells sexual services on the streets of Fort Lauderdale. That image is easier to envision when women who are addicted to drugs perform sex acts for minimal compensation, without protection from pregnancy or STDs, and at the behest of an abusive pimp.
The criminalization of drug use, especially “soft” drugs like marijuana, is another contentious issue. Supporters of continued criminalization cite marijuana as a “gateway drug” that leads users down a path to abusing harder drugs, like heroin. They do not want more drivers on the roads sunder the influence of any drug, and point to negative effects like aggravating mental illnesses and the loss of ambition or drive that some heavy users may experience. Advocates of decriminalization tout the benefits of marijuana from a medicinal standpoint, especially for terminally ill patients, those who suffer from chronic pain, and people with glaucoma.
Although California has notably made marijuana legal for medicinal use, the usage of marijuana remains a federal crime throughout the entire United States. Prostitution is legal in parts of Nevada, where government-regulated brothels dot the desert landscape in some areas. For now, both prostitution and soft drug use will almost certainly remain criminal in south Florida.
Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore has experience in a wide range of criminal defense situations. An arrest can damage all aspects of your life, including your employment prospects and custody and visitation of your children. If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., which is an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal law firm with 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.