If you want to spend the day bonding with your daughter, you’ve got options. You can take her out shopping. Or go get manicures. Or do any number of things that she is specifically interested in.One thing you absolutely shouldn’t do? Form a mother-daughter prostitution duo.Yes, this is something that actually happened, and earlier this year the two Florida women were busted by cops.Here’s the story: Tanja Gammon, 57, advertised her services on backpage.com using the name “Tamara.” An undercover officer found the advertisement and arranged an encounter with Tanja. The two agreed on a 30-minute encounter for $100 and met at a motel in Kissimmee.When the cops arrived, she grabbed a condom and “pounced,” according to reports. Without going into too many details, the officers quickly placed Gammon under arrest. As she was being placed in handcuffs, she told officers, “I didn’t take the money yet…so it doesn’t really matter!”Spoiler alert: it mattered.While officers were arresting Tanja, they found the daughter, Darcel Gammon, 31, in the bathroom. Gammon was also wearing lingerie, and was apparently listening and looking out for her mother. Both mother and daughter were placed under arrest and taken to the Osceola County Jail.Interestingly, even though Darcel was not acting as a prostitute herself, she ended up with more severe charges than her mother. She was charged with prostitution, conspiracy, and keeping a house of ill fame, and held on $20,000 bond. Tanja, on the other hand, was only charged with prostitution and held on $1,500 bond.
The Many Ways You Can Be Charged With Prostitution in Florida
First let’s look at Darcel’s charges. What exactly does it mean to “keep a house of ill fame”?Essentially, a house of ill fame is a brothel. The phrase is an old term, but has stuck. Florida’s laws specifically state that it is unlawful “To own, establish, maintain, or operate any place, structure, building, or conveyance for the purpose of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution.” Since Darcel was looking after, or maintaining, a space where prostitution was being committed, she was hit with an extra charge.What about Tanja’s excuse that she couldn’t be charged because she hadn’t taken the money? Doesn’t matter. What matters is that she and her daughter arrived at the motel with the purpose of prostitution. Her excuse didn’t excuse her intentions.In Florida, prostitution is a second degree misdemeanor if this is your first violation. If you are convicted of a second degree misdemeanor, you will face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The charges are similar for conspiring to keep a house of ill fame. Because Darcel is up against two charges, she will face more jail time if she is convicted.If you are convicted of a second prostitution offense, the charges are bumped up to a first degree misdemeanor. A third or subsequent prostitution offense bumps the charges up to a third degree felony, which can put you behind bars for up to five years.
There Are Defense Strategies for Fighting Prostitution Charges
The mother-daughter duo couldn’t get out of prostitution charges with their excuse of not taking the undercover officer’s money, but that doesn’t mean that their situation is hopeless. The pair have only been arrested and charged – they have not been convicted. That means there’s still a chance for the Gammons to avoid jail time and fines.There are many different defense strategies available for individuals accused of prostitution-related charges, but which strategy is most appropriate depends on the exact charges and the specifics of the situation. Defenses for soliciting prostitution, for example, may not be appropriate for someone who was charged after hiring a prostitute.Some common prostitution defenses include:Entrapment: Most prostitution arrests are made after an undercover agent poses as a client or as prostitutes themselves. These officers are looking to make an arrest, and may use unlawful luring tactics to make these arrests possible. When normally law-abiding citizens fall for the officers’ tactics, they are the victim of entrapment.It can be tricky to prove that an undercover officer was unlawful in their methods, so you definitely want to recruit the help of an experienced Florida prostitution lawyer before you claim entrapment.
Lack of Evidence: The burden of proof is placed on prosecutors in prostitution cases. If the prosecution cannot successfully provide the required evidence to prove your intentions or actions, then you cannot be convicted.When you use this strategy, your goal is to call the evidence they do have into question and argue that they do not have enough valid evidence to prove your guilt.Victim of Sex Trafficking Trade: Not everyone who works in the sex trade entered into prostitution willingly. If you were forced to become a prostitute, you can use your time in court to ask for help or resources to get out of the sex trade. Do not be afraid to speak up.About the Author:Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he's done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.