An undercover prostitution investigation in Nassau County led to the arrests of three women this month and a fourth will be summoned to appear in court. Detectives said they contacted the women who were advertising their services on the internet and asked to meet them at a Nassau County motel, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Once the woman and the detective agreed to a deal where she would perform a sex act for money, the woman was arrested, the newspaper reported.
Police will periodically conduct these types of investigations that lead to Nassau County Sex Crimes charges. In some cases, police will run fake ads on sites like this and then arrest the men who come to the hotel thinking they are meeting a prostitute. In this Nassau County Sex Crimes investigation, though, the focus was on the women. Prostitution itself, if the defendant does not have a length history of the crime, does not have a severe penalty. But, in many of these Nassau County Sex Crimes cases, the women will have drugs or drug paraphernalia on them at the time of the arrest – or they have a warrant on a different charge. That was the case for two of the three women arrested in this recent sting, and police know that will likely be the case when they conduct these investigations. But, on its own, engaging in prostitution is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 60 days in county jail. That’s for a person’s first offense. If a person has been convicted of the crime or has pleaded guilty to the crime before, the next arrest is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in the county jail. Once a person has two convictions, the crime becomes a felony and state prison comes into play. The charge becomes a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison.
The important thing to remember in Nassau County Sex Crimes Cases such as this, or any crime where the misdemeanor or felony degree increased based on the defendant’s criminal record, is that arrests are not the same as convictions. If a person is arrested for prostitution and the charge is dismissed or the person is found not guilty at trial, neither would count against the defendant. So someone could have multiple arrests, but still only be facing the second-degree misdemeanor as if it was a first offense. That’s one reason why having a Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney on board is critical. While the inclination can often be to plead guilty to a charge to get out of jail, it can cause long-term damage if a person is ever arrested again on a similar charge.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Nassau County Sex Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.