Ten arrested on prostitution charges after Nassau County deputies turn to social media

Nassau County police took to social media to pose as johns in a prostitution sting that led to 10 arrests. The detectives arranged meetings thorough a website and the women agreed to exchange sex for money, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Not all of the arrests are of women and, in some cases, men acting as the female defendants’ pimps were busted for setting up the deal. All were charged with offering for prostitution, the newspaper reported.

The crime is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in the county jail, assuming it is the defendant’s first prostitution conviction. In these Nassau County Sex Crimes Cases, the severity of the charges is on a sliding scale depending on the person’s record on these specific crimes. For example, a first offense is a first-degree misdemeanor. A second offense becomes a first-degree misdemeanor and the maximum jail time climbs to one year in the county jail. After two convictions, the case is elevated to a third-degree felony. The maximum punishment in that case is now five years in prison. Keep in mind these escalating charges only apply on conviction or guilty pleas – not simply arrests.

As is the case in many prostitution stings, two of the 10 arrested were caught on other charges. One was arrested on an arson warrant out of Clay County and another was charged with possession of cocaine. People sometimes have drugs on them for an encounter such as this, and can end up picking up more serious charges than they would have for the act they were arrested for. And though offering for position and soliciting for prostitution are both Jacksonville Sex Crimes, neither rises to the level that it would force the defendant to register as a sexual offender. Registration is reserved for more serious charges, such as rape, kidnapping and lewd and lascivious conduct. Soliciting for prostitution can often be tricky for the state, but police in Nassau County and other local counties have been making sure in these stings that money does indeed change hands. Once that has occurred, usually the takedown team is called in and the either the john or the woman are arrested. The digital discussion on social media is also of value to police because there is a complete record of the conversation that can then be used to show the intent of the meeting. Outside of the transcript, the discussion between the detective and either the john or the prostitution is usually also recorded, specifically to show intent and to be played if the case does end up going to trial. Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney handles a variety of sex crimes cases, from relatively minor cases such as these misdemeanor cases, on up to capital sexual battery which is punishable by life in prison.

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.