A Palatka police detective was arrested this month, caught in an undercover prostitution sting in St. Johns County. Police used Internet ads and discussions to have conversations with both men and women looking to either pay for or be paid for sex, directing the people to a St. Augustine Beach motel, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The sting was conducted after hotels in the area said prostitution was being arranged online and then carried out in their businesses, the newspaper reported.
The detective was arrested at the hotel and charged with solicitation to commit prostitution. This St. Johns County Sex Crime does not carry much in terms of an actual punishment – it’s a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a jail sentence is highly unlikely. But the charge is highly embarrassing, especially for someone in law enforcement, and the detective has already resigned from his position in the police department, the newspaper reported. These types of stings in St. Johns County Sex Crimes Cases are used occasionally and usually result in a dozen or so arrests. In this sting, 14 people were arrested over four days, the newspaper reported. Often times, there’s one person – a teacher, a coach or, in this case, a police officer, that is caught in the sting and ends up being the headline. With many of these discussions and negotiations for sex starting online – and traceable by police – there is generally plenty of evidence available for the state in such cases. Years ago, when police would focus on one-on-one discussions, maybe in a city park, for example, the charges would end up being dropped months later – after the arrests were all over the media and the careers and lives of those arrested were severely affected.
This operation included police posing as solicitors looking for a prostitute and police posting an advertisement that appeared to be taken out by a prostitute, so they sought johns and prostitutes in this St. Johns County Sex Crimes investigation. These are generally conducted after a series of complaints, and are publicized to serve as a reminder that police are watching – even though the penalties are not severe in terms of incarceration. Many St. Johns County Misdemeanor Cases can be resolved with the judge withholding adjudication if certain conditions are met, meaning the conviction or plea would not be a part of the person’s criminal record. Misdemeanor cases can be just as damaging to a career and personal life as a felony that carries a 15-year prison sentence. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will investigate your case and look for options that have the least long-term impact so you or your loved one can get past the arrest and move on.
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 St. Johns County Misdemeanor Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.