A disgraced former Jacksonville police officer pleaded no contest last week to the Jacksonville criminal charge of soliciting a prostitute while on duty and in uniform earlier this year. As part of his sentence, David Sumlin was put on Duval County probation for four months and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, according to a report on First Coast News. The plea came just one month after he was arrested in Northeast Florida on two counts of soliciting for prostitution, a relatively short turn-around for a criminal case. Both charges are second-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to 60 days in jail. As part of the agreement last week, the state dropped one count and Sumlin pleaded no contest to the second.
A no contest plea means that the defendant is choosing not to fight the charges, but is technically not pleading guilty. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because the defendant is adjudicated guilty so all of the same penalties apply and as they would if he pleaded guilty in this Jacksonville misdemeanor crimes case.
Police had been tipped off that Sumlin had been soliciting prostitutes while he was on duty and officers set up a sting with a decoy prostitute to catch Sumlin in the act, the television station reported. Conservations with the confidential informant were recorded, so any evidence would likely be played in court if Sumlin opted to take the case all the way to trial. Sumlin, an eight-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, resigned from his position shortly after being arrested in November. In terms of punishment and time behind bars, Sumlin’s crime is not overly serious, as evidenced by the fact that the maximum punishment is only two months in jail for each count. But, it terms of longer-term consequences, Sumlin will be paying for this crime for some time. He has already lost his job and will likely have a tough time finding another position in law enforcement.
In most misdemeanor cases in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties, a defendant is sentenced to some form of Florida probation and will generally have to complete community service. The sentences are set up to provide some sort of punishment and incentive not to commit a similar crime, but to also allow people to recover and continue productive lives after making a mistake. But if a person fails to meet the conditions of their probation, they are then opening themselves up to a Jacksonville Probation Violation and can be sentenced to maximum time they would have faced. People can move on after a misdemeanor if they complete probation, but defendants must work to get there.
Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney has represented thousands of clients charged with misdemeanors. Many have negotiated deals with the state for community service and probation, completing their sentence and moving on with their lives. Others have been exonerated completely. Our Jacksonville misdemeanor crimes attorney will thoroughly investigate your case and advise you of your best options going forward.
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 Duval County Misdemeanor Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.