A St. Johns County man was arrested when police say he arrived to meet someone he thought was an underage girl for sex. Police said the man arranged the meeting online and detectives were waiting for him when he showed up, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man is charged with travelling to meet a minor for sexual activity and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. The travelling to meet a minor charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The unlawful use of a communications device charge is a third-degree felony with a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Typically, these types of St. Johns County Sex Crimes cases are part of a larger sting by several law enforcement agencies where a couple of dozen men are arrested over several days. These stings were part of the national spotlight after the popular Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator series used hidden cameras to show the men walking up to the houses and being arrested. This St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case, however, is not part of a larger sting and it was not clear in media reports how police learned of the man’s intentions. In these types of St. Johns County Sex Crimes Cases, the defendants are usually chatting online with an undercover officer, though they think it is a teen on the other end of the computer. Because of that fact, police and prosecutors generally have a word-for-word transcript of who the defendant said – which can typically be read in front to a jury of the St. Johns County Sex Crimes Case ends up in trial.
If a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to this St. Johns County Sex Crimes charge, he would have to register as a sex offender. That requires checking in with police at least twice a year, and notifying police within 48 hours of moving residences. Once a person moves, neighbors are then notified that a sex offender has moved into the neighborhood. There are lasting consequences for people who plead guilty to or are convicted of a St. Johns County Sex Crime. Our St. Johns County Sex Crimes Attorney knows all of the ramifications and can explain them to you or your loved one in detail so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed with the case.
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 Sex Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.