The Pasco County Sheriff announced the results of a four day Prostitution sting operation today that resulted in 28 arrests. Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco stated the females were arrested after advertising on the internet. This usually means the women posted an ad on “Backpage.com” under “Escort Services” or “Massage”. The Lewdness/Prostitution statute has different sections depending on whether the individual was the alleged “prostitute” or the alleged “john”. It is only the “johns”, the person seeking the services of a prostitute that are assessed an additional $5,000.00 “civil penalty” regardless of whether the person is “adjudicated guilty” or the person receives a “withhold of adjudication”. In order to seal your record, you must receive a “withhold of adjudication”.
The $5,000.00 “civil penalty” has been ruled unconstitutional in some jurisdictions, but not others. Therefore, the issue is now before the 2nd District Court of Appeal that will ultimately decide the issue. It was thought a decision would be forthcoming soon, but the Court requested additional argument about the issues so it will probably be some time before the issue is ultimately decided. In the meantime, you may need to preserve this issue so you may not have to pay that penalty if you plea to the charge or are found guilty at trial.
There are many defenses to Solicitation for Lewdness/Prostitution of cases such as:
- Is what the arrested person did actually a crime?
- Did the accused agree to a legal act such as a massage?
- Did the police conduct the investigation correctly?
- Did the officers preserve all the evidence?
- Did the police entrap the person into committing a crime?
I have handled numerous cases originating from these sting operations in Polk County and argued that the $5,000.00 penalty is unconstitutional. I have also tried these types of cases. If you have been arrested in this sting, call a criminal attorney that has experience and knows how to defend you against these charges.
Call Now (727) 457-8660
Thomas C. Grajek
Attorney at Law
24140 State Road 54, Suite E
Lutz, FL 33559
(next to Ferman Chrysler Jeep)