Sheriff Grady Judd will hold a press conference today to announce the results of the latest Polk Prostitution sting from last week. The sting was part of a undercover operation targeting individuals who respond to online advertisements on Backpage.com. The online ads are usually listings for escort or massage services, but once the person responds to the hotel, the undercover deputies try to make an arrest for an illegal activity. These undercover officers can be very aggressive and often do most of the talking. The sheriff was also targeting human trafficking which is a much more serious felony offense.
There are some harsh penalties associated with a prostitution arrest. These include the public shaming that comes form having the sheriff and newspaper put your name on their website as someone arrested. For the “john”, there is a $5,000.00 “civil penalty” required by the statute. Other penalties include forfeiting any property seized, community service hours, and paying the cost of the investigation. The $5,000.00 civil penalty is currently on appeal to the District Court of Appeal in another jurisdiction.
There are also many defenses to these case and I just got a prostitution case dismissed last week by filing a motion to suppress arguing my client was illegally arrested. If you have been arrested as part of this sting call an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows how to defend these crimes, conducted jury trials, was featured in Newsweek about prostitution arrests, and has argued against the $5,000.00 civil penalty.
Thomas C. Grajek – 863-688-4606