Facing any type of criminal charge can be a truly upsetting experience. People can be looking at prison time, enormous fines, probation and a destroyed career and family if they are convicted. However, if these charges stem from an incident involving a sex crime, such as prostitution or child pornography, there can be additional penalties and even harsher treatment.
One reality of sex-related offenses is that they are extensively investigated by authorities who are determined to make as many arrests and file as many charges as they can. Law enforcement agents and prosecutors often spare no expense when it comes to sex crimes because of the nature of the crimes. However, this means that many people can get caught up in the extensive enforcement efforts, no matter how minor their role might be.
For example, federal authorities have been launching wave after wave of sex trafficking crackdowns across the U.S. recently. The FBI arrested 27 people in Jacksonville, Florida, on allegations of prostitution. The sting was intended to target child sex trafficking offenders, but none of the people in Jacksonville were juveniles. Arrests were also made in Miami and Tampa, where 11 juveniles were identified and seven additional adults were arrested for sex trafficking.
These nationwide stings are often focused on arresting as many people as possible, which means that authorities will often arrest any person they believe has any connection to supposed trafficking or prostitution.
However, every person who is charged faces difficult repercussions and it can be crucial for each individual to protect himself or herself from facing inappropriate charges or overly harsh punishments. Some defense strategies involve scrutinizing police procedures or challenging evidence and witness statements to have charges dropped. There may also be opportunities to consider plea bargains to minimize the damage a conviction can have on a person's record.
Sex-related crimes of any level should be taken very seriously because the stakes are so high. If you or someone you know is facing charges or is under investigation, it can be crucial to speak with an attorney in order to understand your rights as well as your legal options.
Source: News4Jax.com, "National sex trafficking crackdown includes 27 northeast Florida arrests," June 24, 2014