If you have been arrested as a result of an Internet Sex Sting in Polk, Manatee, Sarasota, Hillsborough or Orange County and you are facing a trial date, you are facing one of the most difficult decisions of your life. In most cases, the State Attorney will make a plea offer. Those offers vary dramatically from County to County. In some areas, the State attorney will make a reasonable offer. In others, they take a hard line.
If you are charged with traveling to meet a minor, Internet solicitation of a minor or Internet solicitation of a parent of a minor, the Florida sentencing guidelines are harsh and you are facing at least 42 months in State prison. In many instances, if you have a good attorney, you may get an offer to allow you to plead to a lesser offense like attempted child abuse or some other non sex offense. These offers to lesser charges come with strings. The State may want you to agree to sex offender probation even if you are not required to become a sex offender.
You have to make a tough decisions setting certain priorities. If your number on priority is to stay out of State prison, you should seriously consider that offer. State prison for a young man is a dangerous place and jail rape is a real problem you might encounter. Doing time in the County jail sometimes is an alternative and the situation in terms of personal safety is much better there.
The big thing you need to consider is whether or not you get an offer to plea to a non sex offense. Many of the sex offenses make you a registered sex offender for at least twenty years and that means major problems in your life in terms of where you live, what you can do, how the world treats you and your entire future. In my opinion, the number one goal should be avoiding being designated a registered sex offender even if that means a short stint in the County jail. You need to think long term in sex sting cases.
As a sex sting lawyer I have handled dozens of these cases and can honestly tell you, no two cases are the same. The age of the defendant is a major factor the State considers in making an offer. The email and text exchanges are other factors to be considered. Whether or not the police engaged in entrapment is another factor that may influence the decision as to whether or not to go to trial. Most importantly is the history of the judge when it comes to sentencing. Some Courts impose harsher sentences if you go to trial and reward defendants who take the first step towards rehabilitation and enter a plea.
Talk to you lawyer. If you have a public defender, make an appointment and go in and discuss the details of your case. Many people regret their decision and have second thoughts later in life. You need to make an informed decision considering all the factors. If you have already made the tough decision and regret it, there may be alternatives.
Call today for a free consultation at 941 366 3506 or you can visit