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Traveling to Meet a Minor in Polk County

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is famous for setting up elaborate sting operations to set people up for prostitution crimes and traveling to meet a minor child under Florida Statute 847.0135(4). The sex stings also target individuals for charges of Soliciting a Child for Unlawful Sex through a Computer or Lewd and Lascivious Conduct Over a Computer.

Many of these sex sting operations to catch people for sexually motivated crimes involve undercover operations that last for several days. The last sting operation ended on May 21, 2019, after 154 people were arrested dring a six-day undercover prostitution sting.

During some of the Polk County Sex Sting Operations, detectives will pose as children online (often called the “decoy”). In other cases, the detectives will pose as adult prostitutes or “johns” that are soliciting prostitution by offering money in exchange for sex.

One recent five-day undercover sex sting took place in Polk County on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, through Sunday, June 5, 2016. Although most of the arrests were for misdemeanor charges of prostitution, the detectives also made several arrests of alleged online predators seeking contact with children. The detective used mobile aps during the sting operations and ads on websites that function much like BackPage[dot]com.

Attorneys for Traveling to Meet a Child Stings in Polk County, FL

If you were arrested for the crime of traveling to meet a minor child under Florida Statute Section 847.0135(4), then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm. Our attorneys represent clients throughout Polk County including Lakeland, Bartow, and Winter Haven, FL.

We are familiar with the sting operations conducted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and problems with the way these cases are investigated. We also understand the problems prosecutors in Polk County have when prosecuting these cases in court.

Call to find out more about the charges pending against you, typical penalties for those charges, and the most effective ways to fight the case for the best possible outcome. Call (813) 250-0500 today.

Fighting Sex Sting Operations in Polk County, FL

One of the most recent sting operations was called “Cyber Spring Sweep.” The sheriff’s office released graphics showing the mugshots and pictures of those arrested. Each month, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office also encourages local media organizations to post details about the suspects in these crimes for traveling to meet a minor child even before they have their first day in court.

The sheriff’s office in Polk County will issue press releases showing the total number of people arrested. The press release will also show how many of the suspects are married, receiving monthly public assistance, or who were arrested in a previous PCSO undercover operations.

In addition to targeting individuals who are traveling to meet a person they believe to be a child, related charges include offering sex in exchange for money, offering money in exchange for sex, driving prostitutes to the location to derive proceeds from the activity.

During these sting operations, the charges can include:

  • Engage/Commit/ Offer to Commit Lewd Act;
  • Deriving Support/Proceed of Prostitution;
  • Aid/Abet/Commit Prostitution;
  • Solicit Another for Lewdness 3rd or Subsequent Offense;
  • Use Computer to Seduce/Solicit Lure Child, and
  • Travel to Meet After Use Computer to Lure Child.

If you were arrested in Polk County, FL, for a serious criminal offense involving using a computer to lure a child or traveling to meet a person under the age of 16 years old for sexual conduct, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

Our sex crime attorneys in Tampa, FL, represent clients arrested in nearby Polk County including the cities of Lakeland, Bartow, and Winter Haven. Call for a free consultation to discuss your case today.

This article was last updated on Friday, May 26, 2017.