Operation 614 was an effort by various central Ohio law enforcement agencies to arrest people for soliciting prostitution. At several hotels in April, the two-day sting operation operated like clockwork, reeling in suspect after suspect who thought they’d meet a prostitute, not police officers.
It’s an example of how easy it is to be arrested on these charges when state law is getting tougher on offenders.
If you’re facing solicitation charges, a conviction could result in jail time, paying fines, a driver’s license suspension, and community service. A solicitation defense lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates may be able to get you through this situation with dignity and a favorable outcome.
Call LHA at (614) 500-3836 for a free and confidential consultation.
Nearly 100 Arrested in 614 Sting Operation
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the police targeted the demand side of the local sex trade, arresting 93 people. Directed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office, officers from more than 20 law-enforcement agencies were involved.
The operation involved police using three adjacent rooms at a Hilliard hotel. One worked as a stage where a female undercover portrayed a prostitute. The room was equipped with cameras and microphones to record her and the suspects.
The second room housed more than a dozen officers who texted their targets and monitored the video feed from the first room. They communicated with officers in the parking lot who tried to get license plate numbers to get more information on who they might encounter.
The third room is where the handcuffed suspects were processed. They were photographed, booked, and given a summons to appear in Franklin County Municipal Court.
Consequences of a Solicitation Conviction
Being found guilty of third-degree misdemeanor solicitation in Ohio can result in a fine of up to $500 and a maximum of 60 days in jail. The average Franklin County fine is $72. The municipal court operates a “John School.” It’s a one-day diversion program used mostly by first-time offenders with no prior record of violence. It focuses on the risks and harm done by prostitution.
Some of those arrested were charged under a new law that recently went into effect. They sought to pay for sex and were charged with engaging in prostitution, a first-degree misdemeanor. A convicted offender would be required to attend an education or treatment program to try to discourage them from recklessly inducing, enticing, or procuring another to engage in sexual activity for hire again. He or she may also pay a fine of up to $1,500.
How Many Will Be Convicted?
It’s very easy to be arrested on these charges. Someone portraying a prostitute online could be a law enforcement officer. They could entice you into a meeting that’s a setup for your arrest. As you can see, police are very good at sting operations that suspects have no idea is going on.
Arresting people on solicitation charges is much simpler than convicting them. Prosecutors would need to prove an act by the suspect took place where the person willfully agreed to use a prostitute’s services. That’s not always clear-cut.
Officers and prosecutors sometimes count on people accepting guilty verdicts just to get the matter over with. But a defense lawyer can help expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and secure a more favorable result.
Contact an Experienced Solicitation Lawyer Today
If you’re charged with soliciting a prostitute, you must understand what you’re up against. If you have any questions or need a competent criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights in court, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836 for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll discuss what happened and explain how we can discreetly handle these charges.