In recent years, Indiana has seen an increasing amount of online prostitution stings. Undercover officers will pose as potential customers to target people, often women, who offer escort services, massage therapy, or dating services through online ads or websites. The officer will make contact with the person to set up a meeting, then after exchanging money, arrest them for soliciting sexual services online.
Getting arrested for internet prostitution in Indiana can bring serious consequences. In most cases, prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor. However, you could face a level 6 felony if you have been convicted twice for the same offense. At a minimum, you may face a year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
Moreover, a prostitution charge can badly damage your reputation, disrupt your family life, and cause you to suffer great embarrassment. If convicted, you will have a criminal record that could hinder you from obtaining a dream job, qualify for a loan or scholarship, or even find quality housing.
So, what to do if you are arrested? Here are three critical tips.
- Don’t talk. The first step is to use your Constitutional right to remain silent. Don’t try to defend yourself or explain to the police–you are likely to accidentally incriminate yourself and make the situation worse. Be cooperative by giving them your name and other essential information when asked, but if they begin asking questions about or talking about the facts surrounding charges, politely inform them that you are exercising your right to remain silent and would like to speak to a lawyer.
- Call a lawyer. Next, contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending against internet prostitution charges as soon as possible. Don’t just assume that you can’t win. A skilled defense lawyer can help assure that the police and courts treat you fairly, protect your rights, and uncover facts that help prove that you have not violated the law. An attorney can also negotiate a plea bargain that allows you to avoid jail time or pay a reduced fine amount.
- Protect your property. With an online prostitution charge, the police will be interested in getting their hands on your cell phone, laptop, or computer. Unless they have a warrant, do not voluntarily allow a search of your property or give personal property to the investigators. The police may try to convince you that cooperating with them by handing over these items can help your case, but always remember that they are not on your side. They are looking for facts that will help their bolster their case, not yours. Only your criminal defense attorney is looking out for your interests.