Arrested in a Harris County Sting? 5 Things to Keep in MindPublished: Oct 05, 2020 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes
In September 2020, a collaborative human trafficking sting operation between 23 agencies dubbed “Operation Patriot,” made 46 arrests across Harris County and neighboring areas over a span of four days.
Of those charged, many were suspected human traffickers and sex buyers, commonly called “johns.” Some were charged with felonies related to human trafficking, as well as prostitution, promotion of prostitution, and felony drug charges.
These situations are highly volatile and unsuspecting people often get caught up in situations they did not appreciate. If you were arrested in an online sting for an alleged sexual offense, whether you believed you were visiting a legitimate business or talking with a consenting adult online, contact an experienced lawyer in Houston. At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we can review the details, help clear up any misunderstandings, and help you properly deal with the fallout discretely.
If you are arrested in a Houston prostitution sting or accused of online solicitation, you need to protect yourself immediately. Call us today at (713) 222-6767.
Houston Online Sting Operations
Stories of string operations are more common than you might imagine. Local and federal law enforcement agencies in Texas are concentrating on prostitution and prostitution-related crimes, particularly because of their connection with human trafficking.
To make arrests, police officers frequently set up fake online personas, attempting to lure people into unlawful situations, particularly when it involves children and young adults. They may also go undercover at businesses they suspect of participating in prostitution.
5 Things to Know if You’re Arrested in a Sting
If you have been arrested in a Houston-area prostitution or human trafficking sting, you need to understand and assert your rights. In addition to contacting an experienced lawyer immediately, here are some things that may help:
1. You Can Remain Silent.
If you are arrested in relation to a sting, you can invoke your right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any of the police officer’s questions. To properly invoke this right, specifically say to the officers “I am invoking my right to remain silent and will not answer any questions until I have an attorney present.” After you say this, you must continue to not answer questions to maintain this right.
2. An Attorney Can Help.
At the earliest opportunity, contact a criminal defense lawyer or reach out to a trusted family member or friend who can call an attorney on your behalf. You should not wait to get an attorney or assume doing so makes you look guilty. When facing prostitution, online solicitation, or other related charges, you need objective legal advice as soon as possible. A lawyer can explain the situation, ensure you are treated fairly and is the best option to avoid formal charges.
3. You May Be Charged with a Felony.
Many people wrongfully believe these offenses are no big deal and easily dealt with. But if your alleged offense involves a minor or you have previous convictions, then you may face felony charges, punishable by years in prison. To avoid a felony conviction on your record, you need a Houston sex crime lawyer. A lawyer can help limit the evidence against you, negotiate for more favorable outcomes, and protect you from the worst possible consequences.
4. You May Face Sex Offender Registration.
If you are convicted of compelling prostitution or a child sex crime, you could be forced to register as a sex offender. Being required to register as a sex offender can have a profound impact on your life. It can make it extremely difficult to finish your education and get a good job. It can also restrict where you are able to live, making it difficult to establish yourself in a community.
5. You can be convicted without any sex act taking place.
Prosecutors do not have to prove that a sex act took place to convict you. So long as you took reasonable steps to commit a sex crime or there was a knowing offer to engage in or the agreement to engage in sexual contact for money or something else of value, then you can be charged and potentially convicted.
Contact a Houston Sex Crimes Lawyer Today
If you have been arrested and charged with any sexual offense, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett immediately. The best way to avoid having to register as a sex offender and other harsh consequences of a sex crimes conviction is to build the strongest defense possible under the law. A Houston sex crimes lawyer can do just that.