Because of the recent media attention – particularly, on the abuse surrounding exploited women forced into sexual servitude – prostitution is increasingly investigated by the authorities and harshly prosecuted. With the use of the internet, police regularly set up “sting” operations designed to capture prostitutes and their clientele. In the government’s eyes, nobody is innocent. The prostitutes, “Johns,” and “pimps” all face harsh penalties for engaging these activities.
Prostitution-related charges range from gross misdemeanors to Class B felonies. Defendants face prison, embarrassment, humiliation and ruination of careers. Also, the authorities can seize the property and impound the vehicles of those who promote prostitution. Finally, the State can impose thousands of dollars of additional fees and assessments to “Johns” who have a criminal history of patronizing prostitutes. Consequently, it’s important to hire competent defense counsel to defend against prostitution-related charges.
A person is guilty of prostitution if such person engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.
It is an affirmative defense that the actor committed the offense as a result of being a victim of trafficking, promoting prostitution in the first degree, or trafficking in persons.
A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if, pursuant to a prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for engaging in sexual conduct with him or her; or solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee. This crime is a gross misdemeanor punishable up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine.
A person is guilty of promoting prostitution in the first degree if he or she knowingly advances prostitution by compelling a person by threat or force to engage in prostitution or profits from prostitution which results from such threat or force. This crime is a Class B Felony punishable up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000.00 fine.
A person is guilty of promoting prostitution in the second degree if he or she knowingly profits from prostitution; or advances prostitution. This crime is a Class C Felony punishable up to 5 years prison and a $10,000.00 fine.
A person is guilty of permitting prostitution if, having possession or control of premises which he or she knows are being used for prostitution purposes, he or she fails without lawful excuse to make reasonable effort to halt or abate such use. This crime is a gross misdemeanor punishable up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine.
A person commits the offense of promoting travel for prostitution if the person knowingly sells or offers to sell travel services that include or facilitate travel for the purpose of engaging in what would be patronizing a prostitute or promoting prostitution, if occurring in the state. This crime is a Class C Felony punishable up to 5 years prison and a $10,000.00 fine.
If you or someone you care about faces prostitution-related charges in Skagit County or Whatcom County, call attorney Alexander Ransom today for a free, no-pressure case evaluation. Alexander has a reputation in the legal community as an aggressive, effective and experienced criminal defense attorney. He is here to assist you through these difficult times.