Washington law says that you commit the crime of “compounding” if you offer, request, accept, or agree to accept any money or something of value in exchange for concealing a crime or abstaining from prosecuting the crime. Compounding a crime is a serious misdemeanor in Washington (as opposed to a felony) that can result in a county jail term of up to one year. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you are facing any type of compounding charge.
How Does Washington Law Define the Crime of Compounding?
RCW 9A.76.100 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of compounding. Per this law, you are guilty of an offense if you either:
- Request, accept, or agree to accept any financial benefit with the understanding that you will refrain from initiating a prosecution for a crime, or
- Offer or discuss any financial benefit to another with the understanding that the other person will refrain from initiating a prosecution for a crime.
Essentially, you are guilty of a crime if you offer, request, accept, or agree to accept any money or something of value in exchange for concealing a crime or abstaining from prosecuting the crime.
What are the Penalties?
Compounding a crime is charged as a gross misdemeanor in Washington. A conviction of the offense is punishable by:
- Custody in county jail for up to one year, and
- A maximum fine of $5,000.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. You have the right to challenge a compounding charge with a legal defense. One common defense is for you to show that you did not accept any financial benefit with an agreement to abstain from prosecuting a crime. Perhaps, for example, you accepted a benefit in connection with some other action/agreement.
Further, it is always a defense in these cases for your criminal defense attorney to show that the police somehow violated your rights. In some cases, the authorities may:
- Arrest you without probable cause,
- Coerce a confession, or
- Conduct an unlawful search and seizure.
If any of the above occurs, then your defense lawyer can move to reduce your charges or dismiss your case altogether.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a compounding charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various misdemeanor charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!