COMMUNICATION WITH A MINOR FOR IMMORAL PURPOSES
Washington criminal law makes it an offense for a person to communicate with a minor for immoral purposes (“CMIP”). This is a type of sex crime under the law and a conviction of the offense could have lasting impacts on a person’s life – including having to register as a sex offender. If you or a loved one has been charged with this crime, please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney now.
THE OFFENSE OF CMIP
RCW 9.68A.090 is the Washington statute on the offense of CMIP. This statute states that it is a crime for a person to either:
- Communicate with a minor for immoral purposes, or
- Communicate with someone the person believes to be a minor for immoral purposes.
Some definitions are necessary to help better understand this crime. Washington law says that a minor is a person 16 years of age or younger. Courts have ruled that “immoral purposes” means “for the predatory purpose of promoting the exposure of children to and involvement in sexual misconduct.” Communications for immoral purposes may include:
- Obscene language,
- Talking of sexual words or acts, and
- Exposure to images of a sexual nature.
Please note that communication includes both conduct and speech. It also may include communication that is done:
- Via telephone or writing, and
- Electronically (e.g., by means of text messages, E-mail, and internet-based communications).
PENALTIES FOR CMIP
The penalties for communication with a minor for immoral purposes will vary depending on how the crime was committed and the criminal history of the accused. The offense will be charged as a gross misdemeanor if:
- The defendant has no prior record; and,
- He communicated by means of simple speech, writing, or some physical act.
As a gross misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by one year in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Communication with a minor for immoral purposes will be charged as a Class C felony if:
- The accused has a criminal record involving this crime or certain felony sexual offenses; and,
- He communicated electronically.
As a Class C felony, the crime is punishable by imprisonment for five years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Note that regardless of whether a defendant is convicted of misdemeanor CMIP or felony CMIP, the conviction will require him to register as a sex offender.
LEGAL DEFENSES TO CHALLENGE CMIP CHARGES
A defendant can raise a legal defense to try and challenge an accusation of CMIP. A good defense can work to reduce a charge or even dismiss it altogether. Some common defenses to communication with a minor for immoral purposes include:
- The alleged victim was older than 16 and the accused knew this;
- The accused did not “communicate” with the alleged victim; and,
- While the accused may have engaged in communications, they were not for “immoral purposes.”
Please note, though, that it will require an experienced criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The Seattle criminal lawyers at Black Law have the experience and passion that are necessary in beating criminal charges. They have over 20 years of combined experience in defending these types of cases and delivering superior results for their clients. Do yourself a favor and contact them now for the legal help you deserve.
We serve clients throughout Washington including those in the following localities: King County including Bellevue, Kent, and Seattle; Benton County including Kennewick; Chelan County including Wenatchee; Clallam County including Port Angeles; Grays Harbor County including Aberdeen; Kitsap County including Port Orchard; Kittitas County including Ellensburg; Pierce County including Tacoma; Skagit County including Mount Vernon; Snohomish County including Everett; Spokane County including Spokane; Thurston County including Olympia; Whatcom County including Bellingham; and Yakima County including Yakima.
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