People in Washington are guilty of promoting prostitution in the first degree if they force or threaten someone to engage in prostitution. The crime is a serious felony under Washington law that can result in custody in state prison for up to a decade. If you or a loved one is facing prostitution charges, please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now for help.

How Does Washington Law Define First Degree Promoting Prostitution?

RCW 9A.88.070 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of first-degree promoting prostitution. According to this law, you are guilty of a crime if you:

  • Threaten or force someone to engage in prostitution,
  • Profit from a situation where someone is forced or threatened to engage in prostitution,
  • Compel a person with a mental incapacity or developmental disability to engage in prostitution, or
  • Profit from a situation where a person with a mental incapacity or developmental disability is compelled to engage in prostitution.

Note that “profiting” from prostitution means you:

  • accept or receive money or something of value from a person, and
  • do so as a result of an agreement with that person whereby he/she serves as a prostitute.

What are the Penalties?

Promoting prostitution in the first degree is a Class B felony under Washington law (as opposed to a misdemeanor). The crime is punishable by:

  • Custody in state prison for up to 10 years, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $20,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. People accused of promoting prostitution can contest the accusation with a legal defense. For example, defendants can show that they never compelled a person to engage in prostitution. Maybe the “victim” voluntarily engaged in prostitution,

A criminal defense lawyer can also try to challenge an accusation by showing that the police violated one of the defendant’s constitutional rights. For example, maybe the authorities:

  • arrested a defendant without probable cause, or
  • coerced a confession.

In these cases, a judge can dismiss or reduce any criminal charges because of the violation.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a prostitution charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various prostitution related charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!