I was arrested for shoplifting – Now what?

Think before you consider shoplifting! Even small items can add up to big problems. Merchants of all kinds throughout Washington State put significant funding into loss prevention and do not hesitate to encourage prosecution of even the smallest offenses.

If you have been charged with a theft offense, we recommend the following key steps:

  1. Understand the charges
  2. Understand the penalties
  3. Involve experienced legal counsel

Understand the charges:

It is essential to understand the law and the consequences. What may seem like a minor offense could have a very detrimental outcome.

Theft in Washington State is separated into three different categories. The degree is determined by the value of stolen item.

Third-degree theft (RCW §9A.56.050) may be charged if the property or services stolen:

  • Do not exceed $750 in value, or
  • Include 10 or more merchandise pallets, or 10 or more beverage crates, or a combination of 10 or more merchandise pallets and crates

Second-degree theft (RCW §9A.56.040) may be charged if the property or services stolen:

  • Exceeds $750 in value but does not exceed $5,000 in value (other than a firearm or motor vehicle)
  • Includes a public record, writing, or instrument kept, filed, or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public office or public servant
  • Includes commercial metal property, nonferrous metal property, or private metal property, and the costs of the damage to the property fall between $750-$5,000 in value
  • Includes an access device

First-degree theft (RCW §9A.56.030) may be charged if the property or services stolen:

  • Exceeds$5,000 in value (other than a firearm)
  • Includes property of any value (other than a firearm or motor vehicle) taken from another person
  • Includes a search and rescue dog while the dog is on duty
  • Includes commercial metal property, nonferrous metal property, or private metal property, and the costs of the damage to the property exceed $5,000 in value.

Understand the penalties:

Theft in the third degree

  • considered a gross misdemeanor
  • punishable by up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both

Theft in the second degree

  • considered a class C felony
  • punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both

Theft in the first degree

  • considered a class B felony
  • punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $20,000, or both

Involve experienced legal counsel:

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a criminal offense involving theft or shoplifting, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  The earlier you act the more options you may have!

Our criminal defense attorneys are skilled and available to help protect your criminal record and to reach the best possible outcome. Before you pay any penalties or admit to any fault, it is essential that you consult a knowledgeable attorney. Please contact us today for a Free Consultation.

 

I Lost My Temper…. Now What?

The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for many it is just stressful and overwhelming. There can be unrealistic expectations for joy and gift giving, financial pressures and strain, and tense family dynamics.

Tempers flare and emotions run high during the holiday season. With heightened stress levels and the increased consumption of alcohol this time of year, there are more incidents of domestic violence.

Don’t ruin your holidays by lashing out. Be mindful of your own emotions and aware of your behavior. Make decisions that will keep yourself and those around you safe.

Washington state law ardently prosecutes crimes of domestic violence, and conviction can involve very serious and long-lasting consequences. This is not to be taken lightly.

Domestic Violence Crimes:

Domestic violence is defined by Washington state law as any crime committed by one family or household member against another (RCW 26.50.010), which involves physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault. It is often assumed that domestic violence only applies to couples in an intimate relationship. While this is the most common, it is not the only type of relationship included in the definition. Roommates, siblings, and other domestic relationships as defined in RCW 10.99.020 are also included.

Some of the crimes connected with domestic violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Assault
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Coercion
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Burglary
  • Criminal trespassing
  • Malicious mischief
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Violation of protection order
  • Rape
  • Manslaughter or murder
  • Stalking
  • Interfering with the reporting of domestic violence

Furthermore, if you commit a crime of domestic violence and then in any way prevent or attempt to prevent the victim from reporting the crime, you may face an additional charge:  “interfering with the reporting of domestic violence”. Please see our prior blog post for further information about the interfering with domestic violence reporting statute.

Penalties:

Depending upon the classification, circumstances, and severity of the crime, domestic violence convictions may be classified as misdemeanor or felony and penalties may vary significantly. In any case, it is important to understand that domestic violence related cases are taken very seriously in Washington State and consequences can be life altering. Some of the repercussions of a domestic violence arrest or conviction may include jail time, large fines, protection orders, court ordered counseling, and loss of gun rights. This is in addition the long term impacts of a having a criminal record, which may impact employment opportunities, immigration, and even your relationships.

Legal Representation:

*If you are ever in an emergency situation, please call 911 immediately. Safety first!

If you are seeking protection following a domestic violence situation, please contact us. Our criminal defense attorneys will help you to understand your rights and options, including determining whether to file a protection order.

If you find yourself in a position where you are being charged with a domestic violence related crime, including interfering with reporting of domestic violence or defending against a protection order, please don’t waste any time in enlisting competent legal counsel. A qualified and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is essential and we are here to help.

Our attorneys at Dellino Law Group are dedicated to ensuring your rights are fully protected and will work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact us for a Free Consultation.

ARE YOU FACING SEXUAL EXPLOITATION/ PATRONIZING CHARGES?

Several months ago, the Seattle Police Department’s Vice & High Risk Victims Unit set up a successful sting operation in a Seattle massage parlor. This Seattle Times article from July describes the sting operation and the volume of business and arrests that resulted from the operation. At least 204 men, from all walks of life, were arrested for seeking paid sexual services. Please reference the article for more detailed information.

This sting operation was reported to be the first of its kind in Seattle. In prior stings led by the Vice & High Risk Victims Unit, men were arrested and released, receiving a summons in the mail later. The Seattle PD is now pushing mandatory jail bookings when men are arrested for sexual exploitation.

We know that being arrested for sexual exploitation may elicit feelings of shame, fear, and uncertainty. If you are facing sexual exploitation charges and feel unsure about how to proceed, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions, help you fight the charges, and advocate your best interests. You might be feeling unsure about how to handle the arrest, what will happen next, and how charges may impact your life. We can help…

Sexual Exploitation is the name adopted by the Seattle City Council in 2015 to replace the name of the crime “patronizing a prostitute”.

There is no difference in the law behind “sexual exploitation” vs “patronizing a prostitute”, just in the name. The choice to change the name, according to the City Attorney’s Office, had to do with removing the demeaning connotation of using “prostitute” as a noun. This change was another step in Seattle’s shift to re-focus prostitution efforts on targeting solicitors of sex work and businesses that promote the sex trade.

Given the increase of police attention on prostitution activity, it is important to understand the law:

“Sexual Exploitation” in Seattle is the same crime as “Patronizing a Prostitute”, as it remains called elsewhere in Washington State. This crime is a misdemeanor under Washington State legislature (RCW 9A.88.110). A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if:

  • Pursuant to prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.
  • For purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” has the meaning given in RCW 9A.88.030

Patronizing or Sexual Exploitation charges can impact your job, family, criminal record, and even immigration status. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help. If you have any questions about the law or are facing charges of your own, please contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for a Free Consultation.

 

With Hate Crimes and Harassment on the Rise, What can we do?

It has been almost 2 weeks since Election Day. Despite your political preference, it is fair to say these are unsettling times. News sources around the country are reporting a significant spike in hate crimes, harassment, and intimidation.

Just one week post-election, NBC News reported that “hundreds of hate crimes” had been reported. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published a report about these incidents and is continuing to track reports as they come in. SPLC is a group dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and is devoted to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. Hate crimes, including harassment and threats, are occurring all around the country. Multiple incidents are listed and described in the NBC News article, and on widespread news sources daily. Victims of hate crimes are most often targeted because of their race or ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

Many people are frightened about what is happening now and the uncertainty of what may come. Nationwide reports of harassment against ethnic and religious minorities, as well members of the LGBTQ community, continue to surge. UW Bothell is investigating reports of a hate crime targeting several Muslim women on campus. San Jose University and NYU have reported similar incidents of anti-Muslim harassment and threatening behavior. Critics of the President-elect believe the rhetoric used throughout his campaign has largely contributed to a surge in anti-Muslim sentiment and increased incidents of harassment and violence.

New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, calls the rise in hate crimes since Election Day an “explosion”. Cuomo referred to the prejudice, discrimination, and hateful harassment as a “social poison in the fabric of our nation”. The significant rise in such crimes in New York has led to the creation of a special hate crimes police unit.

Millions of concerned citizens across the country are engaging in protests, walkouts, and demonstrations to show solidarity with the communities that may have felt targeted by the President-elect’s campaign, and who continue to feel targeted by fellow Americans. These people are seeking to fight against hatred and hate crimes and demand equality for all.

Our law firm strongly rejects the hateful attitudes and rhetoric that permeated throughout the 2016 campaign. We reject racism, sexism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and all other forms of hate and bigotry.

We urge you to remember that hate crimes are not only inhumane, they are illegal. In Washington State, A person is guilty of malicious harassment (RCW 9a.36.080) if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of his or her perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap:

  • Causes physical injury to the victim or another person;
  • Causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of the victim or another person; or
  • Threatens a specific person or group of persons and places that person, or members of the specific group of persons, in reasonable fear of harm to person or property. The fear must be a fear that a reasonable person would have under all the circumstances.

Please review the statute for additional detail and circumstances which may constitute malicious harassment.

Malicious harassment is a class C felony, punishable under RCW 9a.20.021 by a prison sentence of up to 5 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.

Reporting & Seeking Legal Representation:

To report an immediate incident or one that has just occurred, and/or if you feel that you are in any danger, please call 9-1-1. If the incident has subsided, there are no injuries, and you are out of harm’s way, contact the local police department.

If you have been the victim of any type of hate crime and are in need of legal representation, please contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  Our criminal defense attorneys will explore the ins and outs of your case and pursue the best possible outcome. If you have been unjustly accused of malicious harassment, we can help you to clear your name and avoid a felony conviction on your record. In either case, we are dedicated to helping you understand and advocate for your legal rights.

Please consider reading our recent blog post: How to be kind to yourself and others. During a time when so many people are feeling anxious, nervous, fearful, angry, and saddened, we need to remember what is important: universal kindness and compassion.

I just got served with a protection order…. Now what?

Protection orders need to be taken seriously. If you have been served with a protection order, it is important to know how to proceed. We have highlighted some of the essential steps to take if you are served with a protection order:

1) Seek legal representation ASAP: First and foremost, involve legal counsel as quickly as possible. It is essential that you contact a skilled, experienced defense attorney to advise and represent you. A hearing will be set within 14 days from when the temporary order is issued. The sooner you involve legal counsel, the more time they will have to thoroughly investigate your case and advocate for your best interests effectively.

2) Understand the order: A protection order is something different than a no-contact order and it is separate from any criminal action. A protection order is issued by the court at the request of a person claiming to be a victim of domestic violence or harassment. A temporary order for up to 14 days may be issued. A hearing will be set within 14 days, at which time the court will designate the length of the order, from one year to permanent. Please see our prior blog post for a description and comparison of orders in Washington State (domestic violence protection order, sexual assault protection order, no-contact order, restraining order, anti-harassment order, vulnerable adult protection order, and stalking protection and no-contact orders)

3) Know the terms: Read the protection order carefully. You may be restricted from being within a specified distance of the home, workplace, or school of the petitioner. Understand the terms and do NOT go anywhere the protection order forbids you from being.

4) Do NOT contact the petitioner: Do not take any chances. Do not approach, write, text, email, or contact the petitioner in any way. Do not contact or attempt to connect with the petitioner through social media outlets, and do not facilitate third party contact. Do not try to apologize or inquire to the petitioner about why they have filed the order. Any contact can be considered a violation and you may face serious consequences.

5) Know the consequences: Consequences of violating a protection order include mandatory arrest and may include criminal charges or contempt. These charges can range from gross misdemeanor to class C felony depending upon the situation. You may face up to a year in jail and substantial fines. A protection order is to be taken very seriously – It is essential to avoid any willful violations and to take all steps necessary to avoid accidental violations.

Our criminal defense attorneys are highly skilled, with a track record of fighting against protection orders successfully. We are available to advise you appropriately and help you to navigate this challenging and emotionally charged situation. Contact our experienced attorneys at Dellino Law Group immediately. We will work diligently to advocate for your best interests and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Highlighting Sexual Assault laws, consent, and action planning in Washington State

As discussions and accusations of sexual assault surround the presidential campaign, many people are reflecting on their own experiences. Unfortunately, this is a subject area that is very relevant, very emotional, and very traumatic for many people.

This article highlights sexual assault laws in Washington State, discusses what it means to “consent” to sexual contact, and offers suggestions for what to do if you are sexually assaulted.

*What is Sexual Assault?

“Sexual assault” is a term used to refer to any type of sexual activity that lacks consent. Legal definitions of sexual assault crimes vary by state, but sexual assault may include non-consensual intercourse or rape, attempted rape, unwanted sexual touching, and sexual harassment.

*Sexual Assault Laws in Washington State:

In Washington State, there are three different degrees of rape crimes, involving non-consensual sexual intercourse. Additionally, there is a law called “Indecent Liberties” prohibiting sexual conduct that is anything other than sexual intercourse, without the victim’s consent.

Rape in the first degree (class A felony): RCW 9A.44.040:  Forced sexual intercourse without the victim’s consent, where the perpetrator:

  • uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon
  • kidnaps the victim; or
  • inflicts serious physical injury
  • enters into the building or vehicle where the victim is located

Rape in the second degree (class A felony): RCW 9A.44.050:  Forced sexual intercourse without the victim’s consent, where:

  • the perpetrator uses forcible compulsion (physical force or threat), or
  • the victim is incapable of consent because he/she is physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or developmentally disabled.

Rape in the third degree (class C felony): RCW 9A.44.060:  Forced sexual intercourse without the victim’s consent, where:

  • circumstances do not constitute first or second degree rape
  • victim’s lack of consent was expressed by words or conduct, or
  • there is threat of substantial harm to victim’s property rights

Indecent Liberties (class A felony): RCW 9a.44.100:  Forced sexual contact without the victim’s consent, where:

  • the perpetrator uses forcible compulsion (physical force or threat), or
  • the victim is incapable of consent because he/she is physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or developmentally disabled.
  • Sexual contact” means any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person done for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party or a third party.

There are additional laws and statutes covering child molestation crimes, custodial misconduct, incest, child rape, and sexual misconduct with minors. Please see Chapter 9a.44 RCW for details.

*Understanding Consent:

Consent means “giving permission for something to happen”. In terms of sexual contact, consent means willingly choosing to participate. The University of Washington webpage aptly describes what consent looks like:

  • Consent is not the absence of a no, it’s the presence of a yes
  • The best way to know if you have consent is to ask
  • Consent can always be withdrawn
  • Consent isn’t something given just once; it’s ongoing active process
  • Nothing makes consent automatic or unnecessary
  • In some situations, full, informed and free consent cannot truly be given (incapacitated by alcohol, drugs, emotional distress or coercion)

*What to do if you are sexually assaulted:

  • If you are in an emergency situation, please call 911 immediately.
  • Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline for help or support: 1-800-656-HOPE
  • Talk to someone you can trust. Utilize emotional support to help take care of yourself.
  • Seek medical care. This is important for treating or preventing illness or injury and also for collecting evidence should you choose to press charges.
  • Contact the police. It is your decision whether to file a report and your right to do so. It is beneficial to your case to do this as quickly as possible, but it can be done later as well.
  • Obtain legal representation. It is essential to have a skilled attorney on your side to advise you of your options and advocate for your best interests.
  • Seek professional counseling. Sexual assault is a traumatic experience and we recommend you seek supportive counseling to help you cope with the impacts of the assault.

*Legal Representation:

If you are seeking protection following a sexual assault, please contact us. Our criminal defense attorneys will help you to understand your rights and options, including determining whether to file a protection order.

If you find yourself in a position where you are being falsely accused of a sexual assault crime, please don’t waste any time in enlisting competent legal counsel. A qualified and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is essential and we are here to help.

Our criminal defense attorneys at Dellino Law Group are dedicated to ensuring your rights are fully protected and will work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact us for a Free Consultation.

 

 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is intended to increase awareness and advocacy across the nation. The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence describes some of the key themes of DVAM including mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and joining together to end violence.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is another organization passionate about putting an end to the violence. NNEDV states that domestic violence thrives when we are silent, but if we take a stand and work together, we can end it. Please see the organization’s website about ways to raise awareness and get involved.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month seems like an appropriate time to discuss domestic violence from a legal perspective. Washington state law ardently prosecutes crimes of domestic violence, and conviction can involve very serious and long-lasting consequences. This is not to be taken lightly.

Domestic Violence Crimes:

Domestic violence is defined by Washington state law as any crime committed by one family or household member against another (RCW 26.50.010), which involves physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault. It is often assumed that domestic violence only applies to couples in an intimate relationship. While this is the most common, it is not the only type of relationship included in the definition. Roommates, siblings, and other domestic relationships as defined in RCW 10.99.020 are also included.

Some of the crimes connected with domestic violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Assault
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Coercion
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Burglary
  • Criminal trespassing
  • Malicious mischief
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Violation of protection order
  • Rape
  • Manslaughter or murder
  • Stalking
  • Interfering with the reporting of domestic violence

Furthermore, if you commit a crime of domestic violence and then in any way prevent or attempt to prevent the victim from reporting the crime, you may face an additional charge:  “interfering with the reporting of domestic violence”. Please see our prior blog post for further information about the interfering with domestic violence reporting statute.

Penalties:

Depending upon the classification, circumstances, and severity of the crime, domestic violence convictions may be classified as misdemeanor or felony and penalties may vary significantly. In any case, it is important to understand that domestic violence related cases are taken very seriously in Washington State and consequences can be life altering. Some of the repercussions of a domestic violence arrest or conviction may include jail time, large fines, protection orders, court ordered counseling, and loss of gun rights. This is in addition the long term impacts of a having a criminal record, which may impact employment opportunities, immigration, and even your relationships.

Legal Representation:

*If you are ever in an emergency situation, please call 911 immediately. Safety first!

If you are seeking protection following a domestic violence situation, please contact us. Our criminal defense attorneys will help you to understand your rights and options, including determining whether to file a protection order.

Our attorneys at Dellino Law Group are dedicated to ensuring your rights are fully protected and will work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact us for a Free Consultation.

LEAD program expands, offering more non-violent drug offenders an alternative to jail

For drug-related offenses in Washington State, there are several alternatives to incarceration that the courts may consider. These programs generally involve substance abuse treatment/rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration.

The Seattle Times describes the expansion of one of these programs, which is designed for non-violent drug offenders as an alternative to incarceration. Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) started in Belltown in 2011 and has recently expanded to Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, presenting this alternative to more individuals who are facing drug charges.

LEAD reflects a model that is gaining momentum nationally. Other cities and states are beginning to allocate funding for similar programs, given the great success of LEAD in Seattle.

In this program, non-violent drug offenders are assigned to case managers who help them connect to much needed resources. Resources target addiction and mental health treatment, homelessness, and vocational services.  The intention is to help break the cycle for many offenders who cycle in and out of jail.

There are specific requirements involved with being accepted into LEAD. Participants must possess less than 3 grams of drugs when arrested and they must not have felony convictions for serious violent crimes and other offenses. They also cannot be suspected of exploiting minors in a drug-dealing operation or promoting prostitution. For those who are accepted into LEAD, no criminal charges are filed.

We can help:

Drug offenses in Washington State are referred to as VUSCA: Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act. The Uniform Controlled Substance Act is outlined in Chapter 69.50 RCW. In Washington State, the term “controlled substance” is applied to all illegal drugs. Please see our prior blog post about drug possession laws in Washington State.

Programs such as LEAD are great alternative to incarceration, but you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney on your side. There may be other alternatives, such as probation or drug court, if you cannot qualify for LEAD.

If you are facing drug related charges, it is imperative that you work with an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can thoroughly explore your options and fight for your best interests. We understand that a drug conviction can have significant negative repercussions, including but not limited to fines and jail time. Your job, relationships, and livelihood may be at stake. Our criminal attorneys at Dellino Law Group have vast experience and expertise in this area and are ready to work diligently and effectively to ensure you receive the best possible results. Please contact us today for a Free Consultation.

Review the crime stats & policing plan in your Seattle neighborhood

The Seattle Police Department has new policing plans for each city neighborhood based on its Micro Community Policing Plans (MCPPs). This Seattle PI article describes the SPD’s new website, breaking down crime statistics by neighborhoods and detailing how the MCPPs intend to target the neighborhoods’ specified needs.

Micro Community Policing Plans are intended to address the fact that each Seattle neighborhood is unique and with differing needs. MCPPs use crime data, engagement with the community, and police services to gather information about perceptions of crime and public safety. The plans are then designed to meet the unique needs of each community, with an emphasis on citizen perceptions – not just statistics.

The article lists Seattle’s citywide crime statistics, from January – June 2016:

Homicide: 11
Rape: 79
Robbery: 761
Aggravated assault: 1,030
Arson: 50
Burglary: 3,778
Theft: 13,131
Car theft: 1,946

On the new website, the SPD breaks down the crime rates and policing priorities for 60 identified neighborhoods. You can review current SPD strategies and the MCPP neighborhood crime statistics. There is also a mechanism to enter in your address if you want to figure out which “micro community” you reside in.

The Seattle PI article also summarizes each neighborhood’s statistics and SPD policing plans, which you can view by scrolling through the article photos and reviewing the captions. Here is an example of what is listed for the Sodo micro-community:

Sodo
Homicide: 1
Rape: 2
Robbery: 7
Aggravated assault: 25
Arson: 0
Burglary: 30
Theft: 151
Vehicle theft: 25

“SPD’s micro-community priorities: Clamp down on commercial burglaries; use patrolling to curb drug use, drug dealing and public drinking and urination; patrol sporting events for vandalism, urination and littering.”

Be sure to review the data for where you live and where you spend your time. Help protect yourself from preventable arrests by being well informed of police activity and strategy!

If you find yourself charged with any of the above named crimes, please give our criminal defense attorneys at Dellino Law Group a call immediately so we may begin assisting with your defense and advocating for the best possible outcome in your case.

Major sting operation targets Sexual Exploitation/Prostitution in Seattle

Buyer, beware!  The Vice & High Risk Victims Unit of the SPD set up a successful sting operation in a Seattle massage parlor – the first of its kind in the city.

The Seattle Times describes the sting. Detectives reportedly used a massage parlor in the University District, which they had shut down earlier this year. The business had been shut down due to complaints and investigation into prostitution at both this location and the second location a few blocks away.

The sting operation ran 10 days and utilized undercover female officers (“UCs”). Detectives announced the grand opening of “Euro Spa”, formerly Bamboo Spa, and posted website advertisements. UCs blatantly offered sexual services to the men who set up appointments by phone or sought services in person. Please reference the Seattle Times article for more detailed information about the operation.

Police were astounded by the volume of business elicited by the operation; 204 men, from all walks of life, were arrested for seeking paid sexual services.

In prior stings led by the Vice & High Risk Victims Unit, men were arrested and released, receiving a summons in the mail later. The Seattle PD is now pushing mandatory jail bookings when men are arrested for sexual exploitation.

Sexual Exploitation is the name adopted by the Seattle City Council in 2015 to replace the name of the crime “patronizing a prostitute”.

There is no difference in the law behind “sexual exploitation” vs “patronizing a prostitute”, just in the name. The choice to change the name, according to the City Attorney’s Office, had to do with removing the demeaning connotation of using “prostitute” as a noun. This change was another step in Seattle’s shift to re-focus prostitution efforts on targeting solicitors of sex work and businesses that promote the sex trade.

Given the increase of police attention on prostitution activity, it is important to understand the law:

“Sexual Exploitation” in Seattle is the same crime as “Patronizing a Prostitute”, as it remains called elsewhere in Washington State. This crime is a misdemeanor under Washington State legislature (RCW 9A.88.110). A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if:

  • Pursuant to prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.
  • For purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” has the meaning given in RCW 9A.88.030

Patronizing or Sexual Exploitation charges can impact your job, family, criminal record, and even immigration status. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help. If you have any questions about the law or are facing charges of your own, please contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for a Free Consultation.

 

 

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