Bills strengthening child sex trafficking penalties being proposed in Washington

Being accused of a high-profile crime is a life-changing experience. Friends and family may leave, and not believe any of the explanations being offered. News highlighting the crime will make it appear that the accused is guilty, without allowing the individual an opportunity to present a response to the allegations.

Often, high-profile crimes spur action by legislators to strengthen the penalties that an individual may be facing if convicted. Washington has seen an increase in the number of child sex trafficking cases, which is concerning to officials. This has led to several new bills being proposed to try to reduce the number of these crimes that are occurring across the state, and addresses both those that advertise these services, as well as those that patronize the underage prostitutes.

One of the bills would replace a law previously enacted that was found unconstitutional. The new law would attach a $5,000 fine to anyone convicted of various offenses related to child sex trafficking, including advertising the services online. A second bill would require that anyone convicted of having sex with an underage prostitute register as a sex offender.

Those individuals required to register as a sex offender will experience significant challenges as they try to move forward after their release from jail. They may be unable to find work or a place to live, because the requirements make certain occupations and neighborhoods off-limits. The offenders must register with local law enforcement each time they move to a new location, and the community will be notified as well. Failing to register will result in additional criminal charges being filed.

These requirements can last for a significant period of time. Offenders may be able to petition the court to be removed off of the list, but it can be a challenge to get the court to agree to release the individual from these obligations.

If you are accused of a sex crime, you know that you need to take the matter seriously. You need to remember that you do have the right to remain silent, so do not talk to the police. You may not have done anything wrong, but anything that you say can be used to try to put you in jail for a long, long time. The police may seem friendly and act like they are looking out for you, but they are only hoping that you keep talking with them.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights and offer a strong defense against the accusations that you are facing. With the consequences of a sex-crime conviction being so severe, you need to know and understand the options that are available to you.