Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor/Patronizing a Juvenile Prostitute Defense Attorneys

Washington laws regarding the frequenting of juvenile prostitutes are some of the strictest in the nation, and today the consequences of soliciting a prostitute who turns out to be a minor can be very severe. At The Meryhew Law Group we have represented many people who have either picked up a prostitute on the highway or through an ad online, only to discover that the person they solicited was a minor. More and more we see cases involving craigslist, backpage.com and other online services where telling the age of the person advertising is very difficult if not impossible.

Prior to 2010 the sentence for patronizing a juvenile prostitute was 1 to 3 months in the County jail for a first offense, and no requirement that the person register as a sex offender. Since 2010, however, the mandatory prison sentence for a first offense of commercial sexual abuse of a minor is 21 to 27 months in prison, and now the offender is required to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 10 years, and perhaps longer.

At The Meryhew Law Group we have a proven track record of representing clients accused of the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor/Patronizing a Juvenile Prostitute, and the various other crimes charged in these circumstances. We have had many dismissed when the government could not produce their witness at trial. Others have been reduced to offenses with relatively minor jail sentences, and to offenses that do not require sex offender registration. The key in these cases is to develop a strategy to undermine the State's confidence in their case while proving that our client is a good person who deserves a break. We are proud of the work we have done with these clients, most of who had no idea the prostitute they were soliciting was a minor.

If you have been charged with the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor you are facing a fight that could change your entire life. Call us today to learn how we can help you fight this battle and save your future.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor/Patronizing a Juvenile Prostitute.

1. What King Of Jail Or Prison Sentence Could I Receive For A Commercial Sexual Abuse Of A Minor Related Offense?

Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor is a Class B felony sex offense, with a standard sentencing range of at least 21 to 27 months in prison for a single instance and a first offense, with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. For repeat offenders or those with other criminal history the sentences can be significantly longer.

Promoting the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor is a Class A violent felony sex offense, with a standard sentencing range of 93 to 123 months in prison for a single instance and a first offense, with a maximum sentence of 318 months in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Promoting Travel for the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor is a Class C felony sex offense, with a standard sentencing range of 0 to 12 months in a County jail for a single instance and a first offense, with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Advertising the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor is a Class C felony sex offense with a standard sentencing range of 0 to 12 months in a County jail for a single instance and a first offense, with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Permitting the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor is a gross misdemeanor punishable by 0 to 364 days in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.

2. What Does The Government Have To Prove To Find Me Guilty Of Commercial Sexual Abuse Of A Minor?

RCW 9.68A.100 Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor

  1. A person is guilty of commercial sexual abuse of a minor if:
    1. He or she pays a fee to a minor or a third person as compensation for a minor having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her;
    2. He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to a minor or a third person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefore such minor will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or
    3. He or she solicits, offers, or requests to engage in sexual conduct with a minor in return for a fee.
  2. Commercial sexual abuse of a minor is a class B felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

3. What Does The Government Have To Prove To Find Me Guilty Of Promoting The Commercial Sexual Abuse Of A Minor?

Promoting the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor

  1. A person is guilty of promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor if he or she knowingly advances commercial sexual abuse or a sexually explicit act of a minor or profits from a minor engaged in sexual conduct or a sexually explicit act.
  2. Promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor is a class A felony.
  3. For the purposes of this section:
    1. A person "advances commercial sexual abuse of a minor" if, acting other than as a minor receiving compensation for personally rendered sexual conduct or as a person engaged in commercial sexual abuse of a minor, he or she causes or aids a person to commit or engage in commercial sexual abuse of a minor, procures or solicits customers for commercial sexual abuse of a minor, provides persons or premises for the purposes of engaging in commercial sexual abuse of a minor, operates or assists in the operation of a house or enterprise for the purposes of engaging in commercial sexual abuse of a minor, or engages in any other conduct designed to institute, aid, cause, assist, or facilitate an act or enterprise of commercial sexual abuse of a minor.
    2. A person "profits from commercial sexual abuse of a minor" if, acting other than as a minor receiving compensation for personally rendered sexual conduct, he or she accepts or receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person whereby he or she participates or will participate in the proceeds of commercial sexual abuse of a minor.
    3. A person "advances a sexually explicit act of a minor" if he or she causes or aids a sexually explicit act of a minor, procures or solicits customers for a sexually explicit act of a minor, provides persons or premises for the purposes of a sexually explicit act of a minor, or engages in any other conduct designed to institute, aid, cause, assist, or facilitate a sexually explicit act of a minor.
    4. A "sexually explicit act" is a public, private, or live photographed, recorded, or videotaped act or show intended to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires or appeal to the prurient interests of patrons and for which something of value is given or received.
    5. A "patron" is a person who pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person as compensation for a sexually explicit act of a minor or who solicits or requests a sexually explicit act of a minor in return for a fee. RCW 9.68A.101

4. What Does The Government Have To Prove To Find Me Guilty Of Promoting Travel For The Commercial Sexual Abuse Of A Minor?

Promoting Travel for the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor

A person commits the offense of promoting travel for commercial sexual abuse of a minor if he or she knowingly sells or offers to sell travel services that include or facilitate travel for the purpose of engaging in what would be commercial sexual abuse of a minor or promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, if occurring in this state. RCW 9.68A.102

5. What Does The Government Have To Prove To Find Me Guilty Of Permitting The Commercial Sexual Abuse Of A Minor?

Permitting the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor

A person is guilty of permitting commercial sexual abuse of a minor if, having possession or control of premises which he or she knows are being used for the purpose of commercial sexual abuse of a minor, he or she fails without lawful excuse to make reasonable effort to halt or abate such use and to make a reasonable effort to notify law enforcement of such use. RCW 9.68A.103

6. What Does The Government Have To Prove To Find Me Guilty Of Advertising The Commercial Sexual Abuse Of A Minor?

Advertising the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor

  1. A person commits the offense of advertising commercial sexual abuse of a minor if he or she knowingly publishes, disseminates, or displays, or causes directly or indirectly, to be published, disseminated, or displayed, any advertisement for a commercial sex act, which is to take place in the state of Washington and that includes the depiction of a minor. RCW 9.68A.104

7. Is It A Defense To The Charge Of Advertising The Commercial Sexual Abuse Of A Minor If You Did Not Know The Age Of The Minor Depicted In The Advertisement?

Maybe, but it is very difficult to prove. In a prosecution for Advertising the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor it is not a defense that the defendant did not know the age of the minor depicted in the advertisement. It is a defense, which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant made a reasonable bona fide attempt to ascertain the true age of the minor depicted in the advertisement by requiring, prior to publication, dissemination, or display of the advertisement, production of a driver's license, marriage license, birth certificate, or other governmental or educational identification card or paper of the minor depicted in the advertisement and did not rely solely on oral or written representations of the minor's age, or the apparent age of the minor as depicted. In order to invoke the defense, the defendant must produce for inspection by law enforcement a record of the identification used to verify the age of the person depicted in the advertisement. RCW 9.68A.104 (2)

8. Is It A Defense To The Other Crimes Related To The Commercial Sexual Abuse Of A Minor If You Did Not Know The Age Of The Minor Being Solicited Or Patronized For Prostitution?

In a prosecution under RCW 9.68A.100 (Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor), 9.68A.101 (Promoting the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor), or 9.68A.102 (Promoting Travel for the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor), it is not a defense that the defendant did not know the alleged victim's age. It is a defense, which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that at the time of the offense, the defendant made a reasonable bona fide attempt to ascertain the true age of the minor by requiring production of a driver's license, marriage license, birth certificate, or other governmental or educational identification card or paper and did not rely solely on the oral allegations or apparent age of the minor. RCW 9.68A.110.

9. What Are The Other Consequences Of A Conviction For One Of These Offenses?

Sex Offender Registration.

Conviction for any felony offense related to the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor will subject the offender to a minimum requirement of ten years of registration as a sex offender. RCW 9.94A.030, 9A.44.128

Heavy Fines.

  1. An arrest for Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor or Promoting Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor or Promoting Travel for the Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor an lead to the assessment of a five thousand dollar fee.
  2. The court may not reduce, waive, or suspend payment of all or part of the fee assessed unless it finds, on the record, that the person does not have the ability to pay in which case it may reduce the fee by an amount up to two-thirds of the maximum allowable fee. RCW 9.68A.105

Geographical Restrictions.

  1. When sentencing or imposing conditions on a person convicted of, or receiving a deferred sentence or deferred prosecution for, violating RCW…9.68A.100 (Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor), the court must impose a requirement that the offender:
    1. Not be subsequently arrested for patronizing a prostitute or commercial sexual abuse of a minor;
    2. Remain outside the geographical area, prescribed by the court, in which the person was arrested for violating RCW 9A.88.110 or 9.68A.100, unless such a requirement would interfere with the person's legitimate employment or residence or otherwise be infeasible; and
    3. Fulfill the terms of a program, if a first-time offender, designated by the sentencing court, designed to educate offenders about the negative costs of prostitution. RCW 9A.88.130

Vehicle Impoundment.

Upon an arrest for a suspected violation of commercial sexual abuse of a minor, promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, or promoting travel for commercial sexual abuse of a minor, the arresting law enforcement officer shall impound the person's vehicle if (a) the motor vehicle was used in the commission of the crime; and (b) the person arrested is the owner of the vehicle or the vehicle is a rental car as defined in RCW 46.04.465.You can get the vehicle back by paying all impoundment, towing and storage fees as well as a $500 fine. RCW 9A.88.140.