Washington prostitution law

The state of Washington categorizes its prohibition of prostitution into two sections: prostitution/patronization and promotion/advancement. With less serious misdemeanor penalties, the state makes up for it with its class C and B felony convictions of more serious aspects of prostitution crime.

Prostitution and patronization

One who engages in or agrees to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee is guilty of prostitution in Washington. Sexual conduct includes sexual intercourse and any form of sexual contact.

A customer of a prostitute who offers to pay or pays a fee in order for another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her is guilty of patronization. Anyone using a motor vehicle to commit patronization may have his or her vehicle impounded if:

  1. He or she is the owner of the vehicle, and
  2. He or she has been convicted of patronization previously

Both crimes are considered misdemeanors by the laws of Washington and are punishable with up to 90 days imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000. The law does not discriminate between sexes when prostitution is being charged. It is no defense if both parties were of the same sex or if the prostitute was male and the patron a female. Guilt is not dependent on sex, but it determined by the crime.

Promotion and advancement

Someone who profits from prostitution acts by receiving money pursuant to any agreement with any person who participates in prostitution and receives fees for personally rendered services. So, in other words, anyone who receives a cut of the profit is guilty of promotion of prostitution.

Additionally, advancement of prostitution includes several scenarios. They include:

  • Causing or aiding another to commit or engage in acts of prostitution.
  • Procuring or soliciting customers for prostitutes.
  • Providing persons with premises in which to commit acts of prostitution.
  • Operating or controlling a house of prostitution or prostitution enterprise.
  • Engaging in other activities that directly aid the promotion of prostitution.

There are two levels of advancement and promotion. The less serious level is a class C felony and is described by the crimes listed above. Guilty convictions result in sentences of up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.

The more serious level of advancement and promotion is the class B felony crimes. The crimes that were described above are still included but the guilty party must have forced, compelled or threatened violence in relationship to one of the scenarios or the prostitution involved was committed by a person younger than 18 years old. Penalties are much more serious for class B felonies.

Other conditions

One other crime specifically mentioned within the statutes of Washington that pertain to prostitution is promoting travel for prostitution. Anyone who sells or offers to sell travel services within the state that include acts of prostitution as part of the itinerary may be found guilty of promoting travel for prostitution, which is a class C felony.

The following Nevada counties have their own laws and regulations on prostitution:

Prostitution laws in US cities:

Prostitution laws in Canada