So, things went wrong and police were called. Unfortunately, that happens and it isn’t fun for anyone. Here is a handy guide for best practices if you find yourself in any of the following situations.
The following is in order of escalation, by that we mean that the further down this list you go the higher the chance is that you will face legal proceedings.
Please note that nothing posted here is intended to be legal advice, if you have been arrested or you think your rights may have been violated then you need to contact an attorney.
Always have the card of a lawyer you trust in your wallet/purse/pocket. In the event that something goes wrong and you end up in custody, you will need to contact your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, here is a list of local defense attorneys.
Most importantly, when coming into contact with the police always decline to comment. If you are pressed for information, always say some version of “Am I under arrest? If not, am I free to go? If I am, I need to speak to my lawyer.” Likely you will have to say that multiple times but if you are not under arrest, they will redirect. This means they would like information from you. Unfortunately, the law is extremely complicated so it is unlikely that you will be able to give an accurate representation of yourself, your actions, your capability and your involvement. At least, in the eyes of the law. It is always the best policy to have a lawyer speak for you, regardless of whether or not you are guilty of anything, under suspect or even committing any crimes. This is simply because unless you have a complex understanding of the legal system, you can’t know how your words may be interpreted. So, to be safe it is best to have a representative speak on your behalf.
To elaborate on the importance of having a lawyer speak for you, it is important to get a grasp on the Washington State law and the legal process. In Washington State, Prostitution Laws are under Chapter 9A.88 RCW, you can read the specific laws here. In short, what we need to define here are the terms “prostitution”, “sexual contact”, “Promoting Prostitution” and “Permitting Prostitution.”
(1) A person is guilty of prostitution if such person engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.
(2) For purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” means “sexual intercourse” or “sexual contact,” both as defined in chapter 9A.44 RCW.
(3) Prostitution is a misdemeanor.
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Sexual intercourse” (a) has its ordinary meaning and occurs upon any penetration, however slight, and
(b) Also means any penetration of the vagina or anus however slight, by an object, when committed on one person by another, whether such persons are of the same or opposite sex, except when such penetration is accomplished for medically recognized treatment or diagnostic purposes, and
(c) Also means any act of sexual contact between persons involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another whether such persons are of the same or opposite sex.
(2) “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.
The following definitions are applicable in RCW 9A.88.070 through 9A.88.090:
(1) “Advances prostitution.” A person “advances prostitution” if, acting other than as a prostitute or as a customer thereof, he or she causes or aids a person to commit or engage in prostitution, procures or solicits customers for prostitution, provides persons or premises for prostitution purposes, operates or assists in the operation of a house of prostitution or a prostitution enterprise, or engages in any other conduct designed to institute, aid, or facilitate an act or enterprise of prostitution.
(2) “Profits from prostitution.” A person “profits from prostitution” if, acting other than as a prostitute receiving compensation for personally rendered prostitution services, 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 is to participate in the proceeds of prostitution activity.
(1) A person is guilty of permitting prostitution if, having possession or control of premises which he or she knows are being used for prostitution purposes, he or she fails without lawful excuse to make reasonable effort to halt or abate such use.
(2) Permitting prostitution is a misdemeanor.
As you can see, this is not cut and dry and definitions can be very open to interpretation under different circumstances. That is part of the beauty and part of the problem with our legal system, the most important thing you can gain from this information is that you want to avoid being in circumstances where people might be accusing you of any/all of the above.
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