Seattle Sexual Exploitation & Patronizing a Prostitue Defense Attorney

Meet the Wills

Seattle Sexual Exploitation & Patronizing a Prostitute Defense Attorney

Western Washington has been cracking down on prostitution related cases recently (as of 2016), and the focus of law enforcement has been to arrest the customers, not the prostitutes. It used to be that these cases were simply referred for diversion so you didn’t have to do much of anything to avoid a conviction. Not anymore. Prosecutors now want you to have a criminal record for this charge. While this is just a simple misdemeanor (as opposed to a more serious gross misdemeanor), a conviction can have very real and dire consequences. We handle a large number of these cases and know the best approach to fighting them and help you avoid a conviction.

Meet the Wills

30+ Years Experience
Excellent Client Reviews
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1000's of Cases Successfully Resolved


Common Sexual Exploitation & Prostitution Questions

What is “sexual exploitation” anyway?
Good question. It’s a made up title for the crime of patronizing a prostitute. The entire state of Washington calls this offense what it actually is, with the exception of the city of Seattle who managed to change the name to sexual exploitation.  The problem is that the “elements” of the offense are still exactly the same as patronizing a prostitute (elements are what have to be proven against you beyond a reasonable doubt in order to find you guilty).  In other words, the city of Seattle doesn’t have to prove that anyone was actually “sexually exploited.”  Sound unfair? It is. We’re fighting the city on this every step of the way.
Is sexual exploitation any different than patronizing a prostitute?

While there is a minor difference, the two offenses are more or less the same.  There are different prongs of these offenses that the prosecution can pursue, but the ultimate question a jury must answer in both is a version of the following: 

Did the prosecution prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. Jones agreed to pay a fee to [undercover officer X] pursuant to an understanding that in exchange she would engage in sexual conduct with him?

There are many compelling arguments that we make in favor of reasonable doubt to lead the jury to answer this question with a NO.

What has to be proven against me to find me guilty of sexual exploitation or patronizing a prostitute?
In order to find you guilty, the prosecution must prove the following against you beyond a reasonable doubt:
  • That you solicited or requested someone to engage in sexual conduct with the you in return for a fee; [or]
  • Pursuant to a prior understanding, you paid a fee to someone as compensation for her having engaged in sexual conduct with you [or]
  • Paid or agreed to pay a fee to someone pursuant to an understanding that in return for the fee, she would engage in sexual conduct with you
Aren't these stings entrapment?

Contrary to popular belief, entrapment is a very high legal standard and can be difficult to prove.  When pursuing this defense, the burden of proof shifts to you (instead of on the prosecution, where it typically is) and you must convince a jury that you had no intent whatsoever to commit any crime but the police essentially talked you into it.  For example, in a massage sting, you would have to prove that you only wanted a regular massage but the police convinced you to also pay for a hand job.  Thus, it really depends on the facts of your particular case whether it will be advisable to pursue this defense or not.

What defenses are available for Sexual Exploitation and Patronizing a Prostitute?

 The facts of your particular case will dictate what your defense will be.  That said, the main three defenses are:

  • Legal challenges to any possible violation of your constitutional rights
  • Reasonable Doubt - You are presumed innocent and the burden rests solely on the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  We are experts at picking apart the prosecutions evidence to find reasonable doubt wherever it may be and point it out to the jury. 
  • Entrapment
What happens if I’m convicted? Will I go to jail

Sexual Exploitation/Patronizing a Prostitute is a simple misdemeanor, meaning that the maximum possible sentence you could be facing is 90 days in jail.  That said, assuming you do not have prostitution prior convictions, it's very unlikely you will have to go to jail as a result of a conviction.  Aside from having a conviction on your record, you will likely also be required to do some or all of the following

  • Go to a Sex Buyer's awareness class, also referred to as "John's School"
  • Complete community service
  •  Pay a fine
  • Stay out of areas of prostitution
What are some of the potential results I can expect?

We strive for one of the following outcomes:

  • Outright Pre-Trial Dismissal: Typically only available if there is a major evidentiary problem and/or violation of your rights
  • Stipulated Order of Continuance: Known as an "SOC" this is pre-trial diversion, which results in a dismissal of the charge without ever having a conviction on your record
  • Not Guilty Verdict at Trial
  • Deferred Sentence: This is where you enter a plea of guilty, then after you satisfy certain requirements, your plea can be changed back to a plea of Not Guilty and the case is then dismissed.
What can you promise me?

You’re not going to find a more qualified team to represent you, and we are going to get you the best possible result given the facts and circumstances of your particular case.

We work really hard and are very accessible to our clients. Try calling or texting us right now; if we don’t pick up right away, we will get back to you very fast.

If I retain your services, are you going to get my charges reduced or dismissed?
The only answer I can give you at this point is “it depends…” I know, not totally satisfying, but it is honest. If another attorney promises you more than that, then they are just trying to take your money. Get out of their office (or hang up the phone) as fast as you can.
How much are your services going to cost me?

We charge fair, competitive flat fees for our services. Here’s the problem you face with a lot of other attorneys: The ultra-expensive guys aren’t going to get you a better result than we are, and the dirt cheap guys aren’t going to much of anything for you at all. That’s where we come in. While we certainly don’t have the lowest fees in the Puget Sound, we won’t make you take out a second mortgage either.

Do you exclusively handle Sex cases?
No, we don’t play marketing games like some other attorneys out there. We’re well-rounded and handle ALL criminal matters. However, due to our success and subsequent media attention regrading sex crimes we have handled, our caseload always consists of a number or felony and misdemeanor sex crimes matters. Our secret to success with sex cases is simple: we focus on what matters the most – getting you the best possible outcome.
I have a court date coming up ASAP, what do I do?!?

Hire an attorney! Is this answer self-serving? Yes. Despite this, is it still the best possible thing you can do? YES.


 Brief Overview of a Few Common Sex Crimes

False allegations of rape are commonplace, and all it takes is one person pointing their finger at you and you can get charged. No corroboration of any kind is needed. No DNA, no other witnesses, nothing. Rape defenses generally fall into two main categories: (1) No sex occurred at all; or (2) the sex was consensual. These are two very distinct defenses, each requiring a skilled approach by an experienced legal team.
Child Molestation
These are complex and delicate cases that definitely require an experienced attorney by your side. The very first thing a jury thinks in a case of this nature is, “why would a child ever lie about being molested?” Because of this, even though the burden is on the state to prove your guilt, in these cases, the reality is we often have to work to prove your innocence.
Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes
CMIP for short is one of those odd statutes in Washington where a first offense can be a gross misdemeanor, unless the alleged communication was done by electronic means, in which case it is a class C felony. Either way, if you’re convicted, you would be required to register as a sex offender. Knowledge about the the age of the person you were in communication with is often a key element in these cases and we have a lot of experience successfully challenging that element.
Indecent Liberties

The crime of Indecent liberties revolves around the capacity to consent to sexual contact. In other words, was the alleged victim incapable of consent because of being mentally defective or incapacitated or physically helpless? This comes up in a number of different circumstances. A few of which are:

  • Someone has had too much alcohol to drink or taken too many drugs to be able to consent
  • A doctor/patient examination
  • An allegation of inappropriate contact by a massage therapist
  • When someone is a resident at a drug rehab or a mental health facility and alleges inappropriate contact with someone who had supervisory authority over them.

Prosecutors often take a hard stance on indecent liberty cases and as a result these cases have a higher likelihood of ending up in trial compared to many other cases. We always exhaust all pre-trial remedies first, but if that if trial is our only option then we will be ready to fight hard for a “got guilty” verdict.


Voyeurism arrests are on the rise in Washington. This is in part due to virtually every phone now being equipped with a camera and/or video recording capabilities. We typically see allegations of this come up where the victim was in a place where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy (a bathroom, a clothing store changing room, a locker room, a house, apartment or hotel, etc.) and they are filmed or photographed without their knowledge and consent.

The state also must prove that the filming or photographing was done for the purpose of arousing or gratify sexual desires.

We have successfully handled a number of these cases and are standing by ready to discuss the best possible defense of your voyeurism case as well.

Child Pornography

This is referred to as possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. These days, we most commonly see this charge associated with electronic files/folders stored on a client’s computer or other device. There are varying approached to defending this allegation. For instance, many times our client does not personally know the person in the picture/video. Thus if you are not in possession of any facts that would prove you knew the age of the person, then you have a very viable defense to this charge if the person depicted in the images arguably appears as though he/she could be 18 years old. If this is not a viable argument, there are other lines of defense that can be pursued as well as mitigating evidence that can be presented.

Patronizing a Prostitute/Sexual Exploitation
Western Washington has been cracking down on prostitution related cases recently (as of 2016), and the focus of law enforcement has been to arrest the customers, not the prostitutes. It used to be that these cases were simply referred for diversion so you didn’t have to do much of anything to avoid a conviction. Not anymore. Prosecutors now want you to have a criminal record for this charge. While this is just a simple misdemeanor (as opposed to a more serious gross misdemeanor), a conviction can have very real and dire consequences. We handle a large number of these cases and know the best approach to fight them and avoiding a conviction.
Promoting Prostitution 2
As opposed to promoting prostitution in the first degree, promoting in the second degree is not technically a sex crime. Further, it was traditionally only pursued for what people commonly refer to as “pimps.” While the law is certainly is still applied to alleged pimps, it has recently (as of 2016) been expanded to other activities. For instance, a huge bust occurred in January 2016, charging several men with felonies simply because they visited prostitutes and then went online and wrote reviews about their experiences. This is not the promotion of prostitution as far as we are concerned and if you are charged with this, let us know and we will fight the Prosecution on this every step of the way.
Police Stings
Stings on sex cases are very common and take several different forms. For instance, the police may post an ad on Craigslist or Backpage offering prostitution services, or they may be in a chatroom or on an app posing as a minor. Cops can also try to set you up after an alleged crime has occurred. An example of this would be an alleged date rape case where the accuser calls you up out of the blue and tries to get you to admit to the rape while the police are listening in and recording the call (this is referred to a pretextual call). We made our name in defending clients in sting cases with our success in handling the Dateline NBC To Catch A Predator cases, and we are still vigorously fighting these cases to this day.