Is Patronizing a Prostitute a Crime?


SQ Attorneys

SQ Attorneys

Earlier this month, right before Christmas, the Bellevue Police Department did a one night undercover vice operation aimed at targeting a recent increase in demand for prostitution. Nabbed were 16 unsuspecting men. Investigators posed as prostitutes on an online dating app.  Once contacted, they arranged to meet the men at a Bellevue motel.

The ‘Johns’ allegedly agreed to pay $80–$280 to have sex with the undercover investigators. This ‘agreement’ is what lead to their arrest. Apparently it was hoped that the sting would send a clear and concise message. The message? Don’t engage in prostitution in Bellevue. Bellevue continues to remain vigilant in addressing the demand for commercial sex by doing these types of operations once or twice a year.

Patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor. Although not the proverbial ‘crime of the century,’ it is still considered a misdemeanor and it carries with it the possibility of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and two years of conditioned probation, not to mention the embarrassment and stigma of ‘paying for sex‘. Defendants convicted of patronizing a prostitute are required, at a minimum, to attend a 10-week ‘Stopping Sexual Exploitation’ program as part of any sentence handed down by the court.

If you are apprehended for a crime – whether related to prostitution or not – you should assert your right to both: (1) remain silent, and (2) counsel. Talking with the police isn’t going to resolve anything. However, talking with a criminal attorney will. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Criminal Lawyer – like the attorneys at SQ Attorneys – (206) 441-0900.

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