Statutory rape is when an adult engages in sexual activity with a minor, or someone under the age of consent. It doesn’t matter if the minor consented to the sexual activity or lied and told the adult that they were of age. In Washington State, it is illegal for a person to communicate with a minor for immoral purposes.

How Does the State Define Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes?

Washington State law makes it illegal for anyone to communicate with a minor, including electronic communication, for immoral purposes. Immoral purposes includes anything conduct ranging from obscene or sexual words or images. It also makes it illegal for anyone to communicate with an individual they believe is a minor for immoral purposes. 

What Does “Electronic Communication” Mean?

The State regards electronic communication as the transmission of information by:

  • Optical cable
  • Radio
  • Wire
  • Electromagnetic
  • Any similar means 

Which also includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Electronic text messaging
  • Internet-based communications
  • E-mail
  • Pager service 

What if the Communication isn’t considered “Electronic Communication”, Will I Still be arrested for the Crime?

Yes, a person can be arrested for the crime even if the communication was done:

  • Face-to-face
  • By telephone
  • Writing notes 

The defendant can still be arrested if they communicated with the minor either through electronic communications or any other means. It will only matter for the defendant to be convicted of this particular crime. 

What is the Punishment for Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes?

Based on the circumstances of the case, it can be charged as either a gross misdemeanor or a class C felony. The punishment for a gross misdemeanor is less than 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.  While a class C felony conviction is up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. 

Should I Contact an Lawyer for Help?

Yes. Contact a criminal lawyer to fight your criminal charge.