1.23.2015

Gross Me Out: SB 5277 Penalizes Johns with More Fines & Jail Time

No man's life, liberty, or property are safe
while the legislature is in session.
Mark Twain

Today I learned that Johns who are charged with patronizing prostitutes in Washington State could be charged with a gross misdemeanor instead of a misdemeanor, under the recently submitted Senate Bill 5277: Making the crime of patronizing a prostitute a gross misdemeanor.

SB 5277 would make patronizing a prostitute a gross misdemeanor, not prostitution a gross misdemeanor. Prostitution is currently a misdemeanor under RCW 9A.88.030.

So, what's the difference in Washington State between a gross misdemeanor and a misdemeanor? According to Burg Criminal Defense in Seattle, the maximum penalty that the judge can impose is the only significant difference between the charges; those penalties are outlined in RCW 9.92 Punishment.

Currently in Washington State under RCW 9.92.030, a misdemeanor can be given a maximum penalty of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail, whereas under RCW 9.92.020 a gross misdemeanor can be given a maximum penalty of up to $5,000 and 364 days in jail.

That means the recently submitted SB 5277 would create, at the maximum, a $4,000 difference in fines and 274 more days in jail, just by going from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor.

Holy revenue streams, Batman.

For the sake of amusing myself, I looked to see what some non-legal definitions are for the word 'gross':

$5,000 and close to a year in jail just for patronizing a prostitute? Totally gross, indeed.

* * * * *
What do you think is reasonable punishment
for patronizing prostitutes?
 Leave a comment.

SB 5277 Sponsors:


Senators Kohl-Welles, Darneille, Padden, Pedersen, Fain, Frockt, Keiser, Chase, Fraser


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