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Washington Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

While nonconsensual sexual acts are always a crime, states prohibit certain types of consensual sexual acts as well. While many states once banned sodomy, particularly same-sex sodomy, those laws have been found unconstitutional and thus unenforceable in Lawrence v. Texas (2003). In Washington, prohibited consensual sexual activity laws are fairly limited and only prohibit indecent exposure.

This article provides a brief overview of Washington's prohibited consensual activity laws. Keep in mind that "consent" is a legal term defined by state criminal law. For example, it is impossible for anyone under the age of 16 to consent to sexual activity in Washington.

Washington Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: At a Glance

Learn more about Washington's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws below, with links to related articles and resources. See FindLaw's Sex Crimes section for related information.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to

This is no anti-sodomy law in Washington.

Penalty for Sodomy

There is no penalty for sodomy in Washington.

HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Washington does not have a statutory requirement to compel defendants to undergo HIV or STI testing.

Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts

  • Indecent exposure: Under Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.88.010, indecent exposure is a gross misdemeanor on the first offense if the person exposes themselves to a person under the age of 14. Indecent exposure is also a Class C felony if the person has been previously convicted of a sex offense. The statute specifically excludes breastfeeding mothers.
  • Prostitution: Under Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.88.030 et seq., the penalties for prostitution vary depending on the individual's involvement in the sex-for-hire operation. For instance, promoting travel for prostitution is a Class C felony while patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor.
  • Indecent liberties: Under Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.88.010, indecent liberties are a Class B felony, except when the indecent liberty is by forcible compulsion, in which case it is a Class A felony.

Other Crimes Relating to Non-consensual Sex Acts

  • Sexual misconduct with a minor: Under Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.44.093, sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree is a Class C felony.
  • Rape: Under Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.44 et seq., rape may be in the first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree. The penalty for rape in the first and second degree is a Class A felony, punishable by up to life in prison or $50,000, or both. A third-degree rape is punishable as a Class C felony, punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, or both. For more information, visit FindLaw's Washington Rape and Sexual Assault Laws.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Washington Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources

Need More Help? Contact an Attorney

Criminal prosecution for a sex crime can have serious consequences for a defendant. If you have been arrested for a sex crime, you may consider contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you still have the right to counsel and the public defender's office in your county will be able to assist you.

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