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What does a counter offer mean?

Ellensburg, WA |

i know a person who was charged with child molestation in the 1st degree now they are wanting him to take a plea and drop it to 2nd degree molestation, based off a picture that doesnt really show anything bad, had court it was continued due to a counter offer so what does that entail? what counts as 2nd degree molestation? and what kind of registration is needed, and based off 1st degree thru 4th degree do each one of them have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life? if a plea is in the works, can the defedant request to accept the plea but use not having to register as part of the plea agreement?

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Attorney answers 2


In regard to a continuance based upon a counter-offer, that just means the parties are still negotiating and considering an offer made by one side (the offer to amend the charge to Child Molestation in the 2nd Degree) The person should be consulting with experienced defense counsel on this in regard to the details of any plea agreement and registration requirements based upon the charge.

In regard to the charges; Child Molestation in the First Degree is an "A" felony in Washington which requires "indefinite" registration. Child Molestation in the Second Degree is a "B" felony and I believe requires 15 years of registration but that starts after the last date of confinement. I would suggest your friend keep in contact with their attorney to discuss all of the ramifications of any plea agreement reached and all registration requirements.

The information provided is not intended as legal advice and does not establish an attorney client relationship. If you are in Washington State and wish a further consultation please contact me at (509)737-0080.


In this situation, a counter offer means that one of the parties, either the State or the Defendant, has approached the opposing party with an offer different that the CM1 being reduced to a CM 2. The court authorized the continuance to give both parties time to consider what has just been proposed. Your answers to the rest of your questions depends entirely upon what the charge is and what degree. This is the basic rule: For some the duty to register is lifelong, for others the duty to register ends or the person may petition the court for relief from the duty after a fixed period of time for certain offenses if the individual has been in the community and not been convicted of new disqualifying offenses.

Child Molestation First Degree is a Class A sex offense in Washington and carries with it an indefinite registration requirement. The individual must first serve any confinement time and then may petition the court to be relieved of the duty after spending the required time in the community with no new disqualifying offense. For CM 1, a Class A felony, they may petition the court for relief from duty after 10 years in the community.

For individuals convicted in Washington of Class B and C felony sex offenses and gross misdemeanor sex offenses, the duty to register ends automatically after the required period of time in the community without committing a disqualifying offense.

Child Molestation 2 is a Class B felony in Washington. The duty to register ends 15 years after release from confinement if the defendant has (1) no new convictions for a disqualifying offense while in the community; (2) no prior sex or kidnapping offenses; (3) The charge does not involve an aggravated offense, sexually violent offense or criminal offense against a victim who is a minor (see below). However, after 10 years the individual can petition the court of conviction for relief from the duty to register.

Other class C felony sex offenses, CM3 and others such as communicating with a minor for immoral purpose (misdemeanor) sexual misconduct with a minor second degree (misdemeanor) require the duty ends 10 years after release from confinement if no new convictions for a disqualifying offense while in the community and; (1) No prior sex or kidnap offenses have been committed; (2) Not an aggravated offense, sexually violent offense or criminal offense against a victim who is a minor.

The registration requirement is mandatory on almost all sex offenses and statutes have set the mandatory time frames related to the offense for each crime. The judge cannot alter this requirement and must impose the requisite registration requirement. The law has gotten better for some sex offenders and many of the registration requirements do end automatically dependent on what the charge statutory allows. Thus the only way a defendant can dictate what his registration requirement is going to be is to only enter a plea on a charge that has the desired registration requirement attached.

What is happening here I believe, is one of the parties has made an offer that probably impacts not only the jail sentence range but probably the registration requirement as well and they are deciding if the offer is worth accepting. If you are the defendant, talk to your attorney, if you know the defendant talk to their attorney, if you are a party opposing the defendant contact the victims advocate to voice your concerns.

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