Continuances on Cases Involving Minor Victims

Continued trial or hearing dates are an unfortunate reality in criminal cases.  These continuances are often necessary for one reason or another.  However, in certain cases where a minor is the victim of the charged crime, the State of Washington legislature recognizes the serious detrimental effect that continuance can have on the minor victim.  As such, RCW 10.46.085 was created to prohibit or limit continuances in certain cases involving minor victims.  These cases include:

  • Child Molestation 1
  • Child Molestation 2
  • Child Molestation 3
  • Criminal Trespass Against Children
  • Custodial Sexual Misconduct 1
  • Custodial Sexual Misconduct 2
  • Incest 1
  • Incest 2
  • Indecent Liberties
  • Promoting Pornography
  • Rape 1
  • Rape 2
  • Rape 3
  • Rape of a Child 1
  • Rape of a Child 2
  • Rape of a Child 3
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Minor 1
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Minor 2
  • Voyeurism

If your child is a victim of one of the above-mentioned crimes, and the defendant has been charged by the Grant County Prosecutors Office, we encourage you to complete the form, RCW 10.48.065 Minor Victim Continuance Response. This form provides information to the court about how a continuance would affect the minor victim in a certain case.  Without the information in this form, the court will not be able to make an informed decision as to a continuance in this case.  You can complete this form now AND, in the future, should circumstances change - i.e. should the minor victim improve or show increased symptoms of stress. 

If you have any questions regarding a case in which your child is the victim, please do not hesitate to contact us

From the Revised Code of Washington 10.48.085:

When a defendant is charged with a crime which constitutes a violation of RCW 9A.64.020 or chapter 9.68, 9.68A, or RCW 9A.44, and the alleged victim of the crime is a person under the age of eighteen years, neither the defendant nor the prosecuting attorney may agree to extend the originally scheduled trial date unless the court within its discretion finds that there are substantial and compelling reasons for a continuance of the trial date and that the benefit of the postponement outweighs the detriment to the victim. The court may consider the testimony of lay witnesses and of expert witnesses, if available, regarding the impact of the continuance on the victim.

[1989 c 332 § 7.]


Finding -- 1989 c 332: "The legislature finds that treatment of the emotional problems of child sexual abuse victims may be impaired by lengthy delay in trial of the accused and the resulting delay in testimony of the child victim. The trauma of the abusive incident is likely to be exacerbated by requiring testimony from a victim who has substantially completed therapy and is forced to relive the incident. The legislature finds that it is necessary to prevent, to the extent reasonably possible, lengthy and unnecessary delays in trial of a person charged with abuse of a minor." [1989 c 332 § 6.]