Tacoma Sex Crimes Attorney
There are virtually no other crimes that carry the same stigma and costs. Those convicted face serious penalties like prison terms and classification as a registered sex offender.
Even the mere allegation can negatively affect your life in any number of ways, from losing your job to family and friends turning their backs on you. This makes it essential that you take sex crime charges seriously from the very beginning.
If you are charged with any type of sexual offense or are contacted by police about accusations made against you, it is critical that you protect your own rights before trying to clear the matter up yourself by speaking with law enforcement. Police and prosecutors pursue these cases vigorously and want to close them quickly. This leads to police errors and unfortunately, it is not uncommon for charges to be based on false claims rather than real evidence. Your best course of action will always be to consult a skilled and aggressive Tacoma sex crimes lawyer.
Washington Sex Crime Laws & Penalties
Sex crimes in Washington are addressed under RCW Title 9a Chapter 44 and cover a wide variety of offenses. They range in severity, possible consequences, and encompass some complex legal issues like consent and mental capacity. Some of the most common sex crimes in Washington include:
Often used when referring to various sex crimes such as rape or forced sexual intercourse without the other person’s consent.
Intentionally exposing your private parts in a public space or place where other people are present and making any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that the conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm.
This relates to engaging or agreeing or offering to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.
The penalties for sex crime convictions are particularly harsh in Washington and depending on your criminal history, the offense in question, and the surrounding circumstances you will face:
- A potential jail or prison sentence
- Requirement to register as a sex offender
- Felony convictions on your record
- Electronic Home Monitoring
- Mandatory Counseling/Treatment
- Loss of employment
- Loss of reputation
- Limited contact with minors, even your own relatives and children
Sex Crimes Felonies & Misdemeanors
Sex offenses are often pursued as felonies and depending on the details will be categorized between Class A, B, and C level offenses. For example, if you are charged with rape in the first degree because you allegedly used a weapon, kidnapped the victim, caused a serious injury, or unlawfully entered a home this can be a Class A felony, which is the most severe and punishable by up to life in prison. Class B felony sex crimes are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and Class C felony sex offender can be subjected to up to 5 years in prison and a possible fine of 10,000.
There are also instances where a sexual offense can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. These are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000. Examples of misdemeanor sex crimes include some indecent exposure offenses or second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor.
If you or someone you love has been accused of a sex crime, contact the Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield today to discuss the options that might be available to you.
Two-Strikes & Indeterminate Sentences
You may have heard about other states using a three-strikes and you are out approach for repeat criminal offenders; however, Washington has taken it to another level when it comes to sex crimes. State law has implemented a rigid two-strike system, where if you are convicted on two separate occasions of certain sex felonies, you can be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Additionally, for some sex crimes, you may also be confronted with the possibility of an “indeterminate sentence” or “civil commitment” if it can be proven that you are likely to reoffend. Essentially, you can be held for the remainder of your natural life even though you served your original sentence.
Sex Offender Registration
If you are convicted of a sex crime, you will almost assuredly be required to register on the Washington Sex Offender Registry. This means that for several years or even for the rest of your life, you will regularly have to provide your local sheriff with your name, picture and address. Aside from being a separate criminal offense if you fail to register as a sex offender as required, this information will be viewable online for any future employers, government agencies, and the public to see. This is meant to alert the community of any sex offenders living close by and provide law enforcement a means to monitor offenders. In the state’s pursuit of preventing repeat offenses, some individuals are driven out of communities, denied job opportunities, or unfairly labeled.
Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA)
At The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC, we realize that while these offenses are very serious and often include sensitive issues, it is important to remember that treatment and counseling are sometimes better options for rehabilitation. As such, Washington allows for alternatives to long prison terms for certain sex crimes and enacted Washington’s Sex Offender Special Sentencing Alternative (SOSSA). This option exists for many sex crimes that are not classified as particularly violent.
Specifically, SOSSA allows you to spend up to a year in jail, but serve the remainder of your sentence on probation or have it suspended. This will involve restrictions like limited contact with children, prohibiting the use of drugs and alcohol, restrictions on using the internet, and sex offender registration. Additionally, you’ll be required to participate in up to three years of sex offender treatment classes, where a court-ordered therapist will evaluate your progress and send regular reports to the court.
It is important to remember that SOSSA is a closely monitored and rigid program. Violations are punished harshly and it is not appropriate in every case. Even if it is, there is no grantee you will be eligible based on the details or your prior history. By discussing your situation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, you can properly evaluate your case and your chances of successfully completing the program.
Protecting Your Future with an Aggressive Tacoma Sex Crimes Attorney
A sex crime is unlike any allegation you will ever face. A conviction does not end with a prison sentence because even after you serve your time, you will be labeled for the rest of your life. You will have your face, name, address, and the details of your crime plastered on the internet forever. You won’t be able to live where you want, and getting a job will be incredibly difficult.
That’s why you need a sex crimes lawyer at your side you from the very beginning. Too often, people are falsely or mistakenly charged with sex offenses and considerable damage is done because there was no one looking out for their interests. A skilled Washington sex crimes lawyer can be all the difference.
Don’t face a sex crime allegation on your own
Tacoma Sex crimes attorney Morgan Fletcher Benfield will work hard to obtain the best possible outcome, whether that includes a total dismissal, a reduction, or if necessary, taking your case to trial and fighting to clear your name. He can explain your situation, scrutinize the police’s investigation for any oversights or violations, and will thoroughly examine your accuser to uncover their motives for making any false claims against you.