MENU




Free Consultation   |  Call Today   |   (253) 203-3379
The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield

Tacoma Sexual Assault Lawyer

Have you been accused of a sex crime? Allegations that you sexually assaulted another person can be horrifying. You know that you are not that type of person. These accusations are also frightening as they can have such a profound impact on your life. A conviction would mean years of incarceration and mandatory registration as a sex offender. Also, whether or not a prosecutor decides to file charges or you are found guilty, the stigma regarding sex offenses can forever damage your reputation. It can also wash away many of the opportunities you once had. The harsh, immediate, and long-term consequences of rape and sexual assault allegations are why you need to contact a highly-skilled Tacoma sexual assault lawyer as soon as possible. If you’ve been arrested or even under investigation for a sexual offense in or around Tacoma, you should have a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and prepare your defense.

To discuss how a rape defense lawyer can help your situation, call The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC at (253) 203-3379. You can also contact us online to schedule a free case consultation.

Washington Sexual Assault Law

The term sexual assault is used to encompass various Washington sex crimes, and the state has multiple statutes prohibiting acts of rape and other sexual offenses, including:

Rape in the First Degree (RCW 9A.44.040)
You can be found guilty of rape in the first degree if you engaged in sexual intercourse with another person through forcible compulsion and you:

  • Used or threatened to use a deadly weapon (or what appeared to be a deadly weapon;
  • Kidnapped the victim;
  • Inflicted serious physical injury, including any physical injury that rendered the victim unconscious; or
  • Feloniously entered a building or vehicle where the victim was.

First-degree rape is a Class A felony. If you have been accused of this crime, contact a rape defense attorney immediately. You are going to need to mount an aggressive defense.

Rape in the Second Degree (RCW 9A.44.050)
Second-degree rape involves engaging in sexual intercourse with another person either:

  • By force;
  • When the victim was incapable of consent due to being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated;
  • When the victim has a developmental disability, and you supervised them or provided transportation; When you provided health care to the victim;
  • When the victim was a resident of a facility where you worked; or
  • When the victim was an elderly or vulnerable adult with whom you had a significant relationship, or you provided transportation.

Rape in the second degree is a Class A felony and is just as serious as a first-degree rape charge. Contact The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC to speak with a rape lawyer as soon as possible. By hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney, you have someone who will thoroughly investigate the allegations against you and build a strong defense.

Rape in the Third Degree (RCW 9A.44.060)
You may be convicted of third-degree rape if, in circumstances that do not amount to rape in the first or second degree, you engage in sexual intercourse with another person who did not consent, and that consent was clear by the victim’s words or actions, or where there is a threat of substantial harm to the victim’s property rights. This is a Class C felony. Your response to allegations of third-degree rape should be to invoke your right to remain silent with the police and call a rape defense lawyer immediately.

What is Sexual Intercourse in Washington?

Rape charges in Washington rely on proof of sexual intercourse. Under RCW 9A.44.010, sexual intercourse includes:

  • Its ordinary meaning and occurs with any penetration, however slight;
  • Penetration of the vagina or anus, however slight, by an object, when committed on one person by another;
  • Any act of sexual contact between people involving the sexual organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another individual.

If you are accused of committing rape in any degree, your first call should be to a rape attorney. This is a serious allegation and one that can damage your reputation without a prosecutor even filing charges or a guilty verdict. You deserve to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will fight hard to prove your innocence and mitigate the harm done to your personal and professional reputation.

Washington’s Law Against Indecent Liberties

You may be accused of performing some type of unlawful sexual behavior on another person that does not amount to rape. In Washington, illegal sexual behavior outside of sexual intercourse, which is required for rape, is called sexual contact. Under RCW 9A.44.010, sexual contact means any touching of the sexual or intimate parts of a person performed for to gratify your own or another person’s sexual desire.

If you are accused of groping or fondling another person or forcing an individual to inappropriate touch you or another person, you can be charged with indecent liberties.

Under RCW 9A.44.100, you can be found guilty of a Class B or Class A felony if you knowingly cause another person to have sexual contact with yourself or another person:

  • By force;
  • When the victim was incapable of consent;
  • When the victim had a developmental disability, and you supervised them or provided transportation;
  • When you were the victim’s health care provider;
  • When the victim was a resident of a mental health or rehabilitation facility, and you supervised them; or
    When the victim was an elderly or vulnerable adult, and you had a significant relationship with them or provided transportation.

In most situations, the crime of indecent liberties is a Class B felony. However, if the prosecutor alleges you created sexual contact by forcible compulsion, then you will face a Class A felony, which is an even higher and more serious charge. In either case, you should contact a Tacoma sexual assault lawyer from The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC right away.

Penalties for Felony Sex Offenses

If you are convicted of rape or indecent liberties in Washington, then you face:

  • Class C Felony: A maximum of 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
  • Class B Felony: Up to 10 years’ incarceration and up to $20,000 in fines.
  • Class A Felony: Up to Life in prison and fines reaching $50,000.

The potential penalty you face for a sexual offense is based on Washington’s sentencing guidelines. These guidelines require the court to determine the offense’s seriousness level and your offender score. The seriousness level of a crime can be between I and XVI (16). Rape in the first degree is level XII (12), rape in the second degree is level XI (11), and rape in the third degree is level V (5). Your offender score is determined by calculating a number of points based on your juvenile criminal history, adult criminal history, other current offenses, and your offender status at the time this crime was committed. For every seriousness level, there are different minimal and average penalties based on ten different offender scores.

In addition to incarceration and fines, you may be subject to probation, electronic home monitoring, and mandatory counseling and treatment. You could be eligible for Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA). If you are not classified as a violent offender and were not convicted of first-degree rape, then you may be able to have a portion of your sentence suspended or finish it as probation. During this time, you may be required to adhere to strict conditions, such as going to a therapist, refraining from using the internet, and having limited contact with children.

For an objective evaluation of the sanctions you may face if convicted of rape or indecent liberties, contact a Tacoma sexual assault attorney at The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC today.

Sex Offender Registration in Washington

Another sex crime punishment you must consider is sex offender registration. If you are convicted of rape or indecent liberties, you will be required to register as a sex offender once you are released from prison. This means that your name, photo, personal information, and crime will be available to the public online.

For a Class A felony sex crime conviction, you must register indefinitely. Rape in the first or second degree requires lifetime registration. Other Class A felonies necessitate an indefinite period. The difference between the two is that an indefinite registration lasts until a judge enables you to be removed from the list. After a period of time, you can ask a judge to remove the registration requirement. This is not an option if you are required to register for life. Class B sex offenses require a 15-year registration period. Class C offenses require a 10-year registration period. For both Class B and C felonies, you must ask to be removed from the list once your registration period is over.

Don’t Try to Fight Sexual Assault Allegations Yourself – Contact Our Tacoma Sexual Assault Attorneys Today

It would be unwise to try and defend yourself against allegations of rape or indecent liberties. The best way to protect yourself is to hire a skilled and assertive sexual assault lawyer. At The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC, we are prepared to take on your case. You have rights and options to consider, and we will thoroughly investigate the allegations against you, scrutinize the alleged victim’s motives, carefully analyze the police investigation, and build the strongest defense possible. Our goal will be to obtain a positive conclusion in your case.

To speak with a rape defense lawyer in Tacoma or the surrounding areas, call (253) 203-3379 or contact us online. We offer free and confidential initial case consultations.