Aggravated Sexual Assault
The Law Offices of Timothy L. Healy is a renowned criminal defense law firm in Tacoma, Washington. I have successfully handled all types of cases involving aggravated sexual assault charges and other criminal matters. I am dedicated to protecting the rights of criminal defendants throughout Washington.
Abusive Sexual Contact Involving Aggravated Assault
Aggravated sexual abuse occurs when an individual is forced to submit to sexual acts by use of physical force; threats of death, injury, or kidnapping; or substances that render the individual unconscious or impaired. Sexual assault generally requires some form of abusive sexual contact or touching of the victim, even if the perpetrator does not physically touch the body. The attack may be made with any instrument, including weapons, body parts, food products, or bodily secretions. The sexual contact is “abusive” because the victim is unable to consent or refuse. The intentional touching of a victim’s private parts may be direct or through clothing, but requires the intent to sexually exploit the victim. An aggravated sexual assault also involves abusive sexual contact, but is more serious because it “results in physical injury requiring medical care.”
Aggravated Sexual Assault in Domestic Violence Cases
Washington state law generally defines assaults in varying degrees, allowing the prosecutor to file a special allegation of “sexual motivation” in all criminal cases. But because aggravated sexual assaults involve serious bodily harm, they often overlap with other crimes in domestic violence cases. Where the sexual abuse inflicts injury on a spouse, child, or significant other, aggravated sexual assaults include a wide range of conduct, including:
- Child molestation
- Rape of spouse or child
- Incest, indecent liberties
- Custodial sexual misconduct
- Child molestation, sexual abuse
- Sexual misconduct with a minor
- Assault with intent to commit rape
One of the elements of second-degree assault includes the intentional infliction of substantial bodily harm to an unborn child by physically injuring the mother. The law also notes that assault by strangulation is a significant factor in domestic violence cases, where an intimate partner intends to cause injury, loss of consciousness, or death. The assault of a child in the second degree requires that the perpetrator be at least 18 and the child under 13. It describes bodily harm as “greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks,” and requires a “pattern or practice” of assaulting the child or causing physical pain “equivalent to torture.”
Consequences of Aggravated Sexual Assault Charges
Most of these charges are not brought by strangers, but by people who are married, cohabiting, or in an intimate relationship. Former partners or spouses often use domestic violence charges as a way to exact revenge after a breakup, or to gain leverage in divorce and child custody battles. Human relationships are indeed difficult, and can result in one person injuring another. But police and child welfare workers rarely want to hear both sides of the story: they are eager to press charges and separate the family. Even if the roles are reversed and the innocent party acts in self-defense, the charge alone is sufficient to obtain a protection order that forbids perpetrators from approaching their own homes and seeing their children. Later, when the recanting accuser insists on dropping charges, the prosecution may still proceed with the case and obtain a conviction.
Fight Aggravated Sexual Assault Charges Right Away
If you have been accused of aggravated sexual assault, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. In cases of domestic violence, try to obtain legal representation before charges are filed. I have prevailed in numerous aggravated sexual assault cases, obtaining favorable verdicts and getting criminal charges dismissed for clients across Washington. I understand that intimate relationships are a delicate matter — I will defend your rights with dignity and respect. Hiring a seasoned defense attorney can dramatically increase your chances of obtaining the most favorable outcome in your case. A little legal guidance can be the difference between life in prison and saving your family. Let me help you preserve your reputation and future quality of life. Call (253) 201-0406 today for a free consultation, or contact me online.