Statutory Rape Defense
I have established a reputation for excellence in criminal defense law services. For over 15 years, I have obtained acquittals and gotten criminal charges dismissed for our clients in cases alleging statutory rape. I am dedicated to fighting for the rights of criminal defendants in Tacoma, Seattle, and other areas of Washington.
What is Statutory Rape?
Statutory rape refers to sexual intercourse that is, by law, considered rape because of the person’s age. Even if the act is not “forcible” or “against the victim’s will,” it is still “rape” according to the legal definition in Washington state statutes. The purpose behind statutory rape laws is to protect children and minors who are deemed incapable of consent. Consent, therefore, is not a defense to statutory rape. Even if the victim engages in consensual sexual relations with a significant other, the defendant can still be guilty of statutory rape. Washington has replaced the crime of “statutory rape” with “rape of a child” in the first, second, or third degree.
Washington Age of Consent Laws
In Washington, the minimum age of consent is 16. The three different degrees of statutory rape are defined by the age difference between the victim and defendant. They all require sexual intercourse between a child and perpetrator who are not married. The degrees are classified as “class A” or “class C” felonies and carry different prison terms. A summary of Washington’s statutory rape laws and penalties follows:
- Rape of a child in the first degree
- Child is less than 12 years old
- Perpetrator at least 24 months older than victim
- Class A felony, 5 years to life in prison
- Rape of a child in the second degree
- Child is at least 12, but less than 14 years old
- Perpetrator at least 36 months older than victim
- Class A felony, five years to life in prison
- Rape of a child in the third degree
- Child is at least 14, but less than 16 years old
- Perpetrator at least 48 months older than victim
- Class C felony, up to five years in prison
False Accusations of Statutory Rape
A study by the U.S. Air Force revealed that approximately 25% of statutory rape accusers recanted their testimony just before taking a lie detector test or after failing one. Further research by the Center for Military Readiness found that 41% of accusations were false. Statutory rape convictions reveal society’s misguided notion of protecting children and perpetuate fear. Most falsely accused rapists, for example, are African-American men. If children lack the capacity to consent, they are also vulnerable to suggestion by aggressive police officers and social workers. Minors are often coerced into pressing charges by disapproving parents or disgruntled third-parties. As a result, an innocent party serves time in prison. In many cases, a consensual relationship giving rise to the charge leads to the couple’s marriage, but the conviction remains on the spouse’s permanent record. Years later, the married spouse still has to register as a convicted sex offender under Washington law.
Know Your Rights and Consult a Lawyer
If you are accused of statutory rape, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Do not talk to the police or make admissions without obtaining legal representation first. For over 15 years, I have defended innocent parties accused of statutory rape. I have obtained favorable verdicts and dropped charges in numerous cases involving sexual misconduct with minors. I know how to spot the legal weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and challenge tenuous evidence that should be excluded from trial. A former U.S. Marine, I remain focused on defending your rights, protecting your freedom, and preserving your reputation. Call (253) 201-0406 for a free consultation or contact me online.