Seattle Sex Crimes Attorneys

Meet the Wills

Seattle Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys

Sex crimes arrests are up in recent years, and for a lot of these offenses, it only takes one person to make an accusation. That's all the police need to investigate and arrest you, and it's all the prosecutors need to formally charge you with a sex crime. After you've been accused, you'll have more questions than answers.  Below are answers to your most urgent questions.

Meet the Wills

30+ Years Experience
Excellent Client Reviews
Superb 10.0 Avvo Ratings
1000's of Cases Successfully Resolved


 

Common Sex Crimes Questions

I’ve been accused of a sex crime where It’s just the accuser’s word against mine, how can I be prosecuted?
Under the law, no physical evidence is needed for many sex crimes, and no corroboration is needed for the accuser’s story. If the police/prosecutor believe your accuser, charges will get filed.
What offenses are considered to be “sex crimes?”

A little further down on this page you can read a few brief descriptions about some of the more common sex crimes in Washington. You can also see what sex crimes require registration on this page as well. For now, here is list of some of the more common sex crimes we see in Washington:

  • Rape 1, 2, & 3
  • Rape of a Child 1, 2, 3
  • Child Molestation 1, 2, 3
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Minor 1, 2
  • Indecent Liberties
  • Voyeurism
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Communication with a minor for immoral purposes
  • Possession of depictions of Minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct 1, 2
What has to be be proven against me to be convicted?
This of course depends on what charge you are facing. The best way to determine exactly what has to be proven is to look at the Washington Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions. These instructions list out an element by element breakdown of exactly what has to be proven against you for particular offenses. Rather than try to decipher this for yourself, simply give us a call and we will explain everything.
What defenses are available for Sex Crimes?
Two basic defenses are (1) a general denial of all allegations, or (2) you lacked the necessary intent or knowledge required to be considered guilty of what you have been accused of. For intent/knowledge, there are ‘affirmative’ defenses for certain sex crimes. Ordinarily, the defendant has no burden of proof whatsoever, meaning that you are presumed innocent and it is up to the State of Washington to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (the highest standard of evidence that exists in the law). However, an ‘affirmative’ defense is an exception to this general rule. When applicable, if a defendant is making particular claims, he or she has the burden of proving these assertions to a jury by a ‘preponderance of the evidence.’ This is a much lower standard than ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ An example of this can be found in a case of a charge Indecent Liberties where this issue is whether the accuser had the capacity to consent: RCW 9A.44.030(1) In any prosecution under this chapter in which lack of consent is based solely upon the victim's mental incapacity or upon the victim's being physically helpless, it is a defense which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the offense the defendant reasonably believed that the victim was not mentally incapacitated and/or physically helpless.
What happens if I’m convicted?

The consequences of a conviction vary greatly depending on the charge and other circumstances. We list some potential consequences here, but in order to get the more specific answers about your particular case, simply pick up the phone and give us a call.

  • Jail/Prison Sentence
  • Registration as a sex offender
  • Felony Conviction, leading to loss of rights such a voting and possession of firearms
  • Formal probation/Community Custody
  • Counseling/therapy
  • Alternative sentencing such as work release, electronic home monitoring, and/or community service
  • Fines
  • Loss of job
Will I have to register as a sex offender? If so, for how long?

That depends on whether you are convicted of a sex crime and what that sex crime is. Further, Washington State has the following different levels of registration: Lifetime, Indefinite, 15 years, and 10 years. The duty to register begins after you are convicted and released from custody. Here are the lists:

Lifetime Registration
  • Determined to be a Sexually Violent Predator
  • Indecent Liberties – With Forcible Compulsion (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Rape 1 (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Rape 2 – With Forcible Compulsion (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
Indefinite Registration
  • Assault 2 with Sexual Motivation
  • Child Molestation 1 (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Kidnapping 2 with Sexual Motivation
  • Promoting Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Rape 2 – Without Forcible Compulsion (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Rape of a Child 1 & 2 (Including Attempt & Solicitation)
  • Any sex or kidnapping offense where defendant has one or more prior conviction for a sex or kidnapping offense
15 Year Registration
  • Child Molestation 2
  • Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Dealing in Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 1
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (third or subsequent violation committed on or after 6/10/2010
  • Incest 1
  • Indecent Liberties – Without Forcible Compulsion
  • Possession of Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 1
  • Promoting Prostitution 1
  • Sending, Bringing into the State Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 1
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Viewing Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 1
10 Year Registration
  • Child Molestation 3
  • Communication with Minor for Immoral Purposes (felony or misdemeanor)
  • Criminal Trespass Against Children
  • Custodial Sexual Misconduct 1
  • Dealing in Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 2
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (Second violation committed on or after 6/10/2010)
  • Incest 2
  • Possession of Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 2
  • Promoting Prostitution 2
  • Rape 3
  • Rape of Child 3
  • Sending, Bringing into the State Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 2
  • Sexual Misconduct with Minor 1 & 2
  • Sexually Violating Human Remains
  • Viewing Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct 2
  • Voyeurism
  • Attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit a class C sex offense
What are some of the potential results I can expect?
Because every case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances, it’s not possible for us to tell you what result you will get on your particular case until we have had a chance to fully litigate it. That said, here are some potential results; all of which we have achieved for our clients:
  • Dismissal of charges in the pre-trial stages
  • Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA)
  • Reduction of charges
  • First Time Offender Waiver (if no prior record)
  • Reduction of penalties
  • Not guilty verdict after trial
  • Hung Jury leading to Mistrial
  • Guilty verdict after trial
Simply give us a call for a full explanation of what these outcomes mean and how we can achieve them.
Besides jail, what other potential consequences am I looking at?
Because there is such a wide variety of potential outcomes, we don’t want you to get ahead of yourself with worrying about every single potential consequence, but because we know this is often a burning question, here are a few:
What can I do to help my case?
There are a number of things you can do to help your case. We will direct you on how to do each of the following:
  • Don’t talk to anyone about it besides your attorney
  • Obtain a private polygraph examination
  • Have a private psychosexual evaluation
  • Gather character reference letters
  • Provide us with a confidential and detailed version of events
  • Provide us with your own mini autobiography so we can know as much as possible about you
I’ve heard that I should get something called a “Psychosexual Evaluation.” What is this and should I do it?
A Psychosexual evaluation is when you sit down with psychologist to undergo questioning and testing, including a “sexual history” polygraph. There are a few doctors in Washington that are highly respected by the courts and prosecutor’s alike. You have to pay for these evaluations separately and it’s important to know that you are not paying the doctor to write a favorable report for you. Rather, the report will be an honest evaluation based on their professional opinions. Thus, it’s important to be be prepared for these interviews and also know when it’s a good idea NOT to do them. There are number of other important things to discuss in relation to these tests, and we would be happy to do so as part of a free consultation.
I’m innocent! Should I take a polygraph? What if I fail?
First, never, and we mean never, take a polygraph test with the police. That said, it can very often be beneficial to take a private polygraph test that is fact specific. In other words, one that goes straight to the heart of the matter.
The police want to talk to me to get my side of the story. Should I speak with them?
No. End of discussion. Contact an attorney immediately if the police want to talk to you.
What can you promise me?
You’re not going to find a more qualified team to represent you, and we are going to get you the best possible result given the facts and circumstances of your particular case. We work really hard and are very accessible to our clients. Try calling or texting us right now; if we don’t pick up right away, we will get back to you very fast.
How will you get me the best possible result?
The short answer is through hard work. Here’s a little closer look: Some of the legal issues we analyze while handling your Domestic Violence case:
  • Inconsistent statements made by the accuser
  • Lack of physical evidence to support accuser’s claims
  • Determination of whether any incriminating statements you made were in violation of your Miranda Rights
  • Legality of any search & seizure issues
  • Collecting additional witness statements that support our theory of the case
Some of the mitigating factors we introduce and discuss during negotiation:
  • Humanize you to the prosecutor; we want to know everything about you. Give us your life story. We will memorize it and then be able to talk to the prosecutor very intelligently about you; as if we have known you for years.
  • Gather a bunch of character reference letters for you.
  • Depending on the circumstances, get proactive and have you undergo counseling at the early stages of the case.
  • Explain the impact this matter will have on your job and family.
If I retain your services, are you going to get my charges reduced or dismissed?
The only answer I can give you at this point is “it depends…” I know, not totally satisfying, but it is honest. If another attorney promises you more than that, then they are just trying to take your money. Get out of their office (or hang up the phone) as fast as you can.
How much are your services going to cost me?
We charge fair, competitive flat fees for our services. Here’s the problem you face with a lot of other attorneys: The ultra-expensive guys aren’t going to get you a better result than we are, and the dirt cheap guys aren’t going to much of anything for you at all. That’s where we come in. While we certainly don’t have the lowest fees in the Puget Sound, we won’t make you take out a second mortgage either.
Do you exclusively handle Sex cases?
No, we don’t play marketing games like some other attorneys out there. We’re well-rounded and handle ALL criminal matters. However, due to our success and subsequent media attention regrading sex crimes we have handled, our caseload always consists of a number or felony and misdemeanor sex crimes matters. Our secret to success with sex cases is simple: we focus on what matters the most – getting you the best possible outcome.
I have a court date coming up ASAP, what do I do?!?
Hire an attorney! Is this answer self-serving? Yes. Despite this, is it still the best possible thing you can do? YES.

 

 Brief Overview of a Few Common Sex Crimes

Rape
False allegations of rape are commonplace, and all it takes is one person pointing their finger at you and you can get charged. No corroboration of any kind is needed. No DNA, no other witnesses, nothing. Rape defenses generally fall into two main categories: (1) No sex occurred at all; or (2) the sex was consensual. These are two very distinct defenses, each requiring a skilled approach by an experienced legal team.
Child Molestation
These are complex and delicate cases that definitely require an experienced attorney by your side. The very first thing a jury thinks in a case of this nature is, “why would a child ever lie about being molested?” Because of this, even though the burden is on the state to prove your guilt, in these cases, the reality is we often have to work to prove your innocence.
Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes
CMIP for short is one of those odd statutes in Washington where a first offense can be a gross misdemeanor, unless the alleged communication was done by electronic means, in which case it is a class C felony. Either way, if you’re convicted, you would be required to register as a sex offender. Knowledge about the the age of the person you were in communication with is often a key element in these cases and we have a lot of experience successfully challenging that element.
Indecent Liberties

The crime of Indecent liberties revolves around the capacity to consent to sexual contact. In other words, was the alleged victim incapable of consent because of being mentally defective or incapacitated or physically helpless? This comes up in a number of different circumstances. A few of which are:

  • Someone has had too much alcohol to drink or taken too many drugs to be able to consent
  • A doctor/patient examination
  • An allegation of inappropriate contact by a massage therapist
  • When someone is a resident at a drug rehab or a mental health facility and alleges inappropriate contact with someone who had supervisory authority over them.

Prosecutors often take a hard stance on indecent liberty cases and as a result these cases have a higher likelihood of ending up in trial compared to many other cases. We always exhaust all pre-trial remedies first, but if that if trial is our only option then we will be ready to fight hard for a “got guilty” verdict.

Voyeurism

Voyeurism arrests are on the rise in Washington. This is in part due to virtually every phone now being equipped with a camera and/or video recording capabilities. We typically see allegations of this come up where the victim was in a place where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy (a bathroom, a clothing store changing room, a locker room, a house, apartment or hotel, etc.) and they are filmed or photographed without their knowledge and consent.

The state also must prove that the filming or photographing was done for the purpose of arousing or gratify sexual desires.

We have successfully handled a number of these cases and are standing by ready to discuss the best possible defense of your voyeurism case as well.

Child Pornography

This is referred to as possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. These days, we most commonly see this charge associated with electronic files/folders stored on a client’s computer or other device. There are varying approached to defending this allegation. For instance, many times our client does not personally know the person in the picture/video. Thus if you are not in possession of any facts that would prove you knew the age of the person, then you have a very viable defense to this charge if the person depicted in the images arguably appears as though he/she could be 18 years old. If this is not a viable argument, there are other lines of defense that can be pursued as well as mitigating evidence that can be presented.

Patronizing a Prostitute/Sexual Exploitation
Western Washington has been cracking down on prostitution related cases recently (as of 2016), and the focus of law enforcement has been to arrest the customers, not the prostitutes. It used to be that these cases were simply referred for diversion so you didn’t have to do much of anything to avoid a conviction. Not anymore. Prosecutors now want you to have a criminal record for this charge. While this is just a simple misdemeanor (as opposed to a more serious gross misdemeanor), a conviction can have very real and dire consequences. We handle a large number of these cases and know the best approach to fight them and avoiding a conviction.
Promoting Prostitution 2
As opposed to promoting prostitution in the first degree, promoting in the second degree is not technically a sex crime. Further, it was traditionally only pursued for what people commonly refer to as “pimps.” While the law is certainly is still applied to alleged pimps, it has recently (as of 2016) been expanded to other activities. For instance, a huge bust occurred in January 2016, charging several men with felonies simply because they visited prostitutes and then went online and wrote reviews about their experiences. This is not the promotion of prostitution as far as we are concerned and if you are charged with this, let us know and we will fight the Prosecution on this every step of the way.
Police Stings
Stings on sex cases are very common and take several different forms. For instance, the police may post an ad on Craigslist or Backpage offering prostitution services, or they may be in a chatroom or on an app posing as a minor. Cops can also try to set you up after an alleged crime has occurred. An example of this would be an alleged date rape case where the accuser calls you up out of the blue and tries to get you to admit to the rape while the police are listening in and recording the call (this is referred to a pretextual call). We made our name in defending clients in sting cases with our success in handling the Dateline NBC To Catch A Predator cases, and we are still vigorously fighting these cases to this day.