Seattle Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys
You’ve been arrested for a sex crime.
We’re betting you have several burning questions you want answered, which is why we created this page. Here you’ll find simple and straightforward answers to the questions that really matter to you right now. Despite this, the best way to make sure all of your questions are answered is to simply pick up the phone and give us a call for a free confidential consultation.
Court and Michelle developed a specialty representing those accused of sex crimes through their involvement with Dateline NBC’s To Catch A Predator show. Court was the first attorney in the country to take one of these cases to trial. Read about Court’s success with this first case here.
Common Sex Crime Questions
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
- 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
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.
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
- Alternative sentencing such as work release, electronic home monitoring, and/or community service
- Loss of job
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:
|15 Year Registration|
|10 Year Registration|
- 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
- Who has been convicted of or charged with a crime of sexual violence; and
- Who suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder;
- Which makes the person likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility.
SSOSA is essentially a way to avoid a potentially lengthy prison sentence by undergoing treatment instead (although you could still be facing up to a year in county jail). In addition to possible county jail, a sentence to state prison will also be imposed, but it gets “suspended” pending successful completion of treatment (meaning you never have to serve the prison sentence).
Many sex crimes could potentially qualify for SSOSA, but not Rape 2 nor any other sex offense that is also considered to be a “serious violent offense.” If you are eligible based on your alleged offense, you must also meet the following criteria:
- If the conviction is a result of a guilty plea, you must fully admit that you committed the crime alleged. In other words, you cannot enter a plea of “no contest”
- No prior convictions for a sex crime
- No violent crime convictions within the past five years
- No substantial bodily harm to the victim
- The victim was not a stranger to you; there was some sort of established relationship/connection to the victim
- Your standard sentencing range for the offense you are convicted of includes the possibility of less than 11 years in prison
It’s important to note that even if you are eligible for SSOSA, it does not mean you will get it, or that you even want to get it for that matter. It takes an experienced attorney to evaluate your case and then give you advice as to whether SSOSA is a good option for you or not. If it is, then we will make sure all the appropriate steps are being taken to give you the best possible chance of getting this resolution.
Other Common Questions
- 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
The short answer is through hard work. Here’s a little closer look:
Some of the legal issues we analyze while handling your 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.
Brief Overview of a Few Common Sex Crimes
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 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.
In State Courts, this allegation is referred to as possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, while in Federal Court, it is referred to as Possession of Child Pornography. These days, we most commonly see this charge associated with electronic files/folders stored on a client’s computer or other device. In particular, it often arises in cases where there is alleged file sharing on protocols such as BitTorrent and UTorrent, which can also sometimes lead to "Dealing" charges as well.
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. Another argument centers around the term possession itself. For example, if the image(s) were in some unallocated cache that you didn't specifically know about or access, then this could negate the possession requirement.
Mitigation, including psychosexual evaluations, also often play an important role in these cases.
Stings on sex cases are very common and take several different forms. For instance, the police may post an ad online offering prostitution services, or they may be in a chatroom or on an app posing as a minor, or as the parent of a minor offering up their kid for sex. See our page on Prostitution Stings and/or our page covering Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor/Net Nanny Stings for more information.
We made our name 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.