Being charged with domestic violence and sexual assault in Washington is terrifying. The fact that the accused was married to, or in an intimate partnership with, the alleged victim is not a viable defense. If your spouse or partner has accused you of sexual assault, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney at your side.
Located in Seattle, Jennifer Horwitz Law regularly defends clients against domestic violence allegations, including those involving sexual assault. Lead attorney Jennifer Horwitz understands that such charges can have lasting repercussions, including imprisonment, and also affect your child custody rights. Trust Jennifer to choose the best line of defense to help you fight the charges. Contact her today for a consultation.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault covers various sex crimes, including third-degree rape, or engaging in sexual intercourse without the victim’s consent. Rape in the third degree is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. To gain a conviction, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant engaged in forcible sexual intercourse without the victim’s consent.
Another sexual assault charge is referred to as indecent liberties, which involves forcible sexual contact with the victim without consent or using forcible compulsion when the victim was not able to consent because of physical helplessness, mental incapacity, or a developmental disability. As with a marital rape charge, the necessary element to gain a conviction is the lack of consent.
Generally, consent means giving permission for something to happen. In terms of sexual intercourse or contact, consent means both a willingness to participate and actual words or conduct that indicate consent was freely given.
Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence in Washinton
In 2013, Washington amended its laws to remove the spousal exemption for both rape in the third degree and taking indecent liberties. The state removed the marital exemption for first- and second-degree rape in 1983. This means that marriage is not a defense in domestic violence cases involving any form of sexual assault.
Under state law, certain crimes are considered domestic violence when they are committed by a family or household member of the victim, including spouses, ex-spouses, parents of a child, stepparents, adults currently living together or who have done so in the past, individuals who are in or have a had a dating relationship.
While domestic violence charges in Washington are typically charged as misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors, the state applies the same definition of sexual assault in spousal situations as those involving strangers. This means that sexual assault by a spouse or intimate partner will result in felony charges; the degree of the charge depends on the facts of the case.
Defenses Against Marital Rape Allegations
You face an uncertain future if you have been accused of sexually assaulting your spouse, intimate partner, or other family or household member. The best way to protect your rights and your freedom is to have an aggressive sexual assault defense attorney handle your case.
Jennifer Horwitz knows how to develop a strong legal defense against sexual assault and domestic violence allegations in Washinton. Potential defenses include:
- Proof of consent – A spouse or intimate partner may have reasonably believed that consent was given based on prior sexual activity, actions, or words
- Inconsistencies – By cross-examining the victim, it may be possible to show inconsistencies in his or her story
- Lack of sufficient evidence – Given that there are no witnesses to sexual assault crimes and there may not be medical evidence, the prosecution may not be able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
- False accusations – False accusations of rape and sexual assault are not uncommon in contentious divorce cases
You should know that the police are required to make an arrest when responding to a domestic violence complaint. If you are arrested, remember, you have a right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney. This is where Jennifer Horwrtiz Law comes in.
Jennifer Horwitz will work to secure your release so that you can participate in your defense. The fact that you have been arrested for sexual assault does not mean that you will be convicted, as long as you have a capable criminal defense attorney like Jennifer at your side.
Contact Our Experienced Seattle Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Attorney
There is no room for violence in any relationship, including one between spouses and intimate partners, which is why the state aggressively prosecutes domestic violence cases. At the same time, false allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence can cause lasting harm to your reputation. Contact Jennifer Horwitz today so she can start working on your defense.