Washington Age of Consent Laws
One of the most important parts of Washington’s criminal code is the legal age when one is able to consent to sexual activity. While it is there to prevent abuse, there are some cases when adults are misled or are falsely accused and they find themselves facing criminal charges that can change their life permanently. If you have any questions or are facing possible criminal charges please reach out and contact the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer, our attorneys are here to help you. We have years of experience and will work ardently to give you the best possible defense.
Understanding the Washington Age of Consent Laws
As mentioned before, Washington’s criminal code establishes a minimum age that gives an individual the ability to legally consent to sexual activity. It is imperative to guarantee that everyone engaging in sexual activity is capable of comprehending the implications, risks, and repercussions involved. In Washington, the age of consent is 16 years old which means only individuals who are this age or older are able to legally consent to sexual activity. However, It is crucial to remember that there are exceptions and other variables that can affect the legality of engaging in sexual actions with a minor.
Consequences of Engaging in Sexual Activity with a Minor
While other states may have “Romeo and Juliet” laws that exempt relations between two minors who are close in age, Washington does not have such statues. Having sexual relations with someone who is under 16 is governed by strict liability, which does not allow a defense based on consent or intent. There may be the potential of criminal charges that can negatively impact your future, whether that results in imprisonment or having to register as a sex offender.
Rape of a Child in the 1st Degree: A person is guilty of this charge if they have sex with a child that is under 12 years of age and they are at least 2 years older than the victim. It is classified as a Class A Felony with maximum penalties of life in prison and $50,000.00 in fines.
Rape of a Child in the 2nd Degree: A person commits this crime if they have sex with a child between 12 and 14 years of age, and is at least 3 years older than the victim. It is considered a Class A Felony with a similar range of penalties as mentioned before.
Rape of a Child in the 3rd Degree: A person commits this crime if they have sex with a child who is between 14 and 16 years of age, and is at least 4 years older than the victim. It is a Class C Felony, carrying penalties of up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.00.
The Role of Criminal Defense Firms
Criminal defense firms play a vital role in protecting the rights of individuals accused of sexual offenses involving minors. A skilled criminal defense attorney will thoroughly examine the details of the case, challenge evidence, and work diligently to build a strong defense strategy. Working with your attorney is highly encouraged and can greatly benefit your case, they are there to provide guidance and support throughout the entire process.
When defending a client accused of a sexual offense involving a minor, several defense strategies may be employed. These strategies may include:
False Accusation: In some cases, false accusations can occur due to various motives such as revenge, jealousy, or coercion. A defense attorney may work to uncover any evidence that supports the claim of false accusation.
Lack of Evidence: The defense attorney may challenge the prosecution’s evidence, highlighting any inconsistencies, errors, or lack of concrete evidence that cast doubt on the accused’s guilt.
How We Can Help
Understanding the age of consent laws in Washington State is crucial to protect the rights of minors and ensure that individuals engaging in sexual activities do so within the boundaries of the law. In cases where individuals are accused of sexual offenses involving minors, criminal defense firms play a crucial role in providing legal representation and ensuring a fair trial. By employing effective defense strategies, these firms work tirelessly to protect the rights of their clients and advocate for justice in the legal system. A knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the legal process and protect your rights is essential if you find yourself facing criminal accusations surrounding the age of consent. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer is here to assist you through any sex crimes you may be charged with, and our attorneys will use their legal expertise to defend you to the fullest extent of the law.
Don’t hesitate, protect yourself now by calling the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer at (360) 334-6277 today and scheduling a free and confidential consultation.