Rape 1st Degree
Rape First degree involves "forcible compulsion" where the defendant or an accessory to the crime:
- Uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon; or
- Kidnaps the victim; or
- Inflicts serious injury, including unconscious; or
- Unlawfully enters into the building or vehicle where the victim was.
Rape 1st degree generally involves a weapon of some sort. Additionally, an accusation of using a drug to render the victim unconscious can lead to a charge of Rape in the first degree. The use of drugs like GHB & Rohypnol or any "date-rape drug" can lead to the charge of first degree Rape. Additionally, a conviction of Rape 1st degree can lead to life in prison and registration as a sex offender. Rape 1st degree has a standard sentencing of 108 months in prison. This means if a defendant with no prior offenses is convicted of Rape 1st degree they are likely to be sentenced to 108 months (9 years) in prison and be a registered sex offender for life upon release.
Rape 2nd Degree
Rape 2nd degree is defined as Rape by "forcible compulsion" or when the victim is:
- incapable of consent because of the use of alcohol or mental illness.
- The victim is mentally retarded and therefore not capable of consent.
Rape 2nd degree is generally the most common charge when an alleged victim accuses another of forcibly having sex with them. Second degree Rape is defined as sexual intercourse by force. Rape 2nd degree has a standard sentencing of 90 months in prison. This means if a defendant with no prior offenses is convicted of Rape 2nd degree they are likely to be sentenced to 90 months (7.5 years) in prison) and be a registered sex offender for a period of five years upon release.
Rape 3rd Degree
- When the victim did not consent
Rape 3rd degree is generally a situation where the victim did not "consent" but was not physically forced to have intercourse with the accused person. The term "consent" is defined in Washington State law as: "at the time of the act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact there are actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact.
The classic "HE SAID-SHE SAID" CRIME!
What is the definition of Rape?
Put simply, the definition of Rape is any act of sexual intercourse without a person's consent. This can occur by physically overpowering a person but can also occur if the person was intoxicated or high to such an extent that they could not consent to the sexual intercourse. As with any sex allegation the consequences of facing a Rape allegation are very serious. Even if a Rape charge has not been filed against you, but you have been accused of Rape, you should consult with a Washington state Rape attorney who is familiar with how to limit your exposure to criminal charges.
What is the definition of Consent?
The term "consent" is defined in Washington State law as: "at the time of the act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact there are actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact. The terms "actual words or conduct" can have a broad meaning. In some cases a alleged victim may give actual verbal permission to another person. In other instances there may be conduct, like mutual kissing, that indicates consent. The term "consent" is very fact specific and specific to every different situation.
What if I am being investigated by my school or University?
If you are being investigated by your University, College or School you have a right to be represented by an attorney during their investigation and hearing. Keep in mind that the consequences for being found responsible during a Title IX investigation or investigation by an educational institution is generally permanent expulsion from the institution. You have a right to be represented during every stage of the proceeding and are generally less likely to be "railroaded" by an educational institution that is being pressured to simply expel the accused student.
What are the consequences for a Rape Charge?
The consequences for a charge or even allegation of Rape can be life changing and more severe than almost any other crime. Police and detectives will often begin a investigation based on an allegation alone, even if there is no physical evidence or witnesses to the alleged act. A charge of Rape 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree, all are felonies. The charge can vary depending on the circumstances. Penalties for a conviction of Rape can vary greatly depending on if the victim had injuries, if a weapon was used and the relationship between the accused and victim. Even with a charge of 3rd degree rape the defendant is facing up to 5 years in prison, mandatory registration as a sex offender and becoming unemployable.
Do I need to register as a Sex Offender?
If you are convicted of sexual assault or Rape, you may be required to register as a violent sex offender for the rest of your life. Your personal information could be posted on the internet and your neighbors may be informed of your presence in the neighborhood. You should keep in mind that you only need to register as a sex offender if you are convicted of the Rape.
When should I seek legal advice if I am being accused or investigated for Rape?
Most rape or sexual assault investigations are handed over to a detective prior to official charges being filed. These officers will likely contact you to request to interview you. They may say things like "I just want to help you clear your name" or "I just want to get your side of the story." Additionally, when you arrive to the interview you are likely to be met by multiple officers, an intimidating environment and recording equipment.
If you have been accused or rape by the alleged victim or asked to speak with police then you should delay the interview and speak with an attorney imminently. Speaking with police or the alleged victim may result in a situation where your situation goes from bad to worse. Remember, the only job police have is gathering evidence for the prosecution. It is not their job to help you "clear your name" or "get your side of the story." Don't try to explain yourself to the alleged victim, family, friends or police. Contact an attorney.
What is a "Rape Kit" Test?
The term "Rape Kit" is a generic term for the gathering of physical evidence following an allegation of sexual assault. The problem is that this test generally can only determine if two people had sex. It cannot determine if a rape occurred. The test generally uses a cotton swab to find traces of semen, saliva or blood. Simply having a "rape kit" test performed proves that two people had sex. It generally does nothing to determine if this sex was consensual or not.
What if the "victim" is lying?
In many cases the alleged victim is not a credible witness. In many cases they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, were engaged in prostitution at the time or have a monetary agenda to extort the alleged defendant for money. These are issues that need to be addressed with the detective, police and prosecutor.
Is a free consultation with an attorney discreet and confidential?
Yes, if you have been accused or rape or sexual assault then and you want to meet with me then you should feel comfortable knowing that everything discussed is covered by the attorney/client privilege and I will not divulge your case details or identity to anyone. Additionally, my office is located in downtown Bellevue with underground parking available. The consultation setting is private and discreet and no one (besides us) will know the reason for your meeting with me. You need information but don't want to make your situation worse, I get it. Give me a call, we'll sit down and talk about your options.