The classic "HE SAID-SHE SAID" CRIME!
What is the definition of Sexual Assault?
Put simply, the definition of Sexual Assault is any act of touching for the purpose of sexual gratification 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 touching. As with any sex allegation the consequences of a conviction of sexual assault are very serious. Even if a Sexual Assault charge has not been filed against you, but you have been accused, you should consult with a Washington state Sexual Assault attorney who is familiar with how to limit your exposure to criminal charges.
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 Sexual Assault Accusation?
The consequences for a charge or even allegation of Sexual Assault 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 Sexual Assault can be a misdemeanor or Felony depending on the severity and sitaution. The charge can vary depending on the circumstances. Penalties for a conviction of Sexual Assault can vary greatly depending on if the victim had injuries, if a weapon was used and the relationship between the accused and victim.
Do I need to register as a Sex Offender?
If you are convicted of sexual assault, 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 inter next and your neighbors may be informed of your presence in the neighborhood. You should keep in mind that you generally only need to register as a sex offender if you are convicted of a felony.
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.