As a criminal defense attorney, it's essential to understand the age of consent and statutory rape laws in Washington. These laws are in place to protect minors from sexual exploitation and ensure that individuals who engage in sexual activity with minors are held accountable for their actions.
What is the Age of Consent in Washington?
In Washington, the age of consent is 16 years old. This means that individuals who are 16 or older can legally engage in sexual activity with other consenting adults. However, it's important to note that there are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, if the individual is in a position of authority over the minor, such as a teacher or coach, the age of consent is raised to 18.
What is Statutory Rape?
Statutory rape occurs when an individual engages in sexual activity with a minor who is below the age of consent. It's important to note that statutory rape charges can be filed even if the minor consents to the sexual activity.
If a minor who is 14 or 15 has consensual sex with a person who is at least 4 years older than them, the older individual will be charged with third-degree rape of a child, which is a Class C felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 5 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
If a minor who is 12 or 13 has consensual sex with a person who is at least 3 years older than them, the older individual will be charged with second-degree rape of a child, which is a Class A felony that is punishable by life imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $50,000.
If a minor who is younger than 12 has consensual sex with someone who is at least 2 years older than them, the older person will be charged with first-degree rape of a child, which is also a Class A felony.
Tips for Those Facing Statutory Rape Charges
If you're facing statutory rape charges in Washington, it's essential to take the situation seriously and seek legal representation as soon as possible.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Don't speak to law enforcement without an attorney present. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court.
- Be honest with your attorney. Your attorney is there to help you, but they can only do so if they have all the facts.
- Don't contact the minor or their family. This can be viewed as witness tampering and can result in additional charges.
- Understand the potential consequences. Statutory rape charges can have serious legal and personal consequences. It's important to understand what you're facing and work with your attorney to develop a strong defense strategy.
- Consider counseling. If you're struggling with issues related to sexual behavior or attraction to minors, counseling can be a helpful resource.
Contact Hester Law Group for Help
If you're facing statutory rape charges in Washington, the team at Hester Law Group is here to help. Our experienced sex crime attorney has a deep understanding of Washington's age of consent and statutory rape laws and can work with you to develop a strong defense strategy.
Contact us today at (253) 300-3034 to schedule a free consultation.