Rape offenses, as defined by Washington State Law, are serious crimes that involve non-consensual sexual intercourse being committed by force (physical or emotional), threats, intimidation, or some other form of coercion. Without proper legal guidance from a seasoned rape defense lawyer, individuals who are falsely accused of rape may have a difficult time proving their innocence in a court of law. Vindicate Law’s tried-and-tested criminal defense attorneys understand the nuances of rape laws in Washington, and our case results speak for themselves — continue reading for more details regarding the State of Washington’s evidence requirements for a rape conviction.

What Constitutes a Rape Offense in Washington?

In order for a person in Washington to be convicted of rape, there must be indisputable evidence that they engaged in some form of non-consensual sexual penetration. With the help of an astute criminal defense lawyer, it’s possible to have rape charges completely dismissed under some conditions. Washington State Law classifies rape offenses into four categories, each with its own set of penalties that corresponds to the severity of the alleged offense. In the following section, we break down each category and their designated legal penalties.

Classifications & Penalties for Rape Offenses

Aside from the “Indecent Liberties” classification, all rape classifications involve a perpetrator engaging in forcible, non-consensual sexual intercourse with a victim. The degree of the offense is determined by other circumstances of the incident.

Elements of First-Degree Rape:

  • Weapons Used or Threatened
  • Victim Was Kidnapped
  • Victim Suffered Physical Injury
  • Perpetrator Enters Building or Car Where Victim Was Located

Elements of Second-Degree Rape:

  • Perpetrator Used Forcible Compulsion
  • Victim Could Not Consent Due to Physical Helplessness, Mental Incapacitation, or Developmental Disability.

Elements of Third-Degree Rape:

  • Victim Expressed Lack of Consent Verbally or Through Conduct
  • Perpetrator Threatened Serious Harm to Property Owned by Victim

Elements of Indecent Liberties:

  • Forcible Sexual Contact Without Victim’s Consent (Not Sexual Intercourse)
  • Perpetrator Used Forcible Compulsion
  • Victim Was Unable to Consent Due to Physical Helplessness, Mental Incapacitation, or Developmental Disability.

First and second-degree rape are both Class A Felonies, which translates to a potential life sentence in prison and/or a $50,000 fine. Indecent Liberties are also considered to be a Class A Felony offense, and they come with the same penalties. A third-degree rape offense is a Class C Felony, which is punishable by as much as five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

What Evidence is Needed to Make a Conviction?

A few things must be proven in order for the judge to hand down a rape conviction. First, the State of Washington must prove that sexual intercourse undoubtedly occurred between the defendant and the alleged victim. But the state must also prove that the alleged victim either did not consent to intercourse or that they were not capable of doing so at the time of the incident. The circumstances of the alleged rape must be proven to support the degree (first, second, or third) being charged by the State of Washington. Vindicate Law’s expert criminal defense attorneys understand rape laws and the evidence required to make a conviction — let us know if you need help understanding the evidence used in your case.

Contact Vindicate Law for Help From WA’s Leading Rape Defense Attorneys

If you have been wrongfully accused of rape, Vindicate Law’s criminal defense lawyers are here to help you get your life back. Contact us today to consult with an attorney about building a defense against rape charges in the State of Washington.