Sexual Allegations

Being accused of a sex offense is like being accused of no other offense. Your entire life turns upside down. Your family, your job and your freedom can be taken from you at the mere allegation. Judges are reluctant to release persons accused of sex offenses pending trial. There will be restraining orders placed against you which could prevent you from entering your home or even speaking with your family members. You can be restrained from having contact with any children including your own. You will need assistance in navigating the treacherous mine field you are about to enter. You need to call Tacoma-Pierce County lawyer Philip Thornton.

If you have been accused of a sex offense or if you have been contacted by law enforcement concerning a sexual assault, you must consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney immediately. Call Tacoma Attorney Philip Thornton for a free consultation. Do not speak with law enforcement. They are not interested in merely obtaining your side of the story. You will never be able to talk yourself out of trouble, and/or you will never be able to convince law enforcement you are innocent if an allegation has been made against you. If asked to meet with law enforcement, politely decline and immediately call attorney Philip Thornton at 253-383-3102.

Sex offenses can encompass a vast array of allegations. Some sex offenses involve a crime against a person regardless of the victim’s age. These types of crimes include rape, indecent liberties and incest. Other types of sex offense can involve crimes against children. These crimes include rape of a child, sexual misconduct with a minor, and child molestation. Finally, some sex offenses involve voyeurism, violation of human remains and possession of child pornography. Each of these types of offenses has their own unique means of investigation and defense. It is important to obtain as much about the facts of the allegation as soon as possible to begin preparing the defense. There are statutory defenses to some sex offenses. Consent is a common defense to charges of rape or indecent liberties, when these charges are based on forcible compulsion. In a sex offense crime that is based on the victim's mental incapacity or physical helplessness, the statute provides it is a defense that the defendant reasonably believed that the victim was not incapacitated or helpless. Similarly, a sex offense that depends on the victim's age, it is a defense that the defendant reasonably believed the victim to be older because of the victim's declarations as to age.

Early detection of what the issues and allegations are is critical to successful defense of a sex crime. Often times sex offenses arise in the contexts of relationships such a boyfriend/girlfriend, parent/child, or employer/employee. I will explore the full nature of these relationships in preparation of your defense. I will investigate the circumstances and setting of where the allegation originates and the motive behind the allegation. Every piece of physical evidence will be examined and challenged before it will be admitted against you in a court of law.

The sentencing statutes regarding the punishment for a conviction for a sex offense are harsh and will forever affect your life and livelihood. If convicted, you will face a lengthy prison sentence as well as a lengthy post-incarceration monitoring by the Department of Corrections. For some crimes, you may face the possibility of an “indeterminate sentence” if the State can prove you are a risk to reoffend. If the State can prove you are at risk to reoffend, you can be held for the remainder of your natural life. If released, you will have to register as a sex offender for a lengthy period of time and have restrictions placed upon your activities.

The Washington State legislature, under the Sentencing Reform Act, enacted a “special sex offender sentencing alternative” (SSOSA) for a defendant who has committed some specified sex offenses. The offender must be evaluated by a certified sex offender therapist, who must assess the defendant's amenability to treatment and the defendant’s relative risk to the community. The therapist will send the SSOSA evaluation to the offender’s attorney and the court. The court will review the evaluation along with the Department of Correction’s “Pre-Sentence Investigation” report. The court has broad discretion in granting or denying this sentencing alternative. If the court grants the SSOSA, the court imposes a prison sentence within the standard range then the court suspends the prison sentence. The court may, but in most instances will, impose up to six months of confinement. The court has the option of allowing the offender to serve this sentence in partial confinement, and order sexual deviancy treatment and community supervision for up to three years. The court will also impose a significant number of conditions upon the offender. These conditions will include a restriction on your ability to have contact with certain individuals, restrict your access to children (including your own), limit your ability to change jobs, prohibit your ability to consume alcohol, and limit your access to the internet. The court can require you to submit to various monitoring, including polygraph examinations, to insure your compliance with the conditions. You will have a community corrections officer who will supervise you during the period of community custody. If the offender violates any of the conditions of the sentence, the court may revoke the suspension and impose the standard prison sentence. In most instances, this is a significantly lengthy sentence. Before the court will revoke the SSOSA sentence, the offender is given a hearing to determine if the offender has violated any condition and whether revocation of the suspended sentence is the appropriate sanction. Again, the court has broad discretion in determining whether a violation has occurred and in revoking the suspended sentence.

I believe that sex offenses have become the “scarlet letter” of our time and it is vitally important that no one bear that burden without the State being put to their burden of proving the allegation beyond a reasonable. I am the attorney who will effectively fight for your rights and best interest. Call now for a free consultation -- Tacoma/Pierce County attorney Philip Thornton.

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