Challenging False Allegations in Lynnwood
More Than 20,000 Cases Handled and Over 100 5-Star Reviews
At The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear, we have handled more than 20,000 cases as an Avvo 10.0-rated law firm. We have over 100 5-star reviews on Avvo and Google, and clients have continually trusted us to defend them in court. If you have been falsely accused of a sex crime in Lynnwood, we can build a strong defense against the prosecution, whether by pursuing a defense based on consent, the “Romeo and Juliet” exception, insanity, belief of age, or duress.
One defense tactic to challenge a false allegation of a sex crime is proving that the sexual acts or intercourse were consensual. After all, lack of consent is a critical element of a charge, so if a defendant can prove that the act was actually consensual, the prosecution lacks grounds for an allegation. Be aware that consent is not an acceptable defense for cases of statutory sexual assault or in cases that involve an incapacitated victim or consent obtained by force or deception.
In situations when the perpetrator is a health care provider, the alleged victim is a patient, and the sexual intercourse occurs during a treatment session or consultation, it is an affirmative defense to second degree rape that the patient consented to the sexual intercourse with the knowledge that the sexual intercourse was not for the purpose of treatment (RCW 9A.44.050(d)). However, the defendant must prove this by a preponderance of the evidence.
The “Romeo and Juliet” Exception
In cases of statutory rape, a person may defend against accusations of sexual intercourse with a minor by pursuing the “Romeo and Juliet” exception. The purpose of this rule is primarily to prevent unfair criminal charges against teenagers who have consensual sex with those close to their own age. Washington recognizes the “Romeo and Juliet” exception in cases of consensual sex between:
- a minor younger than 12 years old and another minor who is not more than 2 years older (3 years older for sexual contact without penetration);
- a minor who is 12 or 13 years old and another minor who is not more than 3 years older (4 years for sexual contact without penetration); or
- a minor who is 14 or 15 years old who has sex or sexual contact with someone who is 4 or fewer years older than that minor.
Insanity is another possible defense against sexual allegations. It is a valid defense if the defendant can prove that they were legally incapable of knowing that their actions were wrong at the time of the alleged crime, because this may show they did not act with intent to cause harm.
According to RCW 9A.12.010, to establish a defense of insanity, it must be shown by a preponderance of the evidence that:
- at the time of the offense, as a result of mental disease or defect, the mind of the offender was affected to such an extent that:
- (a) they were unable to perceive the nature and quality of the act with which they have been charged; or
- (b) they were unable to tell right from wrong with reference to the particular act charged.
Reasonable Belief of Age
In certain cases like those involving minors, effective defenses against false accusations could address the reasonable belief of the minor’s age. More specifically, RCW 9A.44.030(2) and (3) provide that:
(2) “…It is a defense which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the offense the defendant reasonably believed the alleged victim to be the age identified in subsection (3) of this section based upon declarations as to age by the alleged victim.”
(3) “The defense afforded by subsection (2) of this section requires that for the following defendants, the reasonable belief be as indicated”:
(a) Rape of a child in the first degree – alleged victim was at least 12 or was less than 2 years younger than the defendant;
(b) Rape of a child in the second degree – alleged victim was 14 or was less than 3 years younger than the defendant;
(c) Rape of a child in the third degree – alleged victim was at least 16 or was less than 4 years younger than the defendant;
(d) Sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree – alleged victim was at least 18 or was less than 5 years younger than the defendant;
(e) Child molestation in the first degree – alleged victim was at least 12 or was less than 3 years younger than the defendant;
(f) Child molestation in the second degree – alleged victim was at least 14 or was less than 3 years younger than the defendant;
(g) Child molestation in the third degree - alleged victim was at least 16 or was less than 3 years younger than the defendant;
(h) Sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree – alleged victim was at least 18 or was less than 5 years younger than the defendant.
Note that reasonable belief of an alleged victim’s age may not be based on inferences from their general behavior, appearance, or demeanor. Additionally, if the alleged victim expressly gives a false age that is nevertheless younger than the age of consent, only a partial defense will be recognized.
According to RCW 9A.16.060, in any prosecution for a crime, such as a sex offense, it is a defense that:
- the offender participated in the crime under compulsion by another who by threat or use of force created a reasonable apprehension that, if the offender refuses, they or another will face immediate death or immediate grievous bodily injury; and
- the offender would not have participated in the crime except for the duress involved.
It is not required under this defense that it is possible for this perceived harm to be immediate, but merely that the defendant had reasonable belief that they would be met with immediate death or grievous bodily injury otherwise.
Discuss Your Best Defense Strategy with a Professional Today
If you have been falsely accused of a sex crime in Lynnwood, do not hesitate to take legal action with the help of an experienced attorney. False allegations should be taken seriously and combatted tenaciously. Our lawyers at The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear have handled over 20,000 cases in our career and know how to stand our ground. We are dedicated to your rights and your future; you should not be behind bars for something you didn’t do, and we will passionately defend you.
Call (425) 224-7075 or contact The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear online to strategize your defense today.
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