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Tukwila Indecent Liberties Defense Lawyer

Indecent Liberties Under Washington Law

Under the laws of the state of Washington, indecent liberties is the offense that covers almost all unlawful sexual contact, except sexual intercourse. There are many ways in which the offense can be committed and many circumstances in which a person can be charged. 

Although it covers a wide variety of seemingly minor sexual acts, the penalties for an indecent liberties conviction are far from minor. A person charged with the offense may face life-altering consequences, including a maximum of life in prison. 

At The Curtis Firm, LLC, we defend residents of Washington accused of indecent liberties and other sex crimes. Our indecent liberties lawyers deeply understand the laws regulating these offenses and the issues they can involve. 

We know that an allegation of indecent liberties can have devastation consequences, and we will work to limit the damage. If you have been arrested or charged with the offense, you may not have much time left for your defense. 

Reach out to The Curtis Firm, LLC immediately for an understanding of your options in fighting the charge. 

What are indecent liberties under Washington law?

The offense of indecent liberties occurs when someone takes sexual liberties or has unwanted sexual contact with another person. The offense essentially punishes behavior that may amount to rape or other stricter offenses if it involved sexual intercourse. 

The statute defines sexual contact as any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of the body done for gratifying sexual desire. Acts such as groping, fondling and pinching are typically charged under the offense. 

From the wording of the statute, the offense anticipates instances when sexual contact is initiated by a person that has authority over the victim, with forcible compulsion or by reason of the victim's disability. This disability may include: 

  • Mental defect: In this case the victim has a condition that prevents them from understanding the nature of the sexual contact and agreeing to it;
  • Mental incapacity: This means at the time of sexual contact, the person has a condition that prevents them from understanding the activity; or 
  • Physical helplessness: In which case, the victim was unable to communicate consent or non-consent for reasons such as a lack of consciousness. 

There are many instances in which the offense can be committed under the statute. The prosecution must usually prove that at least one of the following was true: 

  • The sexual contact occurred by forcible compulsion. The statute defines forcible compulsion as physical force that overcomes resistance. It could also include a threat that places a person in fear of death, physical injury or fear that the person or a third party will be kidnapped. 
  • The victim was incapable of consent because they were mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless. 
  • The victim has a developmental disability, such as Autism; and
    • The perpetrator was not married to the victim; and 
    • Was a person who had supervisory authority over the victim; or 
    • Was providing transportation to the victim, within the course of their employment, at the time of the offense. 
  • The perpetrator is a health care provider and the victim is a client or patient. Also that the sexual contact occurred during a treatment session, examination, consultation or interview. 
  • The victim is a resident of a facility for persons with a mental disorder or chemical dependency; and
    • The perpetrator is not married to the victim; and 
    • Has supervisory authority over the victim 
  • The victim is an elder citizen or vulnerable adult; and 
    • The perpetrator is not married to the victim; and 
    • Has a significant relationship with the victim; or 
    • Was providing transportation to the victim, within the course of their employment, at the time of the offense.

When the offense occurs in instances that involved forcible compulsion, it will be charged as a Class A felony. In all other instances, the offense is charged as a Class B felony. 

What is the punishment for an indecent liberties conviction? 

Although indecent liberties is generally charged as one offense, there may be different penalties depending on the circumstances in which it was committed. 

As stated earlier, indecent liberties that involves forcible compulsion will be charged as a Class A felony. This will attract the highest possible punishment for an offense, up to life in prison. A fine of $50,000 may also be imposed either in place of or in addition to imprisonment. 

Other circumstances of the offense under the statute will be charged as a Class B felony. This attracts up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $20,000 or both. 

Mandatory sex offender registration 

In addition to jail time and fines offenders will be required to register as a sex offender. Law enforcement officers will go to the offender's home periodically to confirm that they live there. 

Apart from this, after serving whatever jail time has been ordered, offenders will be on community custody for years. Sometimes, especially in forcible compulsion cases, this may be for life. 

Sex offenders on community custody must get permission to leave the county and are usually prohibited from going to places where children usually are. They cannot live near schools, parks or playgrounds and must undergo periodic lie detector tests to see if they have been obeying the rules of their community custody. 

Defenses to indecent liberties

Since there are many circumstances in which the offense of indecent liberties may be committed, there are many defenses that may be asserted. 

One of such is what is known in law as an affirmative defense. It is a defense on which the defendant, not the prosecution, bears the burden of proof. If the charge is that the victim was unable to consent due to physical helplessness, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant reasonably believed otherwise. 

There is another defense available when a health care provider is charged with taking indecent liberties with a client or patient. We can assert that the sexual contact did not constitute a crime since the client or patient consented to it, knowing that it was not part of the treatment. 

There may be other legal defenses available, depending on the circumstances of your case. To preserve your chances of a positive outcome, it is best if you do not talk to anybody about the case without first consulting a Washington indecent liberties lawyer. 

We can help you defeat the charge

If you have been charged with indecent liberties in Tukwila or its environs, our experienced indecent liberties attorneys can help. We can use our resources on your behalf to reduce the charge, get it dismissed or obtain significantly lesser sentences after trial. 

Don't wait until it is too late before you reach out to an experienced Washington sexual offenses attorney. Contact us today at 253-327-1063 to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.

Areas Served

The Curtis Firm, LLC is located in Tukwila. We also serve clients throughout King and Pierce County.

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