Charges of child molestation in Washington State can disrupt a person’s life forever. They can break apart a family, result in the loss of a person’s job, and may even require moving to a different geographical location. These charges must be taken seriously and handled by a knowledgeable defense attorney. The Seattle criminal lawyers at Black Law have over two decades of combined experience handling child molestation charges. They’re true professionals that you can rely upon; and, they’re ready to assist now.

Child Molestation Under Washington Law

Some people assume that child molestation is the same as charges involving the rape of a child. This is not true. The two offenses are very distinct.

Child molestation is clearly identified in Washington law. The law says that it occurs when a person has, or knowingly causes, another person under the age of 18 to have “sexual contact.” “Sexual contact” is defined as “any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person done for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of either party or a third party.”

There are three degrees of child molestation in Washington. The differences between them pertain to the age of the alleged victim and the age of the defendant. For example:

  • Child Molestation in the First Degree is where there is sexual contact and: (1) the alleged victim is less than 12 years old; and, (2) the defendant is at least 36 months older than the victim. This is a class A felony.
  • Child Molestation in the Second Degree is where there is sexual contact and: (1) the alleged victim is at least 12 years old but less than fourteen years old; and, (2) the defendant is at least 36 months older than the victim. This is a class B felony.
  • Child Molestation in the Third Degree is where there is sexual contact and: (1) the alleged victim is at least 14 years old but less than sixteen years old; and, (2) the defendant is at least 48 months older than the victim. This is a class C felony.

Severe Charges with Harsh Penalties

Given the nature of the offense, prosecutors seek to punish those guilty of child molestation to the fullest extent of the law. Punishment can include years (even a life) in prison and excessively high fines. Further, those guilty of this offense require sexual offender registration. For example:

  • Child Molestation in the First Degree carries with it a lifetime sexual offender registration requirement.
  • Child Molestation in the Second Degree carries with it a 15-year sexual offender registration requirement.
  • Child Molestation in the Third Degree carries with it a lifetime sexual offender registration requirement.

Complex Cases Demanding Skilled Representation

 Many people know that child molestation cases are highly sensitive. But, they’re also very complex. Many of these cases require such professionals as: investigators, child specialists, physicians, child psychologists, and experts in child interview techniques. Given the complexity of these charges, combined with their severity, it’s necessary for people facing such charges to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney.

As stated above, the lawyers at Black Law have over twenty years of combined experience helping people fight charges of child molesting. Our criminal attorneys are proven and tested. They have the skill that matters and the passion that makes a difference. Simply contact them today and let them help. Your rights and liberties demand it.