Police have arrested a Washington man for allegedly raping a woman while pretending to be her ride-share driver. King County police had been looking for the suspect since December after the man picked her up outside of a bar, lured the woman into his vehicle, and pulled over to rape the victim while driving her home. The 34-year-old man turned himself over to police after a family member recognized him from surveillance footage released by the King County Sheriff's Office.
Lawmakers across the country are debating bills to make ride-share services safer. Following the murder of a college student by a man posing as an Uber driver, South Carolina lawmakers are debating a bill that requires ride-sharing vehicles to have an illuminated, company-provided sign with the company's logo that is visible to passengers even in darkness.
Seattle criminal defense attorney Steve Karimi details Washington rape laws, including the punishments for a conviction, the degrees of the crime, and possible defenses to charges.
Rape in Washington
Rape is sexual intercourse by physical or emotional force and is a felony crime in Washington. Individuals convicted of rape face up to a lifetime in prison. Hefty fines of up to $50,000 may be imposed in addition to a prison sentence, making a rape conviction costly and life-altering. There are many arguments that a skilled defense attorney can raise to help to defend a client against rape charges in any degree.
There are three different degrees of rape in Washington and whether rape is in the first, second, or third degree, depends on a multitude of complicated factors. First-degree rape is the most severe rape crime and involves kidnapping, threats with a deadly weapon, or the infliction of serious physical injury on the victim. Second-degree rape is charged when a victim is unable to give consent due to being physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or in situations where the suspect is a medical care provider or has supervisory authority over the victim. Third-degree rape, the less severe of the crimes, involves a victim who clearly expressed a lack of consent to the suspect verbally or by conduct.
An experienced criminal defense attorney understands that a suspect may be unfairly accused of rape in a variety of situations. A defendant may not have known that the victim was not consenting or unable to consent due to physical helplessness or mental incapacity. Drugs and alcohol can also impact a case, making it difficult to prove that the sexual contact by the suspect was unwanted or unwelcome.
Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
Attorney Steve Karimi has created a successful career of defending clients throughout Washington against felony criminal charges. As a former prosecutor, attorney Karimi understands the variety of defenses that are available to a client when they are charged with a crime. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in the Seattle area, contact The Law Offices of Steve Karimi. Call us at 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.