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Spousal or Partner Rape: Can You Be Charged in Washington?

Posted by Steve Karimi | Jan 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

The idea of sexual assault by a spouse or a partner can bring dubious reactions at one end of the spectrum and rage at the other. Yet, these rape charges are very real and prosecutors take allegations very seriously; they punish convicted offenders as harshly as any other attacker. If you are facing potential charges, understanding the crime and your culpability is important.

Rape is sex without consent, and spousal or partner rape is when it occurs with a spouse or a person engaged in a romantic relationship. These assaults also fall under the category of domestic violence carrying additional penalties. Consent can mean different things.

To be charged with spousal or partner rape, the prosecution must prove these characteristics:

  • Engaging in an act of intercourse
  • The partners must be involved or married
  • One of the partners did not consent to the act either because he or she did not say YES or because he or she was incapable of consenting because of an intoxicant such as drugs or alcohol
  • The defendant was aware or should have been aware that the spouse did not consent or was unconscious or in another vulnerable state of being.
  • Use of force, duress, threats of bodily harm, or violence was directed to the non-consenting partner

Several possible defenses for an accusation of partner or spousal rape exist. If your spouse or partner is accusing you of rape, an experienced attorney can help you sort out the events of the incident.

False Accusations in Spousal Rape Cases

When married couples or couples living together as married couples approach divorce discussions and dip and out of ending their marriages, tumultuous relationships can result. In some cases, divorce has been filed and the pair begin arguing over property, children, finances, etc. sometimes leading to desperate measures. Jealous or vindictive people can turn to lying or manipulating to cause harm to the partner. When physical evidence is not present and corroborating facts cannot be found, false accusation may be a good defense.

Lack of Evidence in Partner Rape Cases

When an accusation is levied by a spouse or a partner police must unearth corroborating evidence when weighing whether to file charges. They must determine if the accusing spouse had a motive to lie about the charges. If this motivation is compelling and there is no evidence, the defendant spouse may prevail.

Rape of any kind is among the most serious of offenses. The penalties are steep if found guilt and if convicted, a partner or spouse could receive prison time. As outlined in this post, there are defenses possible. Defending yourself against rape allegations from a partner or spouse is difficult; an attorney experienced in these cases knows the right questions to ask. Despite your innocence, finding support from the community is a challenge as these charges carry many stigmas. Working with a trusted attorney is your optimum choice for defeating charges of spousal rape. Contact Steve Karimi today to learn your options.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

Seattle Defense Lawyer

Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.