An accusation of sexual misconduct alone can affect a person’s reputation and livelihood, but the stain of accusation can pale in significance to the consequences of a sex conviction. In addition to the unique stigma that follows conviction for a sex offense, many sex offenses carry the possibility of a life sentence, even for a first-time offender. After an offender pays his debt to society, he must wear the modern-day scarlet letter that is sex offender registration and be subject to the whims of local law enforcement, which has virtually unfettered discretion to assign the level of sex offender registration that will determine whether he can live more or less anonymously or be subject to public shaming via internet posting and community notification. With so much at stake, it is crucial that you have a skilled and experienced advocate on your side.
Sex offense prosecution poses a list of unique issues that require the expertise of an experienced defense lawyer. When a child is the alleged victim, it can be a challenge to cut through the emotions involved and get to the truth. A skilled attorney can challenge the reliability of a child’s accusation and its vulnerability to suggestion by trusted adults, such as a parent who may be motivated by a custody dispute or a professional child interviewer who may introduce or reinforce information not previously known to the child. A defense attorney must be prepared to challenge the admission of “child hearsay” that Washington law sometimes allows in lieu of live testimony. DNA and other forensic evidence can play a key role in sex offense prosecutions, and an experienced defense lawyer can separate the junk from the science.
Seattle criminal defense lawyer David Hammerstad has years of experience defending against the most serious sex offense allegations, obtaining multiple acquittals and pretrial resolutions that have avoided the harshest consequences of conviction.