Jensen Legal Commends the Amendment of House Bill 1108 in Washington State

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Washington State Lawmakers Amendment Eliminates Marriage as an Absolute Defense in Rape Cases.

The amendment removes marital exemption from rape in the third degree and indecent liberties, making all forms of rape uninfluenced by marriage.

Until recently, Washington State’s rape laws argued that rape in a marriage does not exist, making all sorts of forced sexual conduct legal. The state joins the majority of the country by modifying the definition of rape in the third degree and indecent liberties.

May 1st saw the finalization of the newest revision to Washington State’s House Bill 1108, thrusting the state into the future by reforming the law that makes marital exemption acceptable in certain rape cases. The amendment removes marital exemption from rape in the third degree and indecent liberties, making all forms of rape uninfluenced by marriage.

The majority of states have already removed this exemption from all forms of rape. Washington State has not considered marital exemption legal for first or second degree rape since 1983. The amendment eliminates marriage as an absolute defense.

Some Seattle criminal attorneys speculate that the removal of marital exemption from indecent liberties could actually cause some confusion in its interpretation. On January 29th 2013, Oregon Live (http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2013/01/washington_legislature_proposa.html), reported that Brad Meryhew, a Seattle criminal defense attorney, has argued that removal from indecent liberties would make touching your spouse in their sleep a criminal act. Under the law, people are considered physically helpless while they are asleep. Under the new amendment, touching your sleeping spouse sexually could result in up to a 10 year prison sentence and a $20,000 fine.

The amendment to House Bill 1108 was passed by the House on March 11th, passed by the Senate on April 15th, and approved on May 1st. Governor Jay Inslee signed the amendment into State law on the approval date, and it’s effective date is the July 28th, 2013.

As a criminal defense attorney, sexual assault is one of the many cases Seattle based Jensen Legal is willing to defend. Have any questions are in need of a dependable and experienced defense attorney? Give Jensen Legal a call at 206-617-9173, email us at krisjensen(at)jensenlegal(dot)com, or visit our website http://www.jensenlegal.com.

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