Child Abuse Defense Attorneys in Vancouver WA

There may be no other category of crime that carries as much stigma as sex crimes and child abuse. Whether you are found guilty or not, the mere accusation can have a devastating impact on your reputation and your personal or professional relationships. If you or someone you love is facing allegations of sexual or physical abuse of a child it is critical that you seek the advice of an aggressive Washington criminal defense lawyer immediately.  

Above and beyond Family and Reputation

Child abuse cases bring an immediate threat to your family and reputation. Beyond that, child abuse allegations place a person at risk for:

  • Especially long sentences: Under the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines, crimes committed against children are classified at the highest range of the sentencing range, often times on par with crimes resulting in death. This also extends to the famous “Three Strikes” law in Washington, except that for cases of child sex abuse it is “Two Strikes” and you sit out the rest of your life in prison without the possibility of release.
  • Potentially life-long Supervision: A person convicted of sex abuse against a child may be looking at “life-long” supervision after release from confinement and or be required to register with the state as a sex offender for an extended period time, if not for life.
  • No Contact with Children: A conviction for child abuse against one child almost always results in the Court prohibiting you from having contact with any child, even your own children, and prohibiting you from even being in places where children are known to congregate (e.g., schools, parks, sports fields, malls, etc.).

But wait…there’s no proof!

The law generally requires that there must be evidence of a crime above and beyond the mere accusation.  The single exception to this rule in Washington is for any crimes charged under RCW 9A.44, which reads: “In order to convict a person of any [sex abuse] crime defined in this chapter it shall not be necessary that the testimony of the alleged victim be corroborated.” Essentially, this means that nothing more than the mere accusation is needed to convict a person, which is why child abuse cases are notoriously difficult to defend and are deserving of the most aggressive legal defense.

Time is of the essence

Because child abuse cases necessarily involve an allegation from a child, time is of the essence in preparing the most appropriate legal defense and response.  With these types of cases, the sooner you can start forming a defense, the more of an edge you have in a favorable outcome.  These cases are like shifting sands when it comes to the accusation and testimony of a child.  Early action often proves to be the difference maker.

Call now for a Consultation

Over the last twenty-five years, the attorneys at Spencer & Sundstrom have built a solid reputation for aggressive, results-oriented defense representation in all types of child abuse cases. You have our promise to handle your case with discretion and respect at all times and, most importantly, you can count on us to build the strongest possible defense on your behalf. We diligently pursue every available option in an effort to preserve your rights, your freedom and your good name.

Contact our office today to talk to one of our attorneys about your case. We will give you an honest assessment of your case and help you understand your legal options. You can reach us by phone at 360-356-1710 or schedule a consultation through our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would a child lie?

Not all children lie, but not all children tell the truth. Over twenty-five years of defending clients in child abuse cases have yielded some interesting lessons in dealing with an allegation of child abuse:

  • The competency of a witness or “victim” is dependent on the ability of the witness to accurately perceive, recall and relate events. Children are not always very good at interpreting events, remembering them accurately or reporting them.
  • False child abuse allegations often do not originate in the mind of the child; they are often planted in the mind of a child by an adult who may be motivated by an acrimonious divorce or child custody dispute.
  • The younger a child, the more easily the child can be manipulated into lying or stretching the truth.
  • False child abuse allegations are sometimes brought by an “adult” child or teenager who see the allegation as the best opportunity to change their personal circumstances.
  • Child abuse has occurred, but the child is mistaken as to the identity of the perpetrator.

Is spanking my child “child abuse?”

It can be.  The law affords the right to parents to exercise corporal punishment within their home, provided that corporal punishment is “reasonable.”  Specifically, RCW 9A.16.100 provides that the physical discipline of a child is not unlawful when it is reasonable and moderate and is inflicted by a parent, teacher, or guardian for purposes of restraining or correcting the child. That being said, certain types of physical punishment are expressly prohibited under that law and will invite serious criminal charges.  These include: (1) Throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child; (2) striking a child with a closed fist; (3) shaking a child under age three; (4) interfering with a child’s breathing; (5) threatening a child with a deadly weapon; or (6) doing any other act that is likely to cause and which does cause bodily harm greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks.

Can the police talk to my child without my consent?

Yes.  Washington law permits contact with a minor child without knowledge or consent of the child’s parent when investigating allegations of child abuse.

I have only been contacted by CPS, does this mean that I will not be charged with a crime?

No. The vast majority of child abuse charges originate under “mandatory reporting” by a teacher, counselor, day care provider or third party who observes an injury to a child. These initial reports are most frequently channeled through Child Protective Services, who in turn will coordinate with law enforcement.  CPS officials are most concerned with ensuring that the immediate safety of the child is secured, while law enforcement conducts further investigation.  Ensuring the safety of the child usually involves restraining orders and out of home placement for the child.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search