Leesburg Sex Crimes Lawyer
Virginia law criminalizes many sexual behaviors, notably those deemed unacceptable by the majority of our citizenry or those behaviors that are deemed to victimize certain portions of the population. You could face serious charges and time in prison for such offenses as possessing certain kinds of pornography or engaging in sexual acts with someone who is under age. You need to understand how Virginia codifies sexual crimes and if you are accused of violating the law, you need to talk to a Leesburg sex crimes lawyer for help creating the strongest possible defense. In many cases, there are several different statutes that the prosecutor can go forward with, so it pays to have an attorney who knows all the possibilities.
Sex Crimes in Leesburg, Virginia
The Code of Virginia Title 18.2 Chapter 4 provides information on the sexual acts that are illegal in Leesburg. Criminal offenses that warrant contact with a Leesburg sex crimes lawyer include:
- Under Virginia Code Section 18.2-61, it is a felony offense to use violence, coercion, or threats to force someone to engage in sex acts with you or a third party.
- Taking indecent liberties with children. Under Virginia Code Section 18.2-370, it is a Class 5 felony to expose your genitals to someone under 15 or to ask a child to expose his or her own genitals. With repeat offenses, if the child is a relative, or if money changes hands, this offense may be a Class 4 felony. There are many other specific behaviors that are also forbidden under these statutes.
- Carnal knowledge of a minor. Under Virginia Code Section 18.2-63, it is a Class 4 felony for an adult to engage in sexual acts with a minor age 13-15 without using force.
Other prohibited behaviors can include forcible sodomy under Code Section 18.2-67.1, and aggravated sexual battery under Virginia Code Section 18.2-67.4. Both state and federal law also prohibit the possession or production of child pornography; luring or enticing children to engage in sexual behaviors; statutory rape; and a variety of other offenses involving either sex without consent or sex with people who are underage.
Penalties for Sex Crimes in Leesburg, VA
Penalties for sex crimes vary depending upon the specific offense with which you are charged. For example, a person accused of rape faces up to life in prison. A person who is guilty of a Class 4 felony sex offense faces between two and 10 years of incarceration under Virginia Code Section 18.2-10.
For many offenses, required registration as a sex offender is also part of your sentence if convicted. The Virginia State Police have a comprehensive list of the offenses that will necessitate registration. These offenses include:
- Carnal knowledge of a minor between the ages of 13 and 14 if you are more than five years older
- Forcible sodomy
- Sexual penetration with an object
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Sexual Contact with a victim under the age of 13
- Attempted rape, or attempted forcible sodomy
- Attempted forced sexual penetration with an object
- Attempted sexual battery
- Taking indecent liberties with minors
- Financing, producing, or distributing child pornography
- Sex trafficking
If you are required to register as an offender, you must provide your name, address, a physical description, a photograph, your employment information, and other required information to a law enforcement officer. You must provide updates when you move, and your employer and neighbors could be notified of your sex offender status. You may have to register for life.
How a Leesburg Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Help
Many people are accused of a sex crime because of a mistaken identity, or because someone is acting maliciously in a breakup or divorce. You can raise questions about whether you actually committed the sex offense in order to avoid conviction. A prosecutor has the legal burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court, and you do not even have to speak or present any evidence. A Leesburg sex crimes lawyer can help you to question witnesses, present evidence, and investigate allegations against you to illuminate your side of the case and defend your interests.
You can also raise affirmative defenses depending upon the offense. For example, consent is a defense to the rape of an adult. Likewise, evidence against you may have been obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, and your counsel may be able to suppress such evidence.
In some cases, you may wish to avoid a trial. A Leesburg sex crimes lawyer can try to negotiate a guilty plea with a prosecutor that will allow you to be convicted of a lesser offense or to receive lighter penalties if you don’t wish to go to court.
The right course of action depends upon the unique specifics of your case. Contact a Leesburg sex crimes lawyer today for help understanding the severity of your charges and to develop a comprehensive legal and mitigation strategy specific to the unique facts of your case.