Virginia Rape Lawyer
In Virginia, rape is considered one of the most serious crimes someone could commit against another person. It comes with very serious consequences as well, regardless of whether someone was acquitted or convicted. Not only will it result in lengthy prison sentences if there is a conviction, but it will also affect current and future employment, housing, and general acceptance within the community. Depending on the nature of the crime, someone convicted may also have to register as a sex offender as well, which then puts further restrictions on them. If you or someone you know has been charged with rape, contact an experienced Virginia sex crimes attorney as soon as possible for representation in the case.
What Constitutes Rape in Virginia
Rape is found at Virginia Code Section 18.2-61 and is generally defined as any person who had sexual intercourse—whether or not it is his spouse—or causes the person to engage in sexual intercourse and the act is accomplished against the person’s will by force, threat, intimidation, or against the complaining witness and another person through the use of incapacity, or a person that’s under 13.
It is a variety of different conditions and 18.2-61 is a very detailed section that refers to a lot of other code sections within the various types of ways that the section may be met. There is a subsection A, subsection B, all sorts of aggravating factors, and mitigating factors. All may be considered when someone is allegedly accused of rape within Virginia.
Different Ways Rape Can Be Charged
There are a variety of different rape statutes in the Virginia. The most common is 18.2-61, and it refers to an act of force—direct or intimidation—regardless of whether it is spouse related, as a spouse certainly is this code section as well. Every time, they examine somebody’s incapacity, and if there was a taking over of someone’s ability to identify their age.
There are also issues with potential statutory rape, since sexual intercourse by persons whose age is varied by a certain degree, as well as carnal knowledge. Carnal knowledge is defined by 18.2-63, and carnal knowledge of minors is found in Section 18.2-64.1. Other serious similar types of crimes against the person are found in article four, article five, and article seven regarding criminal sexual assaults.
Penalties and Aggravating Factors
There are a variety of penalties for rape and many factors that may aggravate the case. The maximum penalty for a rape conviction in Virginia is a life sentence and in addition to actual sentence to serve, the judge may impose a suspended sentence of no less than 40 years.
A rape case generally runs a gamut of all possible evidentiary issues. There is going to be scientific evidence, physical evidence, eyewitness testimony from a complaining witness, and potential eyewitness testimony from other witnesses, as well as admissions by parties involved including the accused. But often, rape cases are going to turn on the presence of physical evidence whether it is fingerprints, DNA, hair samples, sweat samples, or blood samples. All sorts of things make it a very science-heavy type of prosecution.
In addition, you are going to turn to the credibility of the complaining witness, credibility of the accused, and credibility of anyone taking the stand in support of either version of the event. The typical hearsay objections are always important in criminal defense trials, but certainly they are very important in rape cases as this reputation evidence or great find to have evidence that may be especially horrible to the criminal of defendant in one of these cases. Rape cases are often elongated trials that include extra witnesses and there is the need for significant resources to be put into the investigation in preparation for one of these trials.
Differences Between Rape and Other Sex Crimes Cases
Rape cases in Virginia typically involve an act with some violent element to it, whereas other sex crimes cases may involve no physical act at all, such as child pornography cases, others may be associated with a violent act, such as in a sexual battery rape and an aggravated sexual battery case.
This violent act is almost always sexual in nature and it is going to typically have both a sexual component and a violence component to it to rise to the level of rape.
Importance of Contacting an Experienced Rape Attorney
These are very serious charges that require a lot of information to secure a conviction. It also requires a lot of potential analysis to make a detailed defense. Often times, the complaining witness in a Virginia rape case is going to be compromised in certain ways, but there are certain laws to protect their memory and protect the ability to “attack” in in one of these cases. They are very complex, and they are highly governed by case law as well as the very specific statutory requirements. It is a very detailed area that should not be tread upon lightly.