Virginia Statutory Rape Lawyer
While the penalties may not be as severe with statutory rape as with other rape cases, it is still a serious charge. Depending on the nature of the crime, it could be charged as a Class 4 Felony, which comes with incarceration of no less than two years and up to ten years, and a possible $100,000 fine. There are some exemptions under Virginia law, including Romeo and Juliet laws, for individuals who are both under the age of 18 and older than 15. However, it is important to remember that all sex crimes are taken incredibly seriously, and thus are prosecuted extremely harshly. Therefore, it is imperative that anyone charged with statutory rape contact an experienced Virginia rape attorney as soon as possible to try and mitigate the consequences.
What Constitutes Statutory Rape
Statutory rape in Virginia is a term that refers to a sexual act that otherwise involves the act of consent.
There are two statutory rape crimes. First is the carnal knowledge of the child is between 13 or 15. The Class 4 felony is punishable by two to 10 years, depending on the crime commission, and up to a $100,000 fine. This is essential that the case involves someone who is 18 years of age or older and a 13, 14, or 15 year old is involved. The second crime consists of a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is still a serious charge.
The laws are a little bit different when the person is under the age of 18, and they may be prosecuted for rape. For someone who is 15 to 17, there are still some issues. If you are 15 to 17 in Virginia and the other person is also 15 to 17, you may have some protection under the Virginia law versus even if you are 16 and the person is 15.
Romeo and Juliet Laws in Virginia
Romeo and Juliet laws are laws that provide an exemption for minors that are both under the age of 18 or both right around the age of consent, but one of them is slightly older than the other. Virginia does recognize a limited exception for persons that are under the age of 18, but older than 15. It is usually between 15 and 17 years where you have a gray area in Virginia and you have an exemption that would typically fall under what it is commonly termed as Romeo and Juliet laws.
The prosecution of statutory rape cases is typically vigorous. It often depends on the nature of the offense, the complaining witness, and other incidental information. However, in general, a sex crime involving a minor is certainly going to be prosecuted very vigorously.
How Statutory Rape Differs From Other Rape Charges
Some of the types of defenses, like presence of consent, are present in all types of rape cases. Certainly, depending on the nature of the victim, there are certain cases where consent is impossible. This is in cases of an extremely young victim or incapacitated victims.
There are different penalties for statutory rape than for rape generally. Statutory rape penalties tend to not be as serious as rape charges, and someone charged with rape would be facing a different set of penalties, such as the potential of life imprisonment and the mandatory minimum period of incarceration rape charges would bring about. Exactly how the alleged statutory rape was charged would dictate what the penalties will be.
What to Look for in a Virginia Statutory Rape Attorney
The qualities that you want to look for in an attorney who handles these types of cases are experience in similar cases in the past, if they have a good relationship with local law enforcement, local probation officers, and the local judge, and that they understand the unique aspects of your case. You also want to now if they are willing to work in your local jurisdiction and are ready, willing and able to dedicate the time required to pursue a vigorous defense.