Virginia Sex Crimes Lawyer
Being arrested and accused of a sex crime can be frightening and humiliating. Conviction of a sex crime offense in Virginia, and many other jurisdictions, can result in incarceration and fines as well as extremely negative impacts on your ability to work and care for and interact with your family. Though the American legal system is built on the premise that we are all innocent until proven otherwise, those accused of sex crimes can attest to the fact that are typically deemed guilty the second they are contacted by police. There are many plausible defenses to sexual abuse and sex crime allegations, and it’s important to remember that not everyone accuse of these crimes is guilty. To better understand what options may be available to you, please refer to the following material or contact a Virginia sex crimes lawyer. En Español.
Virginia Sex Crimes Defined
In extremely general terms, Virginia law defines a sex crime as a sex act performed with someone without that person’s consent. Although most sex crimes involve actual physical contact, this does not have to occur for you to be charged or convicted of certain sex crimes. For example, indecent exposure in the vicinity of a school or day care may, in certain circumstances, be considered a sex crime even though no sexual act occurred.
Sex crimes in Virginia are typically divided into two categories: sexual offenses and violent sexual offenses. Violent sex crimes are the more serious offenses such as rape, abduction for an immoral purpose and aggravated sexual battery. These crimes carry harsh prison terms and will result in forced compliance with the Virginia Sex Offender Registry. Sexual offenses are those that may not involve physical violence such as unlawful photography or taking indecent liberties with a child or child pornography, but these may still result in mandatory listing on the registry. Therefore, because sex crimes are prosecuted so harshly and have multiple categories in which a person can be charged, knowing what to expect from Virginia sex crimes charges is very important.
Sex Crimes Legal Definitions
The following are the broad definitions of sex crimes in Virginia with general penalties. In the state of Virginia, sex crimes are covered under Title 18.2 (Crimes and Offenses Generally), Chapter 4 (Crimes Against the Person), generally in Section 18.2-61 through Section 18.2-67.10. Certain mandatory penalties, such as having to comply with the Sex Offender Registry, apply when one is convicted of certain offenses, such has rape, forcible sodomy and object penetration.
Types of Sex Crimes
- Rape — Requires that the individual have sexual vaginal intercourse with the victim or cause someone to have forceful sexual vaginal intercourse. Penalty is a felony conviction and up to life imprisonment.
- Forcible Sodomy — Similar to rape (above). Penalty is a felony conviction and five years to life in prison.
- Object Animate or Inanimate Sexual Penetration — Similar to rape and forcible sodomy (above) except using an animate or inanimate object. Penalty is a felony conviction and five years to life imprisonment.
- Carnal Knowledge of a Child Between Ages 13 and 15 (with or without force, with or without victim consent) — This includes sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, anilingus, anal intercourse, and animate/inanimate object sexual penetration. Penalties vary from a Class 4 felony to a Class 6 felony, one to 10 years in prison, and up to a $100,000 fine.
- Carnal Knowledge of Certain Minors — This includes various sexual acts, such as intercourse and fellatio, and pertains to perpetrators who work in a facility that provides service to juveniles who are at least 15 years old. Penalty for conviction is a Class 6 felony, as much as five years in prison or, under the court’s discretion, up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500. This also includes any individual who works in a correctional facility and who has sex with an inmate.
- Aggravated Sexual Battery — This applies to a person who sexually abuses another person who may be a parent, grandparent, step-parent and where the perpetrator uses force, threatens to use force or intimidation, and causes serious bodily or mental injury, or uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon. Penalties include a felony conviction, up to 20 years in prison, and up to $100,000 in fines.
- Sexual Battery. This applies to a person who sexually abuses another through ruse, force, intimidation, or threat of force. It includes if the person has authority over another person, such as a parolee or probationer. Penalties are up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
- Infected Sexual Battery. This is when a person who knows s/he has AIDS, HIV, hepatitis B, or syphilis engages in various sexual acts and intentionally transmits the infectious disease to another. The penalties are: a Class 6 felony conviction, up to five years in prison or, at the discretion of the court, up to one year in jail and a fine up to 2,500. Includes individuals who perform acts without first informing the other of the condition.
- Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 15 Years of Age. Pertains to a person who with overt sexual intent sexually abuses a child between 13 and 15 years old. Penalties are: a Class 1 misdemeanor, up to five years in prison or, at the discretion of the court, up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.
- Crimes Against Nature. Pertains to someone who has carnal knowledge of or performs a sex act with an animal. Penalties are: a Class 6 felony, up to five years in prison or, at the discretion of the court, up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. Also includes a person who engages in various sexual acts with a relative, for example a son, grandson, daughter, or granddaughter. This could result in Class 5 felony conviction, up to 10 years in prison, and up to $2,500 in fines; penalties are substantially higher if the activity is with a child between 13 and 18.
- Adultery and Fornication By People Forbidden to Marry. This can result in a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of $2,500. If the act is with one’s child or grandchild, the penalties are greater. They are greater still if the victim is between 13 and 18.
- Taking Indecent Liberties with a Child. This involves exposing of genitals or sexual parts to a child; proposing a child do so; fondling or proposing fondling of same to a child; proposing sexual intercourse or other sexual act to a child; and enticing a child into a building, vehicle, etc., for the purpose of committing these acts. Penalties are felony conviction, up to 10 years in prison and potential fines. Fines increase if the individual is a grandparent, parent, or step-parent to the minor.
- Taking Indecent Liberties with a Child By Person in Supervisory Position. This involves any person over 18 who has custodial care of a child and who sexually abuses the child, proposes sex acts, or exposes him/herself to the child. Penalties are felony conviction, up to five years in prison or, at the court’s discretion, up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500. Penalties increase for repeat violations.
- Attempted Sexual Crimes. These include attempted rape, forcible sodomy, and object penetration; attempted aggravated sexual battery; and attempted sexual battery. Penalties include felony conviction, many years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
- Third Conviction of a Sexual Offense Misdemeanor. This applies to a person who has two sexual offense misdemeanor convictions and who, within a 10 year period, in convicted of a third offense. Penalty is a Class 6 felony conviction, up to five years in prison or, at the court’s discretion, up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.
- Repeated Sexual Assault and Violent Sexual Assault. This applies to a person who repeats a sexual assault or violent sexual assault after release from custody. Penalty for sexual assault is the maximum term for the most recent conviction, and life imprisonment if a violent sexual assault.
- Sex Offenses Prohibiting Proximity to Children. This involves anyone who has been convicted of a sexual offense with a child and who is found loitering within 100 feet of a school, day care, playground, etc., or is found residing within 500 feet of a school, daycare, or park that shares a boundary with school. She or he is subject to conviction of a Class 6 felony, up to five years in prison or, at the court’s discretion, up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500. Offenders are also forbidden to work or volunteer at schools or day care facilities.
Is Sexting a Sex Crime?
Depending on the nature of the sexting—what is said and what images, if any, are shown—it can be consider a sex crime. Sexting often involves people that are under the age of 18 and therefore they may be involved in the production, transmission, or distribution of child pornography, in addition to variety of other potential issue legal issues.
Penalties for Sex Crime Charges
There are a variety of different penalties you can find yourself charged with as a result of a sex crime conviction. The penalties begin from a potential extensive period of incarceration for serious felony offenses in the Department of Corrections, down to a less serious misdemeanor offense in nature with no period of incarceration and a minimal fine.
Essentially, incarceration within the Department of Corrections, local jail time, registry on some type of sex offense registry, including the Sexually Violent Predator Registry, probation, and special terms, including classes and mental health evaluations, may be required as the result of a sex crime conviction.
If you need a Virginia sex crimes defense lawyer, contact our office to have our attorney speak with you.
How a Virginia Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Help
Hiring an attorney early in the process is very important in understanding and fighting a sex offense charge. Quite often, sex crime evidence is out there to be collected and is out there to be discovered, but after people are contacted by law enforcement or the prosecutor’s officers, they may be less willing to talk and tell their side of the story.
The important thing to do is to contact an attorney early on, when evidence may be preserved. Under many circumstances, it is not in your best interest to talk to law enforcement early in the process. When you have a lawyer by your side, they can advise you on what you should and shouldn’t discuss with law enforcement.