Prosecution of Sex Crime Cases in Virginia
Sex crime cases are prosecuted very aggressively in Virginia as they are throughout the United States. Sex crimes are viewed as one of the most heinous categories of offenses within the criminal justice system, so prosecutors complete special training in this area to ensure that they are fulfilling their duty. This duty is to stand up for the rights of those who have been victimized within their community. This attitude along with the fact that majority of sex crimes in Virginia are charged as felonies makes it imperative that an experienced Virginia sex crimes lawyer is contacted immediately after someone is charged. An experienced attorney can help both by being familiar with the prosecutors who try these cases and by using the evidence of the specific case to build a defense. To learn more call and schedule a consultation today.
Evidence Presented in Sex Crimes Cases
These types of cases will present the same types of evidence that are typically seen in any criminal prosecution. This may include high-tech forensic evidence, custodial evidence, video evidence, and witness testimony. The use of witness testimony is not unique in sex crime cases, but there are some unique aspects, such as the “rape shield” law, that exist in Virginia and many other jurisdictions. The “Rape Shield Law” is a generic term for witness protection laws that prevent prior sexual conduct from being used in the case against the complaining witness. This is something to be discussed with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.
Sex Crimes in Court
In addition to prosecutors, judges also typically treat these cases very harshly, since judges and prosecutors, like defense attorneys, have a duty to the citizenry to keep them safe. Therefore, they must take the facts and circumstances of the offense into account, as well as the facts and circumstances of the individual’s background and their character to come up with an appropriate sentence. If the Judge tries the case, then he or she has the duty to apply the facts of the case to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Judges take this duty very seriously and do a diligent job of dispensing justice.
Judge or a Jury Trial
The decision of the Judge as to a bench trial or a jury trial will be discussed at length before a decision is made. In Virginia, if either the prosecution, defense, or the Judge asks for a jury trial, then a jury trial will occur. It is important to understand how your right to these trials works in favor of, or against, your case.
Sex crime cases will have the same sorts of constitutional issues as any other criminal offense cases, with an emphasis on confrontation and hearsay issues, as well as issues regarding suppression of improperly discovered evidence, chain of custody regarding physical evidence, and other forensic types of examinations.
Although Virginia has some guidelines which attempt to equalize punishments for certain offenses throughout the state, it is very common for prosecutors to seek creative and aggressive ways to enforce harsh penalties, such as prison, probation, heavy fines and registration requirements in sex crimes cases.