Virginia Sex Crimes

Virginia Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

When someone is accused of a sex crime in Virginia, it can have a terrible effect on their professional life as well as their reputation. Navigating the court proceedings, not to mention the fear and anxiety about what might happen in the future, is something you can only trust the most experienced Virginia sex crimes lawyer to help with.

We have the experience and local know-how to put a plan in place for you today that will set you on the path to the best outcome possible in your case. Just because you have been accused of a crime does not mean you will be found guilty of one.

Virginia Rape Offenses

There are a number of acts that are considered “Rape” under Virginia Law (§18.2-61). What they have in common is that the “sexual act” occurs as the result of force, the threat of force, or where someone cannot legally consent because of their age, intoxication, or mental disability.

Penalties for rape include a prison sentence of at least five years all the way up to life in prison, as well as lengthy probationary periods and registering as a sex offender. In some cases where there is a significant age difference, “Mandatory Minimum” sentences will require the judge or jury to impose minimum amounts of time a person will have to spend in prison.

Other Serious Sex Crimes Felonies

In addition to rape, Virginia law makes it a felony to commit numerous other acts including:

  • Indecent Liberties, §18.2-370, where an adult exposes himself to someone under 15, or proposes they expose himself, or proposes a sexual act, or proposes a sexual touching. This is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
  • Object sexual penetration, §18.2-67.2, where a complaining witness is penetrated sexually by an object and they are either under 13 years old or it occurs using the force or threat of force. This is punishable by five years to life.
  • Aggravated Sexual Battery, §18.2-67.3, involves someone being “sexually abused” where, among other things, they are less than 13 years old, or mentally disabled, or between 13 and 17 and the Defendant is a parent or grandparent.
  • Abduction with intent to defile, §18.2-48, where a person is abducted (kidnapped) with the intention of defiling (sexually molesting) them. This is punishable by 20 years to life in prison.

Sex Crimes Involving Minors

Virginia Law criminalizes some consensual sexual activity involving persons who are not yet 18 years old. The same act is treated very differently under the law depending on the age of the Defendant and the age of the victim.

The least serious charge, carnal knowledge of a child between 13 and 15, is a Class 4 Misdemeanor punishable by only a $250 fine (§18.2-63(B). This is where the consensual sex act occurs between one participant who is at least 13 years old but not yet 15, and the other participant is less than 3 years older, sometimes referred to as Statutory Rape).

The most serious charge, also called carnal knowledge of a child between 13 and 15, is Class 4 Felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison (§18.2-63(A). This is where an adult has sex with someone at least 13 years old but not yet 15.

If both parties to the act are minors, but the age difference is greater than 3 years, it is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Child Pornography

In Virginia, it is illegal to possess, distribute, or create Child Pornography (Virginia Code §18.2-374.1:1). This is true for both adults and minors. In many cases, someone who has downloaded illegal material is unwittingly reuploading it to others through a bit torrent service or on the dark web. They may then find themselves charged with multiple counts of distribution. Possession is punishable by up to five years in prison, while distribution is punishable by 5 to 20 years. Challenges to the prosecution’s case using the Defendant’s own computer forensic experts as well as mental health experts can be crucial and require an experienced defense counsel.

A common, yet unexpected form of child pornography these days comes in the form of a juvenile taking, possessing, or sending a nude picture of themselves or a significant other via an application on their phone or another Internet medium. This form of “sexting” is still considered possession, distribution, or creation of child pornography in Virginia, and carries the same penalties as with an adult.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Contacted by Police About a Sex Crime?

Involve a lawyer immediately. While Police often approach with a friendly attitude and “just want to get your side of things,” the purpose of an interview is to build a case against you 100% of the time. No one has ever talked their way out of charges of this nature. By the time law enforcement asks you to talk to them, they have already conducted their investigation and, in most cases, know what they plan to charge you with. They are simply trying to get you to say something incriminating. Under such circumstances, even slightly inconsistent statements made by an innocent person can be used against them later in the legal process. You have an absolute right to remain silent and to ask to speak to a lawyer.

Defending the Case

After consulting with you about your case, we will immediately begin constructing your defense. This will include getting “discovery” from the prosecutor (police reports, video, audio, witness statements, forensic analysis, medical reports), looking for gaps in their evidence (for example, inconsistent statements by the alleged victim, motives they might have to lie, etc.), instances where your rights may have been violated (for example incriminating statements made where you should have been advised of your Miranda rights, but weren’t), and in many cases bringing in expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.

Begin getting some peace of mind today by contacting us for a free consultation.