Sex offenses are treated very seriously in the state of Virginia and convicted sex offenders typically receive harsh penalties including long jail terms. Sex offenses also have life-long consequences, including registering on the sex offender registry and publication of their name, picture and address online.
To avoid or minimize these serious consequences, it is essential to contact a Virginia criminal lawyer who specializes in sex offenses as soon as you are accused of a sex crime.
What are the different types of sex offenses in Virginia?
A variety of behaviors are considered sex offenses in the state of Virginia. These include:
Rape: Rape is defined as having sexual intercourse with a person without his or her consent. Rape is a felony in Virginia.
Sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery: Sexual battery refers to sexual abuse in which force, threats or intimidation are used. Sexual battery is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Indecent liberties: Indecent liberties involve a broad range of activities involving soliciting minors for sexual behavior or exposing minors to sexual behavior. Exposing one’s genitals to a minor, proposing that the minor feel or fondle the genitals or suggesting sex acts to minors are examples of indecent liberties. A charge of indecent liberties is a felony charge.
Carnal knowledge: Carnal knowledge refers to an adult engaging in sexual behavior with a minor between the ages of 13 and 15 without using force. Carnal knowledge is either a felony or a misdemeanor charge depending on the child’s age and the age difference between the accused and the child.
Sexual abuse of a child: Sexual abuse refers to sexual acts with children. Sexual abuse of a child is a felony.
Object sexual penetration: Object sexual penetration occurs when the accused penetrates the alleged victim with an object or causes such penetration to occur. Object sexual penetration is a felony.
What are the defenses to sex crimes in Virginia?
A Virginia criminal lawyer may use a number of potential defenses to assist those accused of Virginia sex crimes. While the defenses will vary depending on the nature of the charges, options include:
Consent: For most sex crimes, except those with minors, the accused may argue that the victim consented to the sexual acts.
Age: If an accused met an under-aged child in an adult setting such as a bar where the teen used a fake I.D., the accused may prove that he had no reason to believe the child was under-aged.
False memory: Research has indicated that both adults and children may remember things that never occurred. An accused sex offender can use this defense to establish that the alleged crime never happened.
In addition to these defenses, an experienced Virginia criminal attorney who specializes in sex crimes may be able to have evidence suppressed in the event that a defendant’s constitutional rights were violated in the course of the investigation.
Retain a Virginia criminal defense attorney who specializes in sex crimes
Finally, it is important to remember that the prosecutor has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A Virginia sex crimes lawyer may be able to have charges dropped or a case dismissed as a result of lack of sufficient evidence, or help the accused obtain a verdict of innocent by introducing reasonable doubt into the prosecutor’s case.
Defending against a sex-crimes charge requires extensive investigation and the knowledge of an expert. Contact our experienced Virginia criminal law attorneys today for help with your defense by calling 703-492-4200 or email us using our sex crimes lawyer contact us form.