Virginia Beach Sex Crimes Lawyer
An accusation of a sex crime can be enough to ruin your career, relationships, and reputation. If you are convicted, you may go to jail, and the designation of sex offender may stay with you for the rest of your life. There are a variety of different behaviors that have been defined as prohibited sex crimes under both federal and state law in Virginia. If you are accused of violating any laws related to sexual acts, you should consider contacting a Virginia Beach sex crimes lawyer for help as soon as possible.
Sex Crimes Laws in Virginia Beach
Virginia has criminalized any type of forced or coerced sexual behavior, as well as any type of sexual behavior with a minor or someone who is unable to consent due to incapacity. The dissemination of certain types of obscene material can also result in a sex crimes charge, as can possessing or selling any type of child pornography.
Title 18.2, Chapter 4 of the Virginia Code sets forth criminal acts in the state, including sex crimes. Some of the offenses that are illegal under this body of law are:
- Rape (Code Section 18.2-61)
- Child Pornography
- Statutory Rape
- Sex with a minor between the ages of 13 and 15 without using force (Code Section 18.2-63)
- Forcible sodomy (Code Section 18.2-67.1)
- Sexual penetration of a minor with an object, or sexual penetration with an object against someone’s will (Code Section 18.2-67.2)
- Aggravated sexual battery (Code Section 18.2-67.4)
- Sexual abuse of a child under the age of 15 (Code Section 18.2-67.4:1)
- Attempting to rape, forcibly sodomize, or penetrate someone with an object (Code Section 18.2-67.5)
Penalties vary, depending upon whether force was used, the sexual acts that took place, and the age of the victim. For example, rape is considered one of the most serious offenses and carries a minimum prison term of at least five years and a maximum term of life in prison. Engaging in sexual acts with or having sex with minors between ages 13 and 15 could result in class 4 felony charges. However, if there was consent, and the minor was less than three years younger than the accused, the crime is a class 4 misdemeanor.
A Virginia Beach sex crimes lawyer can help you to determine what specific penalties you face based on what you are charged with. You should also be aware that some sex crimes are also federal crimes and that federal penalties are usually much harsher than the consequences imposed by state laws.
Sexual battery is an unwanted touching of a person, either their genitals or unwanted touching of a sexual nature.
A sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor so it’s punishable by up to 12 months in jail. There is no mandatory jail sentence but, often, a person is looking at a possible jail sentence if they are convicted.
If the victim is under 13 years of age, or if the person uses a weapon to accomplish sexual battery, or this is done via force or threat, then a person can be convicted of aggravated sexual battery which is a felony.
The age of the victim is a major factor in sexual battery cases. If the victim is 13 years or younger, it can be considered a felony depending on the nature of the touching, how long it lasted, and where it took place.
Sexually battery charges are treated very seriously in court. Any sex-related crime is not taken lightly and will lead to serious and long consequences.
Building a Defense
One of the first things a Virginia Beach sex crimes lawyer will do is try to talk to the client and get his or her side of the story. The attorney wants to see if they can establish an alibi as to whether or not the client was or was not at the scene at the time.
Depending on the case, an experienced attorney will also try to, if they are alleging this was non-consensual, establish that it was consensual and to see if there is anything that would indicate that these two had an existing relationship.
Building a defense very specific to the crime because each sex offense is a little different and the sex crimes attorney has to tailor the defense based on the facts. However, an attorney will try to see what the Commonwealth can establish.
The lawyer will look at the evidence, if there is any physical evidence that has to be collected. The lawyer wants to try to see if it was collected properly. Analyzing the evidence and using it to an advantage is the next step an experienced lawyer will take in coming up with a defense.
Hiring a Virginia Beach Sex Crimes Lawyer
After your arrest for a sex crime, you have the opportunity to plead guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. Your Virginia Beach sex crimes attorney can advise you on which of these options may make sense in your case and can explain the pros and cons of each option.
At your arraignment for your criminal charges, a sex crimes lawyer in Virginia Beach can also make an argument to the judge that you should be released on bail so you do not have to stay incarcerated pending trial.
Depending upon the nature of your charges and the evidence against you, your attorney can work to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor or can help you to prepare for a court trial. In some cases, you may be able to limit penalties or reduce the charges by plea bargaining. This could help to keep you off the sex offenders registry.
If you decide to take your case to court, you can avoid conviction by introducing reasonable doubt about your guilt, since the prosecutor must prove that you committed the sex crime. You can also raise defenses. The available defenses will depend upon the crime you have been charged with. For example, consent is not a defense if you have been accused of sexual acts with a child, but it is a defense to rape. A Virginia Beach sex crimes lawyer can assist in presenting evidence to the court to try for a not-guilty verdict. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner they can begin building your case.