SEX CRIMES IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
What could be worse than being charged with a Sex Crime? Society has such a strong aversion to persons who commit these type of crimes…one would just wince at the thought of the perpetrators acts and the types of victim(s) involved. It is nearly impossible to avoid an uneasy gut reaction when hearing that a person used force, threat or intimidation to harm another in a non-consensual sexual manner. And what about cases where the alleged criminal harmed a person who is a member of a class who could not protect himself or herself which is just as bad. And let us not forget the consensual acts which are prohibited due to social and moral grounds. There is no doubt that it is extremely difficult to digest the abhorrent behaviors of those who are guilty of such crimes. That is why a person charged with such a serious crime needs to hire an attorney with years of experience. Someone who can review the elements and possible defenses to the crime, maneuver through the evidence, and present the best defense applicable to the case. Someone who will do her best to overcome the unfair presumption that you are guilty simply because of the type of crime for which you were charged. You deserve a fair trial and a just judicial process. Let the Law Offices of Sheryl Shane help achieve a dismissal or to obtain the best deal possible!
SEX CRIMES can be categorized as:
- Criminally Assaultive
- Crimes against Children
- A mixture of some or all numbers #1-4.
CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT crimes involving rape, carnal knowledge, and other sexual crimes.
- Rape – Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-61
- Carnal Knowledge of a Child - Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-63
- Forcible Sodomy - Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-67.1
- Object Sexual Penetration - Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-67.1
- Sexual Battery and Aggravated Sexual Battery - Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-67.3 and § 18.2-67.4
Rape is a felonious sexual assault crime and if convicted you will not only be severely punished by the justice system, but you will also find it very difficult to move forward with your life even after you pay for your past act(s). That is even if you did in fact commit the act(s) for which you were charged. You need a lawyer who will study the fact pattern, research the newest laws, and make certain you are afforded your Constitutional protections. Hire a lawyer who will advise you from the beginning until the process ends – someone who will explain what it means to register as a Sex Offender and all the other consequence upon being convicted of this crime.
What is Rape?
Rape can involve different classes of persons and be accomplished by different methods. Based on the varying factors of each case, the prosecution will review the facts of the case and then look to the statute and determine which elements of the crime they can prove. Important factors are: What is the age of the accused? Was the victim an adult or child? Was the victim intellectually or emotionally challenged? Was there consent? A child under (13) years of age cannot consent to have sexual intercourse with an adult. Is there any corroborating evidence in addition to statements made by an alleged victim? Has DNA evidence been gathered? Do any videos or photographs exist? These are all considerations when deciding if and how to charge an alleged Rapist.
Generally, in a basic rape case, the prosecution must show that there was sexual intercourse or that the defendant caused intercourse, the act was done without consent and against the person’s will, and that threat, intimidation or force was used to carry out the act.
The Commonwealth also looks to complaining witness's mental incapacity or physical helplessness when rape is alleged to have occurred.
Rape is also found to exist when an adult has sexual intercourse with a child under the age of (13) thirteen without the use of threat, intimidation, or force. These cases will usually differ procedurally and provide more protections for alleged victim.
If a Judge or Jury finds a defendant guilty of the crime, the sentence will lie between (5) years and life imprisonment.
Carnal Knowledge of a Child
Hire an attorney as soon as possible when charged with Carnal Knowledge of a Child. The first piece of good advise from your attorney should be to keep silent when questioned by police or deputies. Do not tell other jailmates the reason for your arrest. Do not talk over the phone at the police station nor from the jails. Understand that many people once arrested talk without thinking and provide inaccurate information when you are full of fear and your mind is racing. Don’t let the police build a case against you based solely on a child’s statement. Just because a claim has been made against you – the burden placed upon the prosecution is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
Carnal Knowledge of a Child is:
When an adult without the use of force engages in sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, anilingus, anal intercourse or object sexual penetration with a child who is (13) thirteen years of age or older but younger than (15) fifteen. A guilty finding will result in a Class (4) four Felony conviction with a punishment of not less than (2) years nor more than (10) years incarceration and up to a ($100,000) fine.
When carnal knowledge takes place and the accused is under (18) eighteen years old and the younger of the two is (3) three or more years younger, the elder of the two may be convicted of a Felony (6). The punishment being no more than (5) years and a fine no more than a ($2,500.00) fine. Minors under the age can be charged with felonies. Some minors may be certified and tried as adults for certain crimes.
When two minors are involved in such sexual acts and there is a less than (3) year age difference between the minors, the older child may be found guilty of a class (4) misdemeanor.
Forcible sodomy is a crime of violence. The Accused in these cases are treated with just as much contempt as persons charged with rape. You need a lawyer who checks for evidence which is absent or should be thrown out if obtained in an unlawful manner. The Courts tend to treat those convicted of this crime very harshly. Whether you have a Judge who is known as conservative or liberal – find an attorney who can help you mitigate damages if you are unable to beat the charge(s).
Defining Forcible Sodomy:
It is against the law for a party to engage in fellatio, cunnilingus, anilingus, or anal intercourse if the act is done by 1) against the victim’s will and with the use of threat, intimidation, or force, 2) mental incapacity or physical helplessness, or 3) if the complainant is under (13) thirteen years old. The unlawfulness these acts apply to married and unmarried couples. To be found guilty of this crime, there must be some type of penetration and mere touching is not enough.
Persons found guilty of sodomy are generally sentenced to many years in prison not only for purpose of punishments but also to keep the public safe. A person convicted of such a crime can expect between (5) five years and a life of imprisonment.
Object Sexual Penetration
Object Sexual Penetration can involve persons or persons with animals. It includes both animate and inanimate objects.
The statute states:
It is unlawful for a person to penetrate certain anatomical parts of another or to cause a person to penetrate oneself or to cause another person or animal to penetrate a different person if: 1. The person is under (13) thirteen years of age, or (2) threat, intimidation or force is used, or 3. through the use of the victim’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness. One defense to the crime is that there was a bona fide medical purpose to commit the act. Claiming the other party was a spouse is no defense.
The punishment for Object Sexual Penetration runs from not less than (5) years up to life in prison. When the victim of the crime is a child under (13) years of age and was committed in conjunction with abduction, burglary, or aggravated malicious wounding, there is a mandatory minimum of (25) twenty-five years of incarceration when committed by someone (3) three years older than the child victim. The mandatory minimum is greater when the perpetrator is indicted as an adult whereas the punishment will be life.
When married couples are involved and one of the parties is charged with such act, the violating party may receive a deferred finding if therapy is completed and it would best for the family. If the Defense Attorney is diligent and all things move along smoothly, the Court may discharge the defendant and dismiss the charges.
Sexual Battery versus Aggravated Sexual Battery
Sexual Battery has occurred when the accused sexually abused another against the other’s will and the act was done by threat, intimidation or force. Sexual abuse occurs when there is an unlawful touching such as touching the victim’s parts or material covering those parts withthe intent to sexually molest, gratify, or arouse. Sexual battery is a Class (1) misdemeanor. This means you can only be sentenced for up to (12) months and a fine.
Aggravated battery is a Sexually Battery with additional factors.
- Threat, Intimidation, or Force, or
- Mental Incapacity or Physical Helplessness, or
- The victim was under (13) at the time of the act.
An aggravated battery is a much more serious battery and a conviction will be Felony with not less than (1) one nor more than (20) years and a fine of up to $100,00.00