People in Virginia face legal issues daily, most of which arise from unexpected circumstances. Facing an arrest and criminal charges for violating Virginia law can be a daunting experience for you and your family. The anticipation of your case outcome and the potential consequences of a conviction can take a toll on you and your family.

There is a wide variety of offenses for which you could be charged. Offenses in Virginia range from simple misdemeanors to severe and violent felonies. A criminal conviction can cause incarceration, fines, and sometimes probation. Even after serving your sentence, the conviction will enter your criminal record, which could affect your personal and professional lives.

If you or a loved one faces criminal charges, you will benefit from our expert legal insight at Virginia Criminal Attorney. Our skilled Loudoun defense attorneys are available to help you investigate the facts of your case and fight your charges to secure a favorable outcome.

Sex Crimes

Under Virginia law, sex crimes are offenses that involve the performance of sexual acts on a person without their consent. Minors in Virginia cannot consent to sexual acts. Therefore, any sexual act involving a child will also be considered a sex crime. Sometimes, a sexual act does not need to happen. For example, exposing your genitals in a public place, commonly known as indecent exposure, will be charged as a sex crime.

A conviction for a sex crime can have devastating effects on your life. Therefore, you must hire a reliable Loudoun criminal defense lawyer if you face charges for the following sex crimes:

Taking Indecent Liberties with a Child

Virginia Code 18.2-370.01 makes it an offense for minors between thirteen and eighteen years to expose their genitals to younger children with lustful intent. Minors can also be charged with this offense for luring the younger children to expose themselves. Whether this offense is charged against a minor or an adult, the prosecution must prove the following elements to secure a conviction:

  • The defendant was over thirteen.
  • The victim was a minor under fourteen at the time of the act.
  • The defendant was older than the victim by at least five years at the time of the crime.
  • The defendant willfully took indecent liberties with the child for sexual arousal or gratification.
  • The defendant performed a lewd act by showing their genitalia to the minor or causing the minor to expose their private parts.

A violation of VA Code 18.2-370.01 is a class 1 misdemeanor. Since this is the most severe misdemeanor, defendants over fourteen could be charged as adults for the offense. A conviction for taking indecent liberties with a minor attracts a jail sentence of up to twelve months and fines not exceeding $2,500.

Sexual Battery

Under VA Code 18.2-67.4, sexual battery is any type of sexual abuse against another person’s will through intimidation, tricks, or force. You will be charged with an offense under this statute if you forcefully touch an intimate part of another person’s body without their consent. Your charges could escalate to aggravated sexual battery if the victim of your actions is a minor aged between thirteen and fifteen at the time of the incident.

If you are charged with sexual battery, the prosecution must prove these elements to establish your liability for the offense:

  • You touched an intimate part of another person’s body. Inappropriate touching, even when it is done over the clothes, is a significant aspect of sexual battery.
  • The touching occurred against the victim's will. The prosecution must prove that the alleged victim did not consent to your touching before your conviction.
  • You used threats, force, or intimidation to engage in the act.
  • Your actions were sexually motivated.

Sexual battery is a misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500. If you are charged with aggravated sexual battery, the prosecution will file a felony charge. A felony conviction under this statute is punishable by a prison sentence of up to twenty years and a maximum of $100,000 in fines.


Under Virginia law, rape involves having sex with another person without their consent. In most cases, forced intercourse is committed by force, violence, or threats. Rape is a serious felony charged under VA Code 18.2-61.

You could face criminal charges for violating this statute if you engage  in sexual intercourse with an intoxicated or mentally incapacitated individual. Minors in California cannot consent to sexual intercourse. Therefore, engaging in the act with a child will be charged as statutory rape. Evidence of force or violence is not necessary when proving your liability for statutory rape.

A conviction for rape could result in imprisonment ranging from five years to life. If your victim is under thirteen, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty-five years. In addition to incarceration, a conviction for rape will result in mandatory sex-offender registration.

Forcible Sodomy

You could be arrested and charged with forcible sodomy under Virginia Code 18.2-67.1 for engaging in the following acts with another person against their will:

  • Oral stimulation of the penis.
  • Anal stimulation with the lips or tongue.
  • Anal intercourse.

Like rape, you can be convicted under this statute if you use force, fear, or intimidation to engage in these acts or if the victim of your act is a child. Forcible sodomy is a felony punishable by five years to life imprisonment. The court can impose a mandatory minimum sentence if the victim is under thirteen.

Indecent Exposure

Virginia Code 18.2-387 defines indecent exposure as the intentional display or exposure of a person’s genitals in a public place. Exposure to your genitalia is viewed as offensive behavior, which can land you behind bars.

You will be convicted of this offense if the prosecution can prove that you exposed your genitalia or buttocks in a public place. Additionally, you could be liable under this statute for engaging in sexual intercourse in public.

Indecent exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum jail sentence of twelve months and fines not exceeding $2,500.

Theft Crimes

Virginia law defines theft as taking property belonging to another person without their consent. Theft crimes are classified into different categories depending on the type and value of the item taken. The following are common theft crime charges you could face in Virginia:


Robbery is a common theft offense in Virginia, and it involves using force or intimidation to take property belonging to another person. Using force and violence makes the offense more severe than other theft crimes. The prosecution will obtain a conviction against you by proving these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You took property belonging to another person.
  • The property owner did not consent to you taking it.
  • You took the property or items from the victim or in their immediate presence.
  • You used force, intimidation, or violence to accomplish the crime.

Robbery is categorized into first- or second-degree. First-degree robbery occurs when you use violence or force against the victim. Second-degree robbery is accomplished through intimidation and threats. Robbery is a felony punishable by a five-year in prison.


Shoplifting is the willful concealment of property from a store to defraud the owner of the property’s full value. You can be arrested and charged with this offense for leaving a retail store without paying for goods, altering the price tags, or aiding another person to perform these acts.

Under Virginia Code 18.2-103, shoplifting is a class 1 misdemeanor when the value of the item you shoplifted is under $1,000. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to twelve months in jail. If the value of the items involved is $1,000 or more, you will face a felony charge and a maximum prison sentence of twenty years.


Virginia Code 18.2-58.1 defines carjacking as the intentional taking of a motor vehicle in the immediate presence of the possessor through force, violence, or threats. You will be found liable for carjacking if the prosecution can prove that you took a vehicle in the immediate presence of the possessor. Additionally, your intention to deprive the vehicle's owner must be clear.

A violation of carjacking laws will always result in a felony charge. Your conviction for carjacking in Loudoun, VA, could result in a prison sentence ranging from fifteen years to life in prison.


Breaking into another person’s residential or commercial property to commit robbery or another offense is considered burglary under Virginia Code 18.2-89. Burglary is classified as statutory or common law burglary, depending on the intention behind your acts. Common law burglary involves forceful entry into another person’s property to steal, while statutory burglary involves forceful entry with the intent to commit assault, murder, or another felony.

Burglary is a class 6 felony but can be elevated to a class 3 felony if you use a deadly weapon to accomplish the crime. A conviction for this offense could lead to a prison sentence of up to twenty years and fines not exceeding $100,000. If you or a loved one faces burglary charges, you must have a reliable Loudoun defense attorney to help you battle the charges and avoid a conviction.

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes are offenses that involve a sudden event or long history of mistreatment resulting in the injury or death of another person. Most violent crimes are harshly persecuted, and their punishment could include life imprisonment. Common violent crimes under Virginia law include:


Murder is the unlawful or deliberate killing of another person that is premeditated. Under Virginia law, murder is divided into three categories:

  • Aggravated Murder

Virginia Code 18.2-31 defines aggravated murder as the willful and premeditated killing of another person, which is committed in the course of crimes like abduction, murder for hire, robbery, or rape. You could also be charged with aggravated murder for:

  • Killing a law enforcement officer.
  • Killing a pregnant woman.
  • Killing more than one person within three years.
  • Killing a witness to prevent them from testifying in a criminal case.

Aggravated murder is a class 1 felony punishable by life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

  • First-degree murder

The prosecutor can file first-degree murder charges against you if you intentionally kill another person by lying in wait, poisoning, or torturing the victim. A conviction for first-degree murder carries a minimal sentence of twenty years in prison.

  • Second-Degree Murder

All other forms of intentional killing that do not fall under first-degree or aggravated murder are classified as second-degree murder. Second-degree murder has a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.

  • Strangulation

Virginia Code 18.2-51.6 makes it a crime to strangle another person. Strangulation is a serious felony that carries severe punishment after a conviction. For you to be convicted under this statute, the commonwealth attorney must prove that:

  • You restrict another person's breathing or blood flow.
  • You did this by applying pressure to the victim's neck.
  • Your actions were intentional.
  • Your actions resulted in injuries for the alleged victim.

Strangulation is a class 6 felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.


You commit a crime of kidnapping under VA Code 18.2-47 if you use intimidation, force, or deception to detain or transport another person against their will. You will be found guilty of this offense if you intend to deny the alleged victim their liberty. There are different forms of kidnapping, which include:

  • Parental abduction

Parental abduction involves taking your child against a court order. This offense is charged as a class one misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of twelve months in jail.

  • Kidnapping with the intent to extort money

This type of kidnapping involved taking someone with the intent of asking for a ransom from their family. Kidnapping for ransom is a class 2 felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to twenty years.

Drug Crimes

Virginia drug laws are straightforward and harsh. The penalties you will face for each drug crime will vary depending on the nature and quantity of the drug involved. A drug crime conviction in Loudoun, CA, will not only impact your freedom but can also jeopardize your career and ruin your personal life.

Common drug laws you could be charged with violating include:

Virginia Code 18.2-250 (Possession of a Controlled Substance)

Controlled substances are drugs whose possession, sale, transportation, and use are regulated by the government. Controlled substances range from prescription drugs to narcotics. You will be arrested and charged under this statute for possessing a controlled substance without a prescription.

You will be found guilty of possessing a controlled substance if the prosecution can establish that:

  • You had actual possession or control of the substance.
  • You knew of the presence of the drug and its nature as a controlled drug.
  • The drug was in a usable amount.

Possession of a controlled substance can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the type and quantity of the substance you possess.

Virginia Code 18.2-248.01 (Transportation of a Controlled Substance)

You will be charged with violating VA Code 18.2-248.01 for transporting a controlled substance. Transporting, in this case, means moving the substance from one location to another. Transportation of a controlled substance is a felony with a maximum sentence of forty years in prison and fines of up to $1 million.

If you have a prior drug conviction, you will serve a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years for your crime.

Virginia Code 18.2-250.1 (Possession of Marijuana)

With the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in Virginia, the number of marijuana-related arrests has decreased significantly. However, marijuana laws have stipulations on who can possess or use the drugs. You could be charged with marijuana possession if you are under 21 years old and found with a usable amount of the substance.

You could also be charged with this offense for possessing more than 1 ounce of the substance that meets the legal standard. Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail.

Virginia Code 18.2-255 (Distribution of Controlled Substances to Minors)

Minors are a vulnerable group in society. Therefore, Virginia law is strict on defendants who engage minors in their drug-related offenses. You can be arrested and charged under VA Code 18.2-255 if you distribute or furnish controlled substances to individuals under eighteen years old.

A violation of this statute can attract a felony or a misdemeanor charge, depending on the amount and schedule of the controlled substance involved. The punishment will range from a minimum of one year in jail for distributing up to one ounce of marijuana to fifty years in prison for distributing drugs under Schedules I and II.

Find a Competent Criminal Lawyer Near Me

Under Virginia law, offenses are classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses with a maximum jail sentence of a year. On the other hand, felonies are serious and sometimes violent offenses that could land you in prison for the rest of your life.

You could be charged with a crime for several reasons, including false allegations, mistaken identification, poor judgment, or a mistake of fact. Regardless of the reason for your charges, you must understand their nature to build a defense against them. Hiring and retaining a criminal defense lawyer is the first step to fighting your charges.

Your choice of legal insight can make the difference between spending a lifetime behind bars and walking free with an acquittal or dismissed case. At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we understand the impact that a criminal conviction can have on your life. We are dedicated to offering top-notch and personalized legal representation for our clients in Loudoun, VA. Contact us at 703-718-5533 to discuss the details of your case.