In Virginia, sex crimes are considered grave offenses with long-standing repercussions. The laws revolving around what constitutes a sex crime keep changing year after year. While most statutes today focus on sexual acts that are not consensual, it was once illegal for two consenting adults in Virginia, to engage in sex outside of wedlock. If you are accused of committing a sex offense or violating sex crime law codes like VA Code 63.2-1727, turn to Virginia Criminal Attorney. Our competent and devoted defense team will share dependable legal guidance to protect your best interests, irrespective of whether you are accused of a sex crime or need help keeping out of trouble after sentencing and registration as a sex offender.
Because of the complicated nature of sex crime laws, it is best to contact us as soon as you suspect or face trouble in Fairfax or North Virginia. Convicted sex offenders still face punishment long after serving their sentence, and you can avoid hardship by having your situation analyzed by a skilled Virginia sex crime lawyer. Your situation is not hopeless, and we can help you protect your rights.
About Virginia’s VA Code 63.2-1727
VA Code 63.2-1727 prohibits sex offenders and convicted child abusers from living or working in family day homes. Anyone operating a day home commits a crime if he or she employs or accepts voluntary services from sex offenders convicted of felonies, including:
- VA Code 18.2-48 — Abduction for immoral purpose or with a motive to extort money
- VA Code 18.2-61 — Rape
- VA Code 18.2-63 — Intercourse with a child between 13 and 15 years
- VA Code 18.2-64.1 — Intercourse with a minor
- VA Code 18.2-67.1 — Forcible sodomy
- VA Code 18.2-67.2 — Object sexual penetration
- VA Code 18.2-67.3 — Aggravated sexual battery
- VA Code 18.2-67.5 — Attempted rape
- VA Code 18.2-355 — Taking, persuading, detaining, or encouraging minor for prostitution
- VA Code 18.2-361 — Unnatural sexual acts or crimes against nature
- VA Code 18.2-366 — Intercourse with persons forbidden to marry, e.g., incest
- VA Code 18.2-369 — Abuse or neglect of incapacitated adults
- VA Code 18.2-370.1 — Taking filthy liberties with minors
- VA Code 18.2-371.1 — Child abuse and neglect
- VA Code 18.2-374.1 — Possession, distribution reproduction, facilitation, or solicitation of child pornography
In 2007 new bills were introduced to impose additional restrictions on convicted sex offenders. One of the introduced bills sought to forbid sex offenders idling, loitering, or just walking within 100 feet of any area with a day-care center, school, community, or recreation center. The bill also sought to prohibit convicted sex offenders from residing within 500 to 1,000 feet of these centers.
The legality and impact of these bills are still under debate. While some in the National Assembly see them as crucial, others have deemed them cruel and unusual. The VA Code 63.2-1727 is currently set to be repealed as of July 1, 2021.
Sex Offenses in Virginia Prohibiting Proximity to Children
The laws restrict sexual offenders registered under Virginia’s registry from conducting certain activities, including:
- Loitering within proximity to kids — VA Code 18.2-370.2
- Finding residence within proximity to kids facilities — VA Code 18.2-370.3
- Working within any school property — VA Code 18.2-370.4
- Entry into any school property — VA Code 18.2-370.5
Effective July 1, 2000, July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2008, respectively, individuals convicted of sexual offenses were prohibited from wandering within 100 feet of:
- Schools — Section 18.2-370.2(B)
- Child day program — Section 18.2-370.2(B)
- Kid’s playground, gymnasium, or athletic field or facility — Section 18.2-370.2(C).
Section 18.2-370.3(A) forever prohibits convicted sex offenders who were adults or at least three years older than their victims from residing within 500 feet of areas known to have child day centers. This law became effective on July 1, 2006
Section 18.2-370.2(C) forever prohibits convicted sex offenders who were adults or at least three years older than their victims from residing within 500 feet of parks that share boundaries with schools. This law became effective on July 1, 2008.
Both Section 18.2-370.3(A) and Section 18.2-370.2(C) don’t apply to convicted sex offenders who already established a lawful residence before a conviction. They solely apply to those interested in establishing legal residence after sentencing. Violating these sections could result in Class 6 felony charges.
Under Section 18.2-370.4(A), there is a specific class of sex offenders prohibited from working or volunteering in institutions, including:
- Elementary schools
- Middle schools
- High schools
- Child day centers
These sex offenders include persons convicted of:
- Rape of a minor younger than 13 years
- Forcible sodomy with a minor younger than13 years
- Object sexual penetration with a minor younger than 13 years
Anyone who violates the above sections of the law could face Class 6 felony charges.
Legal Definition for Sex Crimes in Virginia
Virginia laws define sex crimes as sexual acts against another person or without their consent. Minors under the age of 18 are unable to give consent legally, which makes any sexual acts with them a crime. Other categories of people considered unable to give consent include the physically or mentally challenged.
There is a whole list of sex crimes under Virginia criminal law. The penalties for each crime are unique, although it is common for convicted offenders to face serious consequences irrespective of their charges.
Below are the definitions of the most common Virginia sex crimes:
Under Virginia laws, the definition of rape is engaging in sexual acts with someone under the following circumstances:
- By force
- Against their will
- Under threat
- Under intimidation
- Without their consent because of their age or their mental or physical incapacitation
Having Carnal Knowledge (Sexual Relations) of Minors
The term “carnal knowledge” refers to more than just sexual intercourse. It defines all kinds of sexual abuse to a minor, including sodomy, oral sex, or object sexual penetration. The charge a defendant faces highly depends on the age of the violated minor.
If a defendant is also a minor and he/she consents to have sexual relations with a child between 13 and 15 years, this is considered a Class 4 felony. To be charged with a Class 4 felony, the defendant must be three or more years older than the victim. If the defendant is less than three years older than the victim, he/she will face a Class 4 misdemeanor charge.
It is also possible for a defendant to face Class 6 felony charges. This could happen if a minor aged 15 or older is violated from a probation service center, detention home, juvenile or correctional facility. This may occur if a defendant poses as a volunteer or employee.
Taking Indecent (Sexually Offensive) Liberties With a Child
Various criminal acts fall under the crime of taking sexually offensive or indecent liberties with a child. They include:
- Requesting a child to expose their sexual organs/genitals
- Exposing your sexual organs/genitals to a child
- Requesting that a child fondles your sexual organs/genitals
- Fondling the sexual organs/genitals of a child
- Asking a child to perform any form of sexual acts
If a defendant is 18 years or older and a victim is younger than 15 years, this is considered a Class 5 felony.
Virginia laws describe forcible sodomy as having oral or anal intercourse with a minor or victim who cannot consent.
Object Sexual Penetration
This refers to penetrating the sexual organs/genitals of a victim using animate or inanimate objects. A defendant can face charges, irrespective of however slightly the penetration takes place.
Aggravated Sexual Battery
Aggravated sexual battery is yet another broad term that may involve sexual abuse under different circumstances, including:
- The victim is younger than 13 years.
- The victim is physically or mentally incapacitated.
- The defendant is an adult legal guardian to a victim who is between 13 and 18 years old.
- The sexual offense is committed under intimidation, force, or threats, and it causes serious injury to a minor aged between the ages of 13 and 15.
Sexual battery is sexual abuse under threat, force, tricks, or intimidation without a victim's consent. When a defendant sexually abuses a person in a correctional facility or on probation, he/she faces sexual battery charges.
This term describes the touching of the sexual organs, genitals, or other private body parts of a victim with the intent to enjoy personal gratification forcefully without the victim’s consent.
Under Virginia laws, incest is a grave sex crime that involves having sexual intercourse with a family member with whom you cannot legally wed.
The statutory age of consent is 18. A defendant, therefore, commits statutory rape if a victim is below the age of 18. Even if the sexual intercourse was non-forcible and a victim gives verbal consent, they are still considered too young to consent legally.
In Virginia, possession, distribution, reproduction, facilitation, or solicitation of child pornography is a serious sex crime.
Infected Sexual Battery
It is a crime to have any form of sexual intercourse with another person who is unaware of your hepatitis B, syphilis, or HIV status. If a defendant engages in sexual acts with the intent to infect the victim, this is classified as a felony. If infecting the victim is not their motive, this is considered a class 1 misdemeanor.
Prostitution or Solicitation
Prostitution or solicitation is the act of trading sexual favors for something of value, such as money. It is a grave sex offense in Virginia, punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Attempted Sex Crimes
Defendants found guilty of attempting to commit sex crimes such as rape, forcible sodomy, or statutory rape face Class 4 felony charges. However, attempted sexual battery is a Class 6 felony.
If convicted of any of the above offenses, the law requires you to register as a Sex Offender. Virginia Code §9.1-902 provides a comprehensive list of all violations that require registration.
Penalties for Sex Crimes in Virginia
Virginia laws impose harsh penalties for sex crimes. Each crime carries penalties that may vary significantly from the other, and convicted offenders may pay hefty fines and spend life behind bars. Usually, forceful sex crimes like forcible sodomy and rape carry heavier sentences than non-forcible sex crimes such as statutory rape.
Violent sexual offenses are felonies that typically carry harsh penalties such as life imprisonment without parole. Some of the factors considered to gauge the seriousness of a crime and determine the most appropriate penalties include:
- A defendant’s criminal history
- Whether it was a violent offense
- Age of a victim
- Mental and physical abilities of a victim
A defendant accused of rape may face a five-year sentence or life in prison. Virginia laws make it mandatory for persons convicted of the rape of a victim younger than 13 to face not less than five years behind bars. In this case, defendants older than 18 years also risk facing a mandatory minimum life sentence.
Forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, and rape are all Class 4 felonies, and again, the sentence imposed will depend on the seriousness of a crime. If an offense involves aggravated sexual battery, it automatically turns into a Class 6 felony punishable by incarceration between 1 and 20 years and a monetary fine not exceeding $100,000.
When a defendant is accused of sexual battery, he/she faces a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. Such an offense is punishable by incarceration not exceeding 12 months and a fine not exceeding $2,500.
There are sex crimes that attract heightened penalties. For instance, a defendant may face harsher penalties if the victim is a protected class member under the Virginia Code. This could be a minor, senior citizen, or a person living with a mental or physical disability. In this case, offenses including rape, object sexual penetration, and forcible sodomy attract a mandatory minimum of 25 years behind bars or a minimum life sentence.
It is also common for the courts to consider the mental state of a defendant when imposing sentences. For instance, a defendant intent on infecting a victim with sexually transmitted diseases may face harsher penalties.
In short, the judge or jury has the discretion of determining the most suitable punishment for the majority of sexual offenses. As long as they impose the minimum sentence, additional penalties may vary from one case to another.
It remains imperative to seek an experienced Virginia criminal attorney’s expertise when you are accused of a sexual offense. Sex crimes attract more than just hefty fines and possible jail time. They also leave a permanent record that can lock you out of educational and employment opportunities, even after serving your sentence.
Moreover, there is a lot of social stigmatization that convicted individuals face years after a conviction. You will need to register as a sex offender in Virginia, allowing property owners to prohibit you from enjoying residence within specific neighborhoods or housing units. As bad as the situation may seem, you can achieve the best possible outcome by having a dedicated defense team in your corner.
Statutes on sexual contact or attempted sexual contact are complicated, and there can be many different penalties for the same crime. Even the smallest contextual factors can leave you serving a life sentence without parole instead of a minimum life sentence. Seeking dependable legal representation could make the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor conviction.
Common Defenses for Sex Crimes in Virginia
Certain defenses may come in handy if accused of committing a sex crime. We will study your case in detail and inform you about your unique legal situation. Based on the facts of the case against you, we will determine the most appropriate defense to apply.
Some of the best defenses we may use include:
A victim doesn’t need to show physical resistance for a defendant to commit a crime such as rape. However, the lack of resistance may also demonstrate that a victim gave their consent, and the act was non-forcible.
Victim Gave Consent
Sexual interactions without consent are perceived to be more severe than those where a victim gives permission. Again, this defense cannot work if a victim is underage or incapacitated. However, it may help you dodge the bullet if the victim is of age and doesn’t have any physical or mental disability.
You Had No Idea The Victim Was Underage
It is also possible to claim you didn’t know that the victim was underage. In this case, facts should show that any reasonable person may have believed that the victim was older. Such a defense may work if you met a minor within a tavern, bar, or any other adult setting that made you assume they were over the legal age to consent.
There are two sides to a coin. In some instances, the defendant and the victim may remember what happened differently. Depending on the plaintiff’s mental state, he/she may recall a perfectly normal sexual encounter as an assault or rape.
It Wasn’t You
Sometimes, sex crime charges are based on nothing but allegations. It could be that a victim was intoxicated and cannot remember what happened clearly. In such a case, the victim may be confusing two people who may sound or look alike.
It is not uncommon for a "victim" to come up with a make-believe story. Some victims lie to hide their shame because of their age, marital status, or social standing. Others may even lie to seek vengeance after a bitter breakup or to have an advantage during a child custody case.
Can I Be Erased From The Sex Offender Registry In Virginia?
Virginia’s tough stance on convicted sex offenders is no secret. A conviction can leave you with a permanent criminal record even after paying hefty penalties and serving a lengthy prison sentence. Additionally, you must also register in the Virginia sex offender registry, even if you were charged with a minor, non-violent sexual offense.
The charges you faced will play a significant role in dictating whether it is possible to have your record erased from Virginia’s sex offender registry. In the state, sex crimes are classified in two:
Violent Sexual Crimes
Defendants convicted of violent crimes can never be removed from the sex offender list. This includes crimes like:
- Forcible sodomy
- Object sexual penetration
- Taking indecent liberties with a minor
- Abduction for immoral purposes
Nonviolent Sexual Crimes
Certain sex crimes are considered non-violent. For instance, possession of child pornography is typically a non-violent crime unless other convictions arise from the case.
Defendants convicted of non-violent crimes can file a petition for removal from Virginia’s sexual offender registry after 15 to 20 years following their first registration. However, multiple offenders lose their right to enjoy removal from the sex offender registry even if they were convicted of nonviolent crimes.
VA Code 9.1-910 stipulates the conditions that must be met for a defendant to be eligible for removal from the registry. For instance, you need to show proof of completing all treatment and counseling as ordered by the court. You also need to complete and include your sex offender registration history in your petition before the courts can grant you a hearing.
We believe you deserve a second chance at enjoying a normal life. Serving your sentence and leading a clean, crime-free life for 15 to 25 years merits a life free of stigma associated with being tagged as a sexual predator. We can help prove to the prosecution that you no longer pose a risk, meaning you have earned a right to be removed from the registry. Contact the Virginia Criminal Attorney today to discuss your chances of being erased from the sex offender registry in Virginia.
Find a Virginia Criminal Attorney Near Me
If you need top-quality legal representation for any sex crime charge, the Virginia Criminal Attorney can provide just the assistance you need. We understand that each case is different, and that is why we offer personalized legal guidance and defense strategies based on the facts surrounding each client’s unique circumstances. Our all-rounded understanding of Virginia laws and sex crime statutes allows us to prepare a strong defense when fighting charges or protecting your rights, despite the legal restrictions in place. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 703-718-5533.