Sex crimes are serious charges, and the courts take a very serious and punitive view of most sex crimes. If you are accused with a sex offense, consult Cook Attorneys right away, so we can help you defend the charges and bring the best resolution to your case.
DEFINITION OF SEX OFFENSE
Generally speaking in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a sex offense is a crime of a sexual nature committed against another person—especially when that act is not consensual (either because the person doesn’t agree or because the person can’t legally agree—for instance, if they’re in a coma or because they are a juvenile).
Commonly prosecuted sex crimes include:
- Aggravated Sexual Battery
- Carnal Knowledge of a Minor
- Child Pornography (possession, production, financing, or distribution thereof)
- Object Sexual Penetration
For a more complete list of Virginia sex offender laws, see State Code section 18.2-61 through 18.2-67.10 under Title 18.2.
Keep in mind that the accused defendant and the purported “victim” need not have had physical contact with one another in some sex cases. Indecent exposure and internet sex crimes are also punishable by law.
PENALTIES FOR SEX CRIME
Some sex crimes are tried at a state level; others, at a federal level. By default, any crime that takes place across state lines (such as internet crimes and interstate sex trafficking) is tried at a federal level.
For crimes tried at a state level, most are considered felonies. A few, such as sexual battery, are considered misdemeanors.
All sex crimes, no matter what the level of charge, carry minimum and maximum mandatory fines and/or imprisonment (sometimes up to life). Most sex convictions also require offenders to register on the state sex offender registry.
If you are facing sex crime charges or accusations, you should contact an attorney right away to seek legal recourse.
REGISTRATION FOR SEX CRIME
Most states, including Virginia, keep a list of sex offenders. You can be required to register for this list—which is available to the public—for almost any sexual offense. For a complete list of who is required to register, see the State Code. The ever-expanding list now includes convictions for some crimes against minors that are not necessarily sexual in nature.
Common offenses which require registration on the Virginia sex offender registry:
- Aggravated malicious wounding where the defendant is 18 years or older and the victim is under the age of 13
- Any felony violation of the prostitution and commercial exploitation of minor statute
- Breaking and entering with intent to commit rape, or to commit any other offense listed in this statute
- Carnal knowledge of a child between age 13 and 15
- Carnal knowledge of certain minors
- Commercial sex trafficking of a minor
- Certain offenses where the victim is a minor or physically helpless or mentally incapacitated
- Computer solicitation of a minor for sexual purposes
- Penetration of mouth of child with lascivious intent
- Receiving money for procuring a minor for sexual purposes
- Receiving money from earning of prostitution of a minor
- Second offense possession of child pornography, or reproduction, distribution, solicitation, or facilitation of child pornography
- Taking a minor into a bawdy place for purposes of prostitution
- Third or subsequent conviction for sexual battery, sexual abuse of a child under age 15, attempted sexual battery, or unlawful creation of a nude image of another
If you fail to register (and in Virginia, you have to re-register for the Virginia sexual offender list regularly as required by the court), you face being charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
If you continue to fail to register, it is a Class 6 Felony, and the penalties are steeper (up to 5 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine).
WHAT RESTRICTIONS DO SEX OFFENDERS HAVE
If you need to register for the sex offender registry in Virginia, it will impact your entire life. You will not only be restricted on the jobs you can take and the homes you can occupy, but you will also be subject to random searches by police (especially if you are still on probation).
There will always be places sex offenders can’t go. Your name and address will be searchable by the public, and you may be ostracized or discriminated against socially.
If you were registered in another state, you are required to register in Virginia and abide by Virginia laws. If you live in one state and work in Virginia (or vice versa), you are required to register in Virginia. If you are not registered in another state, but you are convicted of a crime that requires registration in Virginia, you are nevertheless required to register in Virginia.
Many people ask, is it possible to be removed from sex offender registry? There are ways to get off the registry of registered offenders in Virginia; they depend on the length of time you’ve been registered and the severity of your crime.
To find out if you are eligible or to begin the process of petitioning the courts for removal, contact Cook Attorneys today to schedule a consultation.
CLEARING YOUR NAME
Of course, if you’ve been wrongfully accused or charged, we want the legal system to work in your favor. Generally speaking, there are several different defenses that may be available to you, depending on the facts of your case, including:
- Age—you had a reasonable belief that the victim was over the age of consent.
- Consent—you had reason to believe the victim was giving consent to the sexual act.
- False Accusation—you were never guilty.
- False Memory—the victim is remembering the event wrong.
- Misidentification—the victim identified you instead of the real perpetrator.
- No Resistance—you had reason to believe that the lack of resistance equated to consent.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN CHARGED
If you have been charged with sexual assault or another sexual crime, schedule a free consultation with Harrisonburg’s criminal defense lawyers today. We will walk you through the process, help you overcome obstacles, and be with you the whole way.
Fill out the form below to request more information about how we can serve you. We look forward to hearing from you!