Our Sex Crimes Defense FAQs

You may have many questions if you’ve been charged with a sex crime in Fairfax. Here, our experienced sex crimes lawyers provide answers to common questions that clients have when facing these charges.

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  • How can I get off the Sex Offender Registry in Virginia?

    Sex Offender Text on a Computer Screen With a Wooden GavelAs you well know, inclusion on the Virginia sex offender registry can impact your life significantly. The police can monitor your location, you are prohibited from going to certain places such as schools or playgrounds, and anyone interested can search for your name on the sex offender list.

    You, understandably, want to get off the list.

    Only Non-Violent Offenders May Be Eligible for Removal

    Virginia Code § 9.1-910 allows a person on the sex offender registry to petition the court for removal from the registry unless the person is on the registry because of a conviction for:

    • A sexually violent offense, such as rape
       
    • Two or more offenses that require registration
       
    • Murder

    If you were required to register for any other reason, then you could be eligible for removal from the list after 15 or 25 years, depending on your specific criminal conviction. Additionally, you must complete all court-ordered treatment, counseling, and restitution before you seek removal.

    Petitioning the Court for Sex Offender Registry Removal

    Whether or not you are removed from the sex offender registry will be a court’s decision.

    If you think that you are eligible for removal, then you may petition the circuit court where you were convicted or the circuit court where you live to have your name and information removed from the registry.

    The court will receive a copy of your complete criminal history and your sex offender registration history.

    Then, the court will hold a hearing on the petition. You, and any other interested parties, may present witnesses and evidence to the court.

    After the hearing, the court will grant your petition for removal from the sex offender registry if the court is satisfied that you are no longer a risk to public safety. The court will issue an order granting the petition, and the Virginia State Police will remove your name and identifying information from the registry.

    You have a lot at stake. If the court does not grant your petition, then you must wait 24 months before trying again. During this time, all of the restrictions imposed by the registry remain. Potential landlords, employers, friends, and neighbors can find you on the registry, and you will continue to suffer the consequences that come with registering as a sex offender.

    Since you have so much at stake, we encourage you to contact our experienced Fairfax sex offender defense lawyers today to learn more about your rights and your potential eligibility for sex offender registry removal.

     

  • What may happen to me if I fail to register on the sex offender registry?

    Sex Offender Registering on the ComputerIn Virginia, individuals convicted of certain sex offenses must register with the sex offender registry. If you are required to register and fail to do so, or if you provide false registration information, you may be charged with a criminal offense and face additional penalties.

    Crimes That Require You to Register as a Sex Offender

    You may have to register as a sex offender if you commit a sex offense or other specified offenses under federal or state law. Some of the crimes that require registration under Virginia Code § 9.1-902 include:

    • Object sexual penetration
       
    • Sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery
       
    • Rape and attempted rape
       
    • Child pornography
       
    • Taking indecent liberties with a minor
       
    • Solicitation of a minor
       
    • Murder
       
    • Criminal homicide

    What Are the Penalties for Failing to Register on the Sex Offender Registry?

    Virginia Code § 18.2-472.1 makes a first offense of failing to register or reporting false information a Class 1 misdemeanor if the crime committed was a non-violent sex crime. A second or subsequent offense where the sex crime was non-violent would be a Class 6 felony.

    If you were convicted of a violent sex crime or murder and violated the registry requirements, you may also be charged with a Class 6 felony. A second or subsequent offense can be charged as a Class 5 felony.

    The potential punishments if you are convicted include:

    • Class 1 misdemeanor: Up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500
       
    • Class 6 felony: One to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500 unless the judge or jury exercises their discretion and reduces the penalty to up to 12 months in jail
       
    • Class 5 felony: One to ten years in prison and a fine not to exceed $2,500

    Have you been charged with a sex offense? Have you violated your obligations to report as a sex offender? Our experienced sex crimes defense lawyers are here to help. We represent clients facing federal or state charges in Fairfax, Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. To learn how we can help you mount a strong defense, start an online chat or call (703) 352-0100 to schedule a free consultation.

     

  • How do I register for the sex offender registry?

    Man Registering as a Sex Offender on His TabletIn Virginia, you are required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act if you are convicted of certain sex offenses. If you fail to do so, or if you provide false registration information, you can face additional charges and penalties.

    Who Is Required to Register as a Sex Offender?

    The crimes that require you to register as a sex offender are listed in Virginia Code § 9.1-902. Some of these offenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Rape
       
    • Carnal knowledge of a minor who is 13 or 14 years old and the perpetrator is more than five years older than the victim
       
    • Forcible sodomy
       
    • Object sexual penetration
       
    • Aggravated sexual battery
       
    • Taking indecent liberties with a minor
       
    • Any sexual violent offense
       
    • Attempted rape, forcible sodomy object sexual penetration, or aggravated sexual battery
       
    • Murder
       
    • Criminal homicide

    In addition, certain misdemeanor sex offenses trigger registration requirements. The list of offenses requiring registration can be changed by the legislature periodically, so it is very important to consult an experienced attorney regarding whether a charge you face will require you to register as a sex offender.

    How to Register for the Sexual Offender Registry

    Virginia Code § 9.1-903 states the requirements for how to register for the Sexual Offender Registry. If you are required to register, you must do so within three days of being released from prison or jail. You do so by providing certain information to the Virginia State Police, which is the agency that monitors sex offenders and maintains the sex offender registry. Here is what you must do:

    • Have your picture taken
       
    • Provide a DNA sample that will be used in the DNA data bank
       
    • Submit your finger and palm prints
       
    • Provide information about your employment
       
    • Provide your email address, instant message, or chat user ID
       
    • Provide documentation of your current address
       
    • Provide registration information for any vehicle you own, such as your car, motorcycle, ATV, and boat

    You are required to update your information within three days of a change of residence, employment, or vehicle registration. You must notify law enforcement within 30 minutes of any change in your email address, instant message, or chat user ID. If you plan to go out-of-state, you must notify the Virginia State Police at least 10 days prior to leaving the Commonwealth, and you must ensure compliance with the registration requirements of any jurisdiction you move to.

    If you are a non-violent sex offender and fail to register with the registry or provide false information when registering, you may be charged with a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by a jail sentence of up to twelve months and a fine of up to $2,500. A second or subsequent violation is a Class 6 felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. For those convicted of a sexually violent offense or murder and who knowingly fail to register or knowingly provide false information when registering, the penalty is a Class 6 felony, while a second or subsequent violation is a Class 5 felony, which is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

    Do you have further questions about your duty to register as a sex offender? Are you being charged with a sex crime? Our experienced sex crimes defense lawyers are here to answer your questions and help you build an aggressive defense against the charges you face. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Fairfax office to schedule your free consultation today.

     

  • What are crimes associated with sexual penetration in Virginia?

    Object sexual penetration is a felony offense in the Commonwealth of Virginia that carries the same punishments as rape. If you are convicted of this crime, you may face extremely harsh penalties that include decades or longer in prison.

    What Is the Crime of Object Sexual Penetration in Virginia?

    Virginia Code § 18.2-67.2 makes sexual object penetration a crime. It is a criminal offense to penetrate the labia majora or anus of a nonconsenting person with an object or cause someone to penetrate him/herself in one of the following circumstances:

    • The victim was younger than 13 years old.
       
    • The act was against the victim’s will by the use of force, threats, or intimidation.
       
    • The victim was physically helpless or incapacitated due to a mental condition.

    It is also a crime under this statute to cause another person to penetrate the victim with an object or to cause the penetration of the victim by an animal.

    Penalties You Face If Convicted of Sexual Object Penetration

    Under Virginia Code § 18.2-67.2, sexual object penetration is a felony offense punishable by a prison sentence of not less than five years and up to life in prison. The penalties can be enhanced in these situations:

    • If the accused was three years older than the victim at the time of the incident and the crime was committed in the course of a violent felony, the prison sentence is increased to a mandatory minimum of 25 years to up to life in prison.
       
    • If the accused was 18 years or older and the victim was under 13 years old at the time of the offense, the mandatory minimum sentence is life in prison.

    A sentence for a conviction of sexual object penetration must be served consecutively with any other sentences for other crimes.

    You cannot afford not to mount a strong defense to the sexual object penetration charges you face given the potential loss of your freedom for decades to life if you are convicted. Our Fairfax sex crimes defense lawyers have over 80 years of combined experience aggressively defending our clients charged with this crime and other serious felony offenses in Fairfax, Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. To learn how we can assist you, call our Fairfax office to schedule a free consultation today.

     

  • What is a forcible sodomy charge in Virginia?

    Scales of Justice With an American Flag in the BackgroundForcible sodomy is a felony offense in Virginia that is similar to the crime of rape. If convicted, your punishment may be extremely harsh—up to life in prison.

    What Is Forcible Sodomy?

    Under Virginia Code § 18.2-67.1, it is considered forcible sodomy to engage in the sexual acts listed below with another person, or to cause one person to engage in these acts with another person:

    • Fellatio, which is the oral stimulation of a penis.
       
    • Cunnilingus, which is the stimulation of the female genitals with the tongue or lips.
       
    • Anilingus, which is the sexual stimulation of the anus with the tongue or lips.
       
    • Anal intercourse.

    Like rape, there is also a second element to this crime. The sexual acts listed above must have been engaged in under one of these circumstances:

    • The victim was a child who was under 13 years old.
       
    • The sexual actions were performed through the use of force, threats of force, or the intimidation of the victim or another person.
       
    • The victim’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness was exploited.

    Penalties for Forcible Sodomy​

    The punishment for forcible sodomy is five years to up to life in prison. A mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison applies if the forcible sodomy involved a victim under 13 years old and the following conditions are met:

    • The offender was more than three years older than the victim; and
       
    • The forcible sodomy occurred as part of an abduction, kidnapping, burglary, or aggravated malicious wounding, entering a home with the intent to commit a rape, or entering a dwelling with the intent to commit assault and battery or another felony.

    If the offender was 18 years old or older and the victim was under 13 years old, the mandatory minimum sentence is life in prison. In addition, anyone convicted of forcible sodomy must be registered with the Virginia Sex Offender Registry.                                                                           

    If you have been charged with forcible sodomy, rape, or another sex crime, you need to retain an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer in Fairfax as soon as possible to help you build a strong defense to the charges you face. To learn about our legal team’s extensive experience defending clients facing these and other serious felony charges and how we can assist you, start an online chat to schedule a free consultation today.

     

  • What penalties might a teen face for sexting?

    Young Teen Girl Sexting on Cell PhoneSexting is the sending of nude or sexually suggestive photographs to others through a text message. This is becoming an increasingly common practice among teens. However, sexting is a crime in Virginia. While some states have enacted laws making the penalties less harsh when the sexting is between teenagers, this is not the case in Virginia.

    What Is the Crime of Teen Sexting?

    There is no specific crime of teen sexting in Virginia. Instead, a teenager would be charged with a state or federal child pornography offense. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-374.1:1, it is a crime to be in the possession of or to distribute child pornography. This includes creating, possessing, sending, or resending sexually explicit pictures of minors under 18 years old through text messages. There is no distinction between adults and juveniles under this law.

    Because sexting is charged as a child pornography offense, it is a felony in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If convicted, a teen may face these penalties:

    • First offense. A first offense of possession of child pornography is a Class 6 felony. Upon conviction, a person may face up to five years in prison.
       
    • Second offense. A second or subsequent violation would be a Class 5 felony. The sentence may include a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years and a fine of up to $2,500.

    A teenager charged with sexting may be prosecuted in Virginia’s juvenile court system rather than the adult criminal court. In this situation, the judge would have more discretion in the punishment imposed if a teen is convicted.

    Contact Our Experienced Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help

    Has your teenager been charged with a child pornography offense for sexting in Fairfax or Northern Virginia? We represent clients facing both state and federal charges. Our skilled criminal defense lawyers can put on a strong defense to the charges he faces so that they are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Call our Fairfax office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation today to find out more about how we can assist you.

  • How does the Commonwealth of Virginia define date rape?

    A Couple on a Date Having Drinks at a BarDate rape is a serious offense in the Commonwealth of Virginia that can result in severe penalties and long-term consequences. It is also commonly known as “acquaintance rape.” If you have been charged with this crime, you need to retain an experienced sex crimes defense attorney in Fairfax as soon as possible to help you get the best possible result.

    What Is the Crime of Date Rape in Virginia?

    Date rape is a rape crime under Virginia Code § 18.2-61. This law defines rape as any act of sexual intercourse against the victim’s will through the use of force, threat, or intimidation or by use of the victim’s mental or physical incapacity. Some unique factors in date rape crimes include:

    • The alleged victim and perpetrator know each other. They can be new acquaintances who have just met, long-term romantic parties, friends, or spouses.
       
    • The date rape does not need to be performed with the use or threat of force or intimidation. The allegation may be that the victim was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was physically incapacitated or mentally incapacitated.
       
    • A major issue when someone is charged with date rape is whether the victim consented or was capable of consenting to sexual intercourse. In some cases, there may be an honest misunderstanding where the person charged with date rape believed that consent was given and did not have any understanding that he may have been committing a crime.

    Penalties You Face If Convicted of Date Rape

    Date rape is a felony offense in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the punishment upon conviction is the same as for other rape crimes. The possible sentence someone charged with date rap faces is a minimum mandatory prison sentence of five years to up to life in prison. If convicted, the offender would have a permanent criminal record and be required to register on Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry.

    If you are being investigated for date rape or have been charged with this crime in Fairfax or Northern Virginia, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you take proactive measures for a strong defense so that the charges against you are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Call our office or start an online chat to schedule a free consultation today.