Being convicted of a sex crime in Fairfax can come with very harsh penalties that can include up to life in prison as well as hefty fines. A conviction can also have long-lasting ramifications—even after you complete your sentence. You will have a permanent criminal record and may have to register as a sex offender on Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry, sometimes for life. There is also a social stigma associated with being found guilty of a sex crime, which may affect your professional and personal relationships.
Fortunately, you may be able to avoid some of these consequences by hiring an experienced Fairfax sex crimes defense lawyer who can identify strategies to fight the charges you face. Even if you believe that you committed the crime, mounting a vigorous defense may result in your charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Our skilled criminal defense legal team is here to guide you through your criminal proceedings and help you aggressively work for the best possible outcome.
Common Sex Crimes and Penalties in Virginia
Sex crimes are charged as both misdemeanors and felonies in Virginia. You would be making a big mistake not to take a sex crime charge seriously. Common offenses that you may be charged with committing include:
- Sexual assault. There are a number of sexual battery charges in Virginia, and they can be based on complicated facts and misperceptions of consensual touching. Simple sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor that can be committed by intentionally touching a person’s intimate parts or forcing her to touch another’s intimate parts through the use of threats or force and against her will. Aggravated sexual battery is a much more serious felony. It can be charged in a number of situations, such as when a parent, stepparent, grandparent, or step-grandparent sexually abuses a child who is between 13 and 18 years old. A conviction for simple sexual battery can result in a sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Being found guilty of a felony may be punishable by up to a 20-year prison sentence and $100,000 fine.
- Prostitution. Prostitution is another crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony under Virginia law. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to offer to or to perform sexual acts in exchange for money or an equivalent—such as drugs. More serious felony charges may be brought for solicitation of prostitution or engaging in human trafficking. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Depending on the felony offense, a conviction can result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
- Rape. The crime of rape involves forcing someone to have sexual intercourse against her will or when she cannot consent. Force, threats, intimidation, taking advantage of the victim’s mental or physical helplessness, or engaging in the rape of a child under 13 years old must be involved. Similar crimes include sodomy, date rape, and object sexual penetration. These crimes are felonies, and the sentence can range from five years to life in prison. In some cases, the punishment may be a mandatory 20-year prison sentence.
- Child pornography offenses. Child pornography offenses are federal felony crimes and are enforced aggressively because the victims are minors. To be convicted of possession of child pornography, a person must knowingly possess depictions of a minor under 18 years old engaged in explicit sexual conduct. Receipt, distribution, and production of child pornography are more serious offenses that are punishable by lengthy minimum prison sentences. There is a wide range of punishments upon conviction depending on the offense and the age of the minor. For example, receipt and distribution of child pornography convictions will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison while the mandatory sentence for production of child pornography is a 25-year prison sentence.
- Computer solicitation of minors. Online solicitation of a minor is a felony offense under Virginia law that involves asking or soliciting a minor in online communications to meet to engage in sexual acts. This law is extremely broad, and even communicating with a minor in certain prohibited ways can lead to an arrest. Asking a child to expose his genital or sexual parts, to touch the person’s genitals, or to engage in sexual intercourse are a few of the acts that can constitute online solicitation. A person convicted of this crime can face a prison sentence of between 5 and 30 years and a $2,500 fine.
Contact Our Fairfax Criminal Defense Team If You Are Being Charged With a Sex Crime in Virginia
Based in Fairfax, Virginia, our experienced criminal defense attorneys have over 80 years of combined experience successfully defending clients charged with sex crimes and other serious offenses. We are here to help you build the strongest possible defense against the charges you face and will aggressively fight for the best possible outcome—even if you believe you are guilty. To learn more about our extensive experience in these cases and how we can assist you, call our office today at (703) 352-0100 to schedule your free initial consultation.