Your Virginia Legal Team

Arlington Rape Lawyer

Rape occurs when an individual has sexual intercourse with another person against their will and without their consent by force, threat, or intimidation, or with someone who is unable to consent. Additionally, when someone has sexual intercourse with, or causes a child under 13 years old to engage in sexual intercourse with another person, there is a special charge with a heightened punishment for rape of a minor. If the person was over 18 years of age in a rape case and the victim was under 13, the punishment is a mandatory minimum of life in jail. Someone facing this charge should consider consulting with an Arlington sex crimes lawyer, who can help them establish a defense and possibly mitigate the penalties.

Ways You Can be Charged With Rape in Arlington

If someone is charged with rape in Arlington, there are two physical ways they can be charged. First, they can be charged on a warrant. This means that a magistrate, who is a neutral and detached individual, hears evidence from a complaining witness or a police officer and determines whether there is probable cause to believe the person has committed the offense. If there is, then a warrant will be issued for their arrest and they will either be arrested on that warrant or they have to turn themselves in.

Second, a person can be indicted without having a warrant issued. This means that a grand jury instead of a magistrate has heard evidence against them, and has determined that sufficient evidence exists for an indictment. An indictment will then be issued and they must turn themselves in on the indictment once it has been voted on by the grand jury.

Penalties and Aggravating Factors for Rape

Rape is punishable by five years to life in prison. If someone is convicted of rape in Virginia, they will serve a minimum of five years in jail and a maximum of life in prison. Additionally, they may have fines, probation, counseling, or whatever else the court thinks is appropriate.

Rape of a child under 13 years old is punishable by five years to life in prison, and if the alleged perpetrator was over 18 at the time, that punishment is a minimum of life in prison.

In addition to serving multiple years in prison for a rape charge, a person convicted of a felony sex offense faces fines, supervised probation for many years, sexual offender treatment and counseling, and no contact with the victim. Also, they will likely be placed on the Virginia sex offender registry. By working with an Arlington rape lawyer it may be possible to prevent, or at least mitigate, some of these penalties.

How Rape Cases Differ from Other Sex Crime Cases

In rape cases, often what makes them different is that the Commonwealth takes them very, very seriously. This is not to suggest that the police and prosecution do not take other cases seriously, but rape cases tend to be given the most heightened scrutiny from the police and prosecution.

Typically in a rape case, immediately or as soon as possible after the rape, the victim will go to the hospital for what they call a SANE examination. This is an examination by a sexual assault nurse examiner who is specifically trained to detect and recover evidence of rape on the victim’s body.

They fill out what is called a rape kit, which is a standard grouping of evidence that is used eventually in a rape case. Rape cases are unique in that there are dedicated nurses and evidence collection. They are also fully investigated by the police and handled very, very seriously by prosecutors.

The Importance of an Experienced Arlington Rape Lawyer

Experience is the most important element when hiring an attorney for a rape case in Arlington. Someone charged with rape will want to hire a local attorney who has fought these cases in the past, has familiarity with the sex crime laws, knows how courts rule on those laws, and knows what kind of sentences are associated with sex offenses.

An experienced Arlington rape attorney can speak with you to determine whether there are any defenses to your case. They can also attempt to suppress evidence collected by police in violation of the Constitution. An experienced attorney will know the law of search and seizure and also the law of interrogation, meaning that police might have obtained some of the evidence in violation of their constitutional duty. If that happens, an attorney will move to suppress the evidence. If they are successful in doing that, certain evidence may not be admissible at trial and oftentimes that evidence is crucial to determining your guilt.

Additionally, an experienced attorney knows the law of rape and sex crimes and can use that knowledge of the law to your advantage. They also will be able to help collect evidence on your behalf, which may help disprove the Commonwealth’s case. Someone with experience also knows how to cross-examine witnesses to show that the witnesses might have been mistaken, biased, fabricating the story, or just simply wrong. An experienced attorney can do all of that plus advise you every step of the way on how to put yourself in the best possible position to have a successful trial.

Contact Us

Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.

Copyright 2020 Virginia Criminal Lawyer. All rights reserved. Disclaimer/Privacy Policy