Arlington Sex Crimes Lawyer
A sex crime is considered a serious offense that can have lifelong repercussions, and a false conviction for a sex crime has the potential of serious consequences on the life of the person erroneously found guilty.
If you are charged or anticipate being charged with a sex crime in Arlington, retaining an Arlington sex crimes attorney who can help you to familiarize yourself with the relevant legal statutes is the first step on the road to protecting your future.
Types of Sex Crimes
When most people think about what constitutes a sex crime, the first type of acts that typically come to mind are non-consensual or forced physical acts, such as rape and sexual assault.
Sex crime offenses that involve minors often have harsher punishment and different elements when the person against whom these crimes were committed was under a certain age. For example, if a person engaged in the sex act with a child under 13 or caused a child to engage in that act with another person, there is a special charge for forcible sodomy of a minor and that is punished more harshly than just forcible sodomy.
Criminal acts that can bring sex crime charges in the Commonwealth include:
- Rape, attempted rape, object sexual penetration and other types of sexual battery.
- Sexual Battery: Occurs when the accused person sexually abuses another person. The abuse was against the other person’s will and was by force, threat, intimidation, or ruse.
- Aggravated sexual battery: When the accused person sexually abuses another person against that person’s will by force, threat, or intimidation, and the defendant causes serious bodily or mental injury to the other person or threatens to use a dangerous weapon.
- Child pornography: Possession, production, distribution or financing of images of children engaged in sexual activity. However, child pornography can also be prosecuted at the federal level.
- Carnal knowledge of a minor: According to Virginia state law, a minor cannot consent to a sexual relationship with an adult. Such an action is commonly known as statutory rape. In cases like this, the older participant can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, and the exact charge will vary depending on the age of the victim and the perpetrator.
- Date rape: While not mentioned in the Virginia Code, it is charged as any other rape crime, and has the same consequences.
Sexting by itself is not enough to charge a crime. It typically becomes a crime when a minor is involved, because, in Virginia, possession of child pornography is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to five years in jail. On the second offense, it is even more.
Additionally, the creation of child pornography is also a crime. This can be the taking of pornographic pictures of a minor or even requesting pictures of that kind to be taken. If the child is 15 years old, it is punishable by five to thirty years in prison. If the child is 15 to 18 years old, it is still a felony and punishable by up to twenty years in jail.
There are also increased penalties if the age difference between the person accused and the child is more than seven years. If there are multiple pictures on a phone, the Commonwealth can bring felony counts for each image and can charge each as a second or subsequent offense, which carries enhanced penalties.
Federal Sex Crimes
There are a few types of violations that, even if they occur in Virginia, are prosecuted automatically at the federal level. These crimes are almost all felonies, and include:
- Crimes perpetrated against an adult victim that involved activity in more than one state (such as transporting a victim across state lines)
- Crimes involving an adult sexually abusing a minor child
- Crimes involving the possession or transportation of child pornography
The Virginia justice system is designed to protect the alleged victim, which means that convicted sex criminals are punished to the full extent of the law. The police will work diligently to investigate these cases. In Arlington, like in the rest of the Commonwealth, a sex crime conviction has the potential to adversely affect the guilty person for the rest of his or her life.
Fines and prison sentences are the most obvious consequences of a sex crime conviction, though by no means the only ones. Felony convictions are all punishable by large fines and lengthy prison terms, with the most serious of these, including rape, forcible sodomy and object sexual penetration, permitting a prison sentence of no less than five years and up to life.
Those convicted of a second felony sex crime within their lifetimes will be automatically given the maximum sentence the law allows. Individuals who commit a second violent felony sex crime within their lifetimes will be sentenced automatically to life imprisonment.
However, the consequences for a convicted sex criminal do not come to an end upon completion of a prison sentence. Offenders may be required to undergo therapy and rehabilitation programs, and the presence of a sex offense on their criminal record can make finding such basic life assets as employment and housing very difficult, if not impossible.
Most sex crimes, such as rape and carnal knowledge of a minor younger than 15 years old, will require the convicted person to register as a sex offender. When this happens, a person’s name, photo, address, and infraction remains in the public view for a period of time anywhere from 15 years to the rest of their life.
Working with a Sex Crimes Attorney
After someone has been arrested for a sex crime in Virginia, they are likely intimidated by the potential consequences, as well as by their ability to handle the legal system on their own. One of the benefits of having experienced legal counsel on your side is that you will be granted assurances throughout the process. An Arlington sex crimes attorney can provide you with peace of mind as you prepare to face the charges against you.
A dedicated Arlington sex crimes attorney will stand by your side all through the process, protecting your rights as a defendant and providing you with the advice and the legal services you need to answer the prosecution’s case.