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Fredericksburg Statutory Rape Lawyer

Statutory rape is defined in the Virginia Code, as having sex with an individual under a specific age. It is automatically classified as statutory rape in Fredericksburg even if that individual appears to give consent.

Even in situations where there was an existing relationship, under Virginia law, individuals at a certain age cannot give consent even if they say that they wanted to engage in that sexual activity.

Fredericksburg and Virginia prosecute statutory rape cases vigorously, and any individual involved in such a situation should consult with an experienced sex crimes attorney as soon as possible.

A Fredericksburg statutory rape lawyer can help an individual combat the prosecution’s allegations and assist in lessening any potential penalties.

Potential Penalties

A statutory rape conviction in Fredericksburg is a felony offense. If the child is under 13, there is a mandatory life sentence if the person accused is 18 or over. If the victim is not 13 or younger, there is still a penalty of at least five years to life in prison.

The penalties associated with statutory rape depend on the age of the victim and the facts surrounding the crime. No matter the severity of the case, a Fredericksburg statutory rape attorney can help an individual defend against their charge and look to reduce or dismiss any potential consequences they may be facing.

Building a Defense

Experienced statutory rape lawyers in Fredericksburg gather evidence the same way in a statutory rape case as they do for a standard rape case. They start at the beginning with investigation and identify the authorities interviewed and determine of evidence they have. If there is any DNA evidence, the Fredericksburg statutory rape lawyer attacks that and looks at the lab results and the person who did any of the examinations.

The attorney examines all of that information to find any flaws. They prepare what is presented in court, such as the testimony from eye witnesses or third-hand witnesses who might be used to testify against their client. The attorney looks for holes in their statements and prepares for a robust cross-examination.

The facts of an individual’s case determine how the lawyer prepares the case. However, it is very similar to the way a standard rape case is prepared with the exception of the prosecution to prove age. The prosecution has that additional element to prove.

Romeo and Juliet Clause

Romeo and Juliet clauses are the legislature’s way to deal with individuals who are underage. Both individuals are underage and are in a relationship, or they are engaging in consensual sexual activity. However, the person is technically not allowed to consent because of their age.

If the child is less than three years younger than the person who is the person charged in the case, the person who is accused of doing the raping is only given a misdemeanor charge as opposed to a felony rape charge. It carries only a fine. It is still a crime but it is not going to be as serious.

When the age difference is less than three years, individuals would potentially fall under the Romeo and Juliet clause even if somebody is 18. A statutory rape lawyer in Fredericksburg can assist an individual in understanding the Romeo and Juliet clause.

Statutory vs. Standard Rape

Statutory rape is the same as other rape cases except for the consent issue. It is not necessary to prove that there was or was not consent; it is an issue of the age.

If someone is anything under 13, it is automatically rape. For someone under 15, that is another type of charge and is statutorily defined.

Third-Party Allegations

Third-party allegations are a crucial element to the case. The alleged victim tells the third party of the act and then the third party reports to the police. It becomes a diluted complaint in this type of situation, which means that something gets lost in translation or it may sound worse than it actually was.

There could be a witness problem in such cases. An individual could have exaggerated the incident when telling the third party. Certain things can come into evidence, even if they were otherwise excludable by hearsay for situations where somebody is reporting a rape or reporting an assault on the person that they tell.

The third party witness is the first person the individual tells. It is the person they reach out to after sexual assault. The first person the individual tells and their statements to that person are admissible because there are certain hearsay protections for rape victims or sexual assault victims who reached out to somebody.

However, with these types of witnesses as with all eye witnesses, it is something that can be cross-examined effectively. Typically, witness testimony is a weaker type of testimony and in this type of case; it is common and is heard very often. A Fredericksbrurg statutory rape attorney can assist in making sure such cross-examination is effective

Benefits of an Attorney

Someone facing statutory rape charges needs a knowledgeable Fredericksburg statutory rape lawyer who knows what they are doing, is able to successfully defend these types of cases, and can present a sympathetic picture to the court for this type of case. A lawyer will be an advocate for their client in these situations.

The rape attorney or public attorney should have experience with felony offenses and specifically with sex crimes. An individual needs an attorney who has handled this type of defense before knows how to present it in the best possible light, and can develop a case that challenges the prosecutor’s evidence.

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