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Virginia Sex Crime Laws

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, sex crimes are covered under Title 18.2 (Crimes and Offenses Generally), Chapter 4 (Crimes Against the Person), generally in Section 18.2-61 through Section 18.2-67.10. In essence, sex crimes in Virginia can be defined as an individual performing a sexual act with a person who has not or who cannot give their consent. Although the majority of sex crimes cover conduct that involves physical contact with a victim, this is not always the case. Other actions in which the perpetrator acts without the consent of the victim, for example indecent exposure, are also considered sex crimes and could warrant contact with a Virginia sex crimes lawyer.

Almost all sexual offenses will come with the additional penalty of mandatory registration in the Sex Offender Registry (which is open to the public). Some offenses require a second conviction of a sexual offense before mandatory participation in the Sex Offender Registry. For a list of which sex offenses require the perpetrator to enroll in the Sex Offender Registry, see the Virginia State Police website on that topic here. However, as sexual offenses are outlined below it will be noted which sexual offenses require registration with the Sex Offender Registry.

In the state of Virginia, sex crimes are separated into two broad categories: sexual offenses and sexually violent offenses. Sexually violent offenses are generally more serious and carry harsher penalties, including but not related to: abduction with immoral purpose, rape, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, aggravated sexual battery, taking indecent liberties with a minor, and cases of murder related to offenses listed on this page.

Sexual offenses may be less serious than violent sexual offenses, but the state laws for all sex crimes still carry heavy penalties in the form of the sex offender registry. Even a minor crime like unlawful photographing of another (Section 18.2-386.1), can result in mandatory lifetime registration in the Sexual Offender Registry.

The laws regarding violent sexual offenses are explained here.

The laws concerning sexual offenses involving children are explained here.

Definitions Section 18.2-67.10

Sexual abuse is defined in Section 18.2-67.10(6) as when an individual, with the intent to sexually molest, arouse, or gratify someone:

  • Intentionally touches the victim’s intimate parts (genitalia, anus, groin, breast, or buttocks) or the material directly covering the victim’s intimate parts,
  • Forces the victim to touch the individual’s, the victim’s own, or another person’s intimate parts or the material directly covering the intimate parts,
  • Causes or assists the victim to touch the individual’s, the victim’s own, or another person’s intimate parts or material directly covering the intimate parts, and the victim is under 13,
  • Forces another person to touch the victim’s intimate parts or the material directly covering the victim’s intimate parts.

Mental incapacity is defined in Section 18.2-67.10(3) as the victim’s condition at the time of the sexual offense where the victim is unable to understand the sexual acts (their nature and consequences), and also a condition that the accused should have known or knew existed.

Physical helplessness is defined in Section 18.2-67.10(4) as unconsciousness, or any other condition at the time of the offense that rendered the victim unable to communicate an unwillingness to act, also which the accused should have known or knew existed.

Aggravated Sexual Battery Section 18.2-67.3

An individual is guilty of aggravated sexual battery if the individual (1) sexually abuses the victim, and of the following is true:

  • The victim is under 13 years old, or;
  • The sexual abuse transpires through the individual’s exploitation of the victim’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness, or;
  • The individual is a parent, step-parent, grandparent, or step-parent of a victim who is 13 to 18 years old, or;
  • The individual’s conduct is against the will of the victim through the use of force, the threat of force, or intimidation, and in addition one of the following is true: 

     

    • The victim is between the ages of 13 and 15, or;
    • The individual caused serious bodily injury or serious mental injury to the victim, or;
    • The individual uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon.

If an individual is guilty of aggravated sexual battery, the individual faces a felony conviction with one to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Section 18.2-67.3.

Sexual Battery Section 18.2-67.4

An individual is guilty of sexual battery (a Class 1 misdemeanor), if the individual (1) sexually abuses (2) a victim against the victim’s will through force, threat of force, ruse, or intimidation, or an inmate while the individual has authority over the inmate, or a probationer or parolee the individual has authority over as part of the individual’s job. Section 18.2-67.4. Thus, an individual guilty of sexual battery would face up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a).

Infected Sexual Battery Section 18.2-67.4:1

If an individual who is (1) knowingly (2) infected with HIV, AIDS, syphilis, or hepatitis B (3) engages in fellatio, sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, anilingus, or anal intercourse with another person (4) with the intent to transmit the infection to the other person, the individual is guilty of a Class 6 felony. Section 18.2-67.4:1(A). In such a case, the individual would face penalties of a felony conviction with one to five years in prison, or, at the discretion of a jury or the court trying the case, reduced penalties of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-10(f).

If an individual who is (1) knowingly (2) infected with HIV, AIDS, syphilis, or hepatitis B (3) engages in anal intercourse, cunnilingus, anilingus, sexual intercourse, or fellatio with another person (4) without having previously disclosed the existence of the infection to the other person, then the individual is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Section 18.2-67.4:1(B). Thus, the individual in such a case would face up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a).

Attempted Sexual Crimes Section 18.2-67.5

Although attempted felonies are generally covered in Section 18.2-25 and Section 18.2-26, this section provides the penalties for attempting the most serious of sexual offenses:

  • Attempted rape, forcible sodomy, and object sexual penetration are Class 4 felonies, meaning the individual would face two to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000.
  • Attempted aggravated sexual battery is a Class 6 felony, meaning the individual would face one to five years in prison, or, at the discretion of a jury or the court trying the case, up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Attempted sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor, meaning the individual would still face up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Third Conviction of a Sexual Offense Misdemeanor Section 18.2-67.5:1

If an individual is convicted of a sexual offense that is classified as a misdemeanor, and it is found that within a 10 year period the individual has already been convicted of two sexual offense misdemeanors, then the individual’s penalty becomes that of a Class 6 felony – one to five years in prison, or, at the discretion of a jury or the court, up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-67.5:1; 18.2-10(f).

Repeated Sexual Assault & Violent Sexual Assault Section 18.2-67.5:2; 18.2-67.5:3

If an individual is convicted of more than one crime on the sexual assault list before, or one crime on the violent sexual assault list and one on the sexual assault list, and the individual committed the second crime after being released from prison/jail that resulted from the individual’s first offense, then the individual will be sentenced to the maximum term authorized for the most recent offense, without any suspension of the prison sentence. Section 18.2-67.5:2(A).

If an individual is convicted of more than one offense on the violent sexual assault list, and the individual committed the second crime after being released from the prison/jail sentence that resulted from the individual’s first offense, then the individual will be sentenced to life in prison without any suspension of the prison sentence. Section 18.2-67.5:3(A).

Section 18.2-67.5:2(B) provides the list for sexual assault crimes– any felony convictions for:

  • Carnal knowledge of a child between 13 and 15 years old, when the individual committing the offense is over 18 years old (Section 18.2-63),
  • Carnal knowledge of certain minors (Section 18.2-64.1),
  • Aggravated sexual battery (Section 18.2-67.3),
  • Crimes against nature (Section 18.2-361),
  • Adultery or sexual intercourse with the individual’s own child or grandchild (Section 18.2-366),
  • Taking indecent liberties with a child (Section 18.2-370; 18.2-370.1), or;
  • Conspiracy to commit any offense listed above (Section 18.2-22).

Section 18.2-67.5:3(B) provides the list for violent sexual assault crimes:

  • Rape (Section 18.2-61),
  • Forcible Sodomy (Section 18.2-67.1),
  • Object sexual penetration (Section 18.2-67.2),
  • Abduction with intent to defile (Section 18.2-48), or;
  • Conspiracy to commit any offense listed above (Section 18.2-22).

Sex Offenses Prohibiting Proximity to Children Section 18.2-370.2; 18.2-370.3

An individual who is convicted of any of the offenses in the list below on or after July 1, 2000 will be forbidden from loitering within 100 feet of any place the individual knows or has reason to know is a school. Section 18.2-370.2(B). An individual who is convicted of any of the offenses in the list below on or after July 1, 2006 will be forbidden from loitering within 100 feet of any place the individual knows or has reason to know is a child day program. Section 18.2-370.2(B). An individual who is convicted of any of the offenses in the list below on or after July 1, 2008 will be prohibited from being within 100 feet of any place the individual knows or has reason to know is a playground, gymnasium, or athletic field or facility. Section 18.2-370.2(C). It is a Class 6 felony if an individual violates this section– this list of offenses is the following:

  • Abduction (see Section 18.2-47(A));
  • Abduction with the intent to defile the victim or the intent to force or coerce a child under 16 into prostitution or concubinage (see Section 18.2-48(ii)-(iii));
  • Incest: sexual intercourse with an individual’s own child, or grandchild, when the child is a minor (see Section 18.2-366(B));
  • Rape when the victim is a child under 13 years of age (see Section 18.2-61);
  • Carnal knowledge of child between 13 and 15 years of age (Section 18.2-63);
  • Carnal knowledge of certain minors (Section 18.2-64.1);
  • Forcible sodomy with a victim under 13 years of age (Section 18.2-67.1(A)(1));
  • Object sexual penetration with a victim under 13 years of age (Section 18.2-67.2(A)(1));
  • Aggravated sexual battery where the victim is under the age of 13 or where the individual committed the act against the victim’s will and the victim was between 13 and 15 years old (Section 18.2-67.3(A)(1); Section 18.2-67.3(A)(4)(a));
  • Taking indecent liberties with children & taking indecent liberties with children by individual in custodial or supervisory position (Section 18.2-370; 18.2-370.1);
  • Engaging in consensual sexual intercourse with a child 15 to 18 years old if the individual is over 18 years old (Section 18.2-371(ii));
  • Production, publication, sale, financing, etc. of child pornography (Section 18.2-374.1);
  • Possession, reproduction, distribution, solicitation, and facilitation of child pornography (Section 18.2-374.1:1);
  • Employing or permitting minor to assist in obscene material (Section 18.2-379);

An individual who was an adult while convicted of one of the crimes in the list below that occurred on or after July 1, 2006, where the individual was three years older than the victim, is forever forbidden from residing within 500 feet of a place the individual knows or has reason to know is a child day center. Section 18.2-370.3(A).

An individual who has been convicted of one of the crimes below when the offense took place on or after July 1, 2008, and where the individual was at least three years older than the victim, is forever prohibited from residing within 500 feet of a park that shares a boundary line with a school and is regularly used for school activities. Section 18.2-370.2(C).

This does not apply to an individual who established a lawful residence and a child day center or park (as described above) is established subsequent to the individual establishing lawful residence after his or her conviction. Section 18.2-370.3(B);(D). It is a Class 6 felony for an individual to violate this section– the following is the list of offenses:

  • Rape of a victim under 13 years of age (Section 18.2-61(A)(iii)), or;
  • Forcible sodomy of a victim under 13 years of age (Section 18.2-67.1(A)(1)), or;
  • Object sexual penetration of a victim under 13 years of age (Section 18.2-67.2(A)(1)), WHEN: 

     

    • The rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration occurred as part of an abduction (Section 18.2-47; 18.2-48), burglary (Section 18.2-89), entering a home with intent to rape or murder (Section 18.2-90), entering a home with intent to commit assault & battery or another felony (Section 18.2-91), or aggravated malicious wounding (Section 18.2-51.2).

An individual who meets the above requirement is also forever forbidden from working or volunteering on property the individual knows or has reason to know belongs to an elementary, middle, or high school, or a child day center. Section 18.2-370.4(A). It is also a Class 6 felony to violate this section. An individual who violates any of these sections faces a felony conviction with one to five years in prison, or, at the discretion of a jury or the court trying the case, lesser penalties of 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-10(f).