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Virginia Violent Sex Crime Laws

The Commonwealth of Virginia has several offenses that cover conduct commonly known as “rape.” These offenses are rape (vaginal intercourse), forcible sodomy (anal and oral sex), and object sexual penetration. An overview of other sexual crimes is available on this page.

Rape Section 18.2-61

The state of Virginia is straightforward in its definition of rape, requiring two elements for the crime. The first element requires that an individual must have sexual intercourse (vaginal intercourse, specifically) with the victim OR the individual must cause the victim to engage in sexual intercourse with another individual. Section 18.2-61(A). The second element requires that the conduct from the first element must be accomplished:

1)                  Against the victim’s will through the use of force, the threat of force, or intimidation of or against the victim or a different person, or;

2)                  Through the use of the victim’s mental incapacity of physical helplessness, or;

3)                  With a victim who is a child under the age of 13.

An individual who is guilty of rape is subject to penalties that include a felony conviction and five years to life in prison. Section 18.2-61(B). In addition, the individual is subject to enhanced penalties if the circumstances of the rape meet certain conditions. Section 18.2-61(B).

If an individual (1) rapes a victim (2) under 13 years of age, (3) the individual is more than three years older than the victim, (4) and it occurred as part of an abduction or kidnapping (Section 18.2-47), abduction for immoral purpose (Section 18.2-48), burglary (Section 18.2-89), entering a home with intent to commit rape (Section 18.2-90), entering a dwelling with intent to commit assault and battery or another felony (Section 18.2-91), or as part of an aggravated malicious wounding (Section 18.2-51.2)– the individual then the individual faces 25 years to life in prison, because of the enhanced penalty of a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Section 18.2-61(B)(1).

If an individual (1) rapes a victim (2) under the age of 13 and (3) the individual is 18 years or older, then the individual faces life in prison, because of the enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum life prison sentence. Section 18.2-61(B)(2).

Lastly, there are special conditions when an individual (1) rapes a victim (2) under the age of 13 and (3) the individual is more than three years older than the victim, and (4) the individual receives a prison sentence of anything less than life in prison. Section 18.2-61(B)(2). Specifically, an individual that meets these conditions forces the judge to impose an additional suspended sentence of at least 40 years in prison. This suspended sentence will stay in place for the remainder of the individual’s life, subject to revocation by the court. Section 18.2-61(B)(2).

If an individual (1) rapes (2) the individual’s spouse, then (3) with the consent of the prosecutor and the victim, the individual can be eligible for a one-time offer of deferring the proceedings against the individual to place the individual on probation, conditional on completion of counseling or therapy. Section 18.2-61(C). If after completing counseling or therapy, the individual is evaluated by the therapist and court and the victim, the court may choose to dismiss charges against the individual. Section 19.2-218.1. Conversely, if the individual fails to complete therapy or violates the terms of his or her probation, then the proceedings against the individual for rape will continue. Section 18.2-61(C).

In addition to all other penalties, any individual who is convicted of rape will be subject to mandatory lifetime registration in the Sex Offender Registry.

Forcible Sodomy Section 18.2-67.1

Forcible sodomy is a very similar offense to rape, but covers different sexual acts. Like rape, the offense is comprised of two elements. Firstly, the individual must engage in fellatio, cunnilingus, anilingus, or anal intercourse with the victim, or cause the victim to engage in these sexual acts with another person. Section 18.2-67.1(A). Secondly, the conduct from the first element must transpire:

(1)  By performing the sexual acts with a child under 13 years of age, or;

(2)  By performing the sexual acts against the victim’s will through the use of force, threat of force, or intimidation of or against the victim or another person, or;

(3)  By exploiting the victim’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness.

If an individual is guilty of forcible sodomy, then the individual faces a felony conviction with five years to life in prison. Section 18.2-67.1(B).

If an individual (1) commits forcible sodomy with a victim (2) under 13 years of age, (3) the individual is more than three years older than the victim, (4) and it occurred as part of an abduction or kidnapping (Section 18.2-47), abduction for immoral purpose (Section 18.2-48), burglary (Section 18.2-89), entering a home with intent to commit rape (Section 18.2-90), entering a dwelling with intent to commit assault & battery or another felony (Section 18.2-91), or as part of an aggravated malicious wounding (Section 18.2-51.2)– the individual then the individual faces 25 years to life in prison, because of the enhanced penalty of a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Section 18.2-67.1(B)(1).

If an individual (1) commits forcible sodomy (2) with a victim under 13 years old, and (3) the individual was 18 years or older at the time of the offense, then the individual faces life in prison, because of the enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum life prison sentence. Section 18.2-67.1(B)(2).

There are special conditions when an individual (1) commits forcible sodomy with a victim (2) under the age of 13 and (3) the individual is more than three years older than the victim, and (4) the individual receives a prison sentence of anything less than life in prison. Section 18.2-67.1(B)(2). Specifically, an individual that meets these conditions forces the judge to impose an additional suspended sentence of at least 40 years in prison. This suspended sentence will stay in place for the remainder of the individual’s life, subject to revocation by the court. Section 18.2-67.1(B)(2).

If an individual (1) commits forcible sodomy with (2) the individual’s spouse, then (3) with the consent of the prosecutor and the victim, the individual can be eligible for a one-time offer of deferring the proceedings against the individual to place the individual on probation, conditional on completion of counseling or therapy. Section 18.2-67.1(C). If after completing counseling or therapy, the individual is evaluated by the therapist and court and the victim, the court may choose to dismiss charges against the individual. Section 19.2-218.1. Conversely, if the individual fails to complete therapy or violates the terms of the individual’s probation, then the proceedings against the individual for rape will continue. Section 18.2-67.1(C).

Lastly, in addition all other penalties, any individual convicted of forcible sodomy must be entered into the compulsory Sex Offender Registry, which is open to the public.

Object Sexual Penetration Section 18.2-67.2

Similar to forcible sodomy and rape, object sexual penetration is subject to the same penalties but differs in the sexual acts covered by this offense. The crime of animate or inanimate object sexual penetration has two distinct elements that must be met for an individual to violate this section.

The first element, under Section 18.2-67.2(A), requires that the individual:

  • Penetrates the vagina or anus of the victim with an object (of course, this does not include cases with a bona fide medical purpose), or;
  • Causes the victim to penetrate his or her own body with an object, or;
  • Causes the victim to penetrate or be penetrated by an another person, or;
  • Cause the victim to penetrate or be penetrated by an animal.

The second element, under Section 18.2-67.2(A)(1)-(2), requires that the individual must accomplish the acts described in the first element:

  • With a child under the age of 13 as the victim, or;
  • Against the victim’s will through force, threat of force, or intimidation of or against the victim or another person, or;
  • Through the use of the victim’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness.

If an individual commits object sexual penetration, then the individual faces penalties of a felony conviction with five years to life in prison. Section 18.2-67.2(B).

If an individual (1) commits object sexual penetration with a victim (2) under 13 years of age, (3) the individual is more than three years older than the victim, (4) and it occurred as part of an abduction or kidnapping (Section 18.2-47), abduction for immoral purpose (Section 18.2-48), burglary (Section 18.2-89), entering a home with intent to commit rape (Section 18.2-90), entering a dwelling with intent to commit assault & battery or another felony (Section 18.2-91), or as part of an aggravated malicious wounding (Section 18.2-51.2) – then the individual faces 25 years to life in prison, because of the enhanced penalty of a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Section 18.2-67.2(B)(1).

If an individual (1) commits object sexual penetration (2) with a victim under 13 years old, and (3) the individual was 18 years or older at the time of the offense, then the individual faces life in prison, because of the enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum life prison sentence. Section 18.2-67.2(B)(2).

There are special conditions when an individual (1) commits object sexual penetration with a victim (2) under the age of 13 and (3) the individual is more than three years older than the victim, and (4) the individual receives a prison sentence of anything less than life in prison. Section 18.2-67.2(B)(2). Specifically, an individual that meets these conditions forces the judge to impose an additional suspended sentence of at least 40 years in prison. This suspended sentence will stay in place for the remainder of the individual’s life, subject to revocation by the court. Section 18.2-67.2(B)(2).

If an individual (1) commits object sexual penetration with (2) the individual’s spouse, then (3) with the consent of the prosecutor and the victim, the individual can be eligible for a one-time offer of deferring the proceedings against the individual to place the individual on probation, conditional on completion of counseling or therapy. Section 18.2-67.2(C). If after completing counseling or therapy, the individual is evaluated by the therapist and court and the victim, the court may choose to dismiss charges against the individual. Section 19.2-218.1. Conversely, if the individual fails to complete therapy or violates the terms of the individual’s probation, then the proceedings against the individual for rape will continue. Section 18.2-67.2(C).

Lastly, in addition to all the penalties listed above, an individual who commits object sexual penetration must be entered into the Sex Offender Registry, which is open to the public.

More information on Virginia sex crimes laws is available here.