Henrico County Sex Crimes Lawyer

Certain sexual behaviors are illegal under Virginia law and federal law. Crimes involving rape, sex with minors, or other illegal sexual acts are considered some of the most serious offenses in the criminal justice system. Conviction of a sex offense not only could result in decades of jail time but also could brand you with the label of sex offender, which will follow you for the rest of your life.  The job of a Henrico County sex crimes attorney is to help you respond to these life-changing criminal charges so you can protect your rights, defend your good name, and get the best outcome possible given the circumstances of your case.

Virginia Laws on Sex Crimes

There are many different sexual acts that can result in criminal charges in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Examples include:

  • Rape. Virginia Code Section 18.2-61 defines rape as making someone engage in sexual acts using force, threats, or intimidation. Coercing or forcing someone to engage in sex acts with third parties can also be considered rape, as can intercourse with a child under age 13 or with someone who is unable to consent due to mental or physical helplessness. Penalties include a minimum of five years’ incarceration and as long as life imprisonment depending upon the age of the victim, whether violence was involved, and whether the victim suffered lasting physical injury.
  • Sexual acts with minors. It is a crime to engage in sexual acts with minors, including penetration with objects. If the child is between 13 and 15 and no force is used, the offense is a class 4 felony unless the child consents and the accused is a minor and such consenting child is three years or more the accused’s junior, in which case it is a class 6 felony. If there is consent, and there is less than a three-year age difference between someone and the minor, the crime is a class 4 misdemeanor.
  • Taking indecent liberties with children. Virginia Code prohibits someone aged 18 or older from exposing their genitals to someone under age 15. Proposing that the child fondle or expose his own or someone else’s genitals or enticing a child to enter a vehicle or home to engage in sex acts is also prohibited. This behavior is a class 5 felony, unless money changes hands, there are repeat offenses, or the child is a grandchild, stepchild, or child, in which case the charges may be a class 4 or class 5 felony making it imperative that a Henrico County sex crimes lawyer.

Sex Crimes

These are just a few of many sex crimes addressed by Virginia law. Virginia Code Title 18.2, Chapter 4 has a full list of prohibited sexual acts, including:

  • Forcible sodomy
  • Sexual object penetration
  • Sexual battery
  • Aggravated sexual battery
  • Attempted rape
  • Sexual abuse of a child under age 15
  • Incest
  • Sexual acts with intent to transmit HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases
  • Crimes against nature (bestiality or incest with young relatives)

The federal government has also criminalized certain sexual acts, such as making or distributing child pornography. Someone does not get to choose whether they are charged under state or federal law, and federal penalties are usually much more serious.

When someone is charged with a sex crime, they will be told what charges they face and whether the offense is a misdemeanor or a felony. They will have the chance to enter a plea and argue for bail. To protect their rights, it is imperative to contact a Henrico County sex crimes lawyer as soon as they have been accused of an illegal sexual act.

Working with a Henrico County Sex Crimes Lawyer

The options you have when charged with a sex crime vary, depending upon the nature of the offense and evidence against you. For example, if you have been charged with possession of child pornography, a Henrico County sex crimes lawyer could argue that you did not download the illicit material. If you have been charged with raping an adult, consent could be a potential defense. However, consent is not a defense if you have been charged with raping a child.

A Henrico County sex crimes lawyer will review your case carefully, advise you on options available to you, and either defend you in court or help to negotiate a plea bargain that may result in reduced charges and penalties. The goal is to keep your name off the sex offender list and avoid conviction whenever possible.