Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
“Sex crimes” is a fairly vague term that covers a broad array of factual scenarios and charges. Typically a “sex crime” involves allegations that a person has committed a crime that is sexual in nature, which can include everything from rape to simple sexual battery to improper touching. Below a Fairfax sex crimes lawyer discusses these types of charges and what they mean.
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Sex crimes cover a broad array of offenses and there are numerous sex crimes that a person could be charged with in Virginia. Every criminal offense in Virginia, whether sex crime or not, is explicitly listed and explained in the Virginia code (pdf). There is a special section for sexual offenses where the laws have developed over numerous years to try to encompass all types of criminal behavior and sexual offenses that have presented themselves to the court.
One of the most serious and commonly charged type offenses is rape. A rape occurs when a defendant has sexual intercourse with another person against that person’s will and without their consent. Another commonly charged sexual offense is forcible sodomy which occurs when the defendant has penetrated a sexual organ of another person against that person’s will and by force, threat or intimidation.
Yet another charge is object as sexual penetration which occurs when a defendant penetrates the female of sexual organ or anus with an inanimate or animate object and that penetration was against the other person’s will and the penetration was accomplished by force, threat, intimidation, or against the other person.
Finally sexual battery occurs when a defendant sexually abuses another person and that abuse was against the other person’s will and was by force, threat, intimidation or rouse and aggravated sexual battery occurs when a defendant sexually abuses another person against their will and done by force, threat or intimidation and that the defendant also caused serious bodily or mental injury to that person or threatened to use a dangerous weapon. Those are some of the more commonly charged sex offenses but is not an all-encompassing list.
The legislature has crafted numerous code sections and harsher punishments and penalties for crimes involving minors. Obviously, the community is concerned with any sex offense that occurred against a minor because of the long-term impact on the juvenile’s life and because of the helplessness and innocence of children.
Many sex offenses have provisions that call for more severe punishments if they occur against minors. The same exact set of facts can be punished differently if the victim of the offense was under a certain age. Specifically, the Virginia Code has protected minors in sexual battery, aggravated sexual battery, rape, forcible sodomy and animate or inanimate penetration charges.
For example, when a defendant has sexual intercourse with a child under 13 years old or causes a child under 13 to engage in sexual intercourse with another person there’s a heightened charge of rape of a minor. If the offender was over 18 years of age and convicted of that rape of a minor charge then the punishment is a mandatory minimum of life in jail.
That’s obviously a very harsh punishment and is more severe than a rape with an adult victim.