In Virginia, there are a number of crimes that fall under the classification of sexual assault crimes. These crimes are often charged as felonies that are punished by lengthy prison sentences and large fines if you are convicted. In addition, a conviction can also affect your ability to obtain employment, housing, and a security clearance long after you complete your sentence. Given the harsh penalties and long-term consequences you face if arrested for sexual assault, it’s important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you mount a strong defense.
Sexual Battery Penalties
Like the crime of assault and battery, sexual battery involves an unwanted or offensive touch, but there are other different elements of this crime. It is considered sexual abuse to intentionally touch the victim’s intimate parts or force the victim to touch someone else’s intimate parts. Under Virginia Code Section 18.2-67.4, a person can be charged with sexual assault if he sexually abuses someone in the following situations:
- Sexually assaults someone against her will through the use of force, threat, intimidation, or ruse
- Sexually assaults the same person more than one time or sexually assaults more than one person without their consent, either within a two-year period
- Sexually assaults an inmate if the accused is in a position of authority over the victim
- Sexually assaults a parolee, probationer, or pre-trial defendant where the offender is in a position of authority over the victim
Sexual assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor that can be punished by a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500. If the act is not completed, a person can be charged with attempted sexual assault, which can result in slightly less serious penalties.
Aggravated Sexual Battery Penalties
The elements of aggravated sexual battery are the same as for sexual battery, but other requirements must also be met. It can be charged in one of these circumstances:
- The victim is a child under 13 years old
- The victim is physically or mentally disabled
- The accused is the victim’s parent, step-parent, or grandparent
Aggravated sexual battery is charged as a felony, and the punishment can be up to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $100,000.
Sexual Battery When Infected Penalties
There is a separate crime for infecting a sexual partner with sexually-transmitted disease such as HIV, syphilis, or hepatitis B. If a person knows he has one of these diseases and has sexual or anal intercourse with another person, he can be charged with this offense. If he intentionally infected the person, he would be charged with a Class 6 felony and could be sentenced to one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. If the act was unintentional, the crime would be a Class 1 misdemeanor with punishments similar to those for sexual battery.
Rape is an extremely serious felony crime that can be committed by having unwanted sexual intercourse with the victim or causing the victim to have sexual intercourse with another individual. Under Virginia Code Section 18.2-61, rape can be charged if one of the following conditions is met:
- The sexual intercourse is against the victim’s will by the use of force, threats, or intimidation.
- The victim is under 13 years old.
- The acts were performed through the use of the victim’s physical incapacity or mental incapacity.
If convicted of rape, a person can be sentenced from five years to life in prison.
Requirement to Register With Virginia Sex Offender Registry
If you are convicted of a sexual assault crime, you will also be required to register as a sex offender with the Sex Offender Registry. If you violate this requirement, you could be charged with another offense. A first offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500.
If you’ve been charged with a sexual assault crime in Midlothian, you may have strong defenses even if you believe you’re guilty. Let me mount an aggressive defense strategy for you that could result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Call my office, or start a live chat to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how I can help you.