Understand the Consequences of a Sex Crimes Conviction
Any criminal conviction can have serious consequences, but sex crimes convictions often have a much more significant impact on the lives of those convicted and their families. More than 50 Virginia sex crimes require sex offender registration, which may include limitations on where the registrant can live, work, or even visit.
Sex offender registration also triggers a complicated list of reporting obligations, and failure to comply with registration requirements is a crime itself—in some cases, a felony. And, of course, public registration can have serious social consequences.
The possible consequences associated with sex crimes have increased with the growth of the #metoo movement and the increasing public attention on sexual assault and other sex crimes. Courts and prosecutors are under growing pressure to treat every sex crime accusation seriously, and the personal cost of a “sex offender” label is mounting as well. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime, you can’t afford to delay or hope for the best. Take the first step toward protecting yourself and your future right now, by scheduling a free consultation with Attorney Ali J. Amirshahi.
Commonly-Charged Sex Crimes in Virginia
Virginia law prohibits dozens of sex-related acts, ranging from forcible rape to prostitution to sexual activity with a prisoner. Some of the most commonly-charged serious sex crimes are:
The crime of rape may occur in three ways:
- When sexual intercourse is accomplished through force or threat of force
- When sexual intercourse is accomplished through the victim’s incapacity
- When the victim is under the age of 13, regardless of force or coercion
The sentence for rape is 5 years to life in prison, with higher mandatory minimum sentences where child victims are involved.
Sexual Battery and Aggravated Sexual Battery
Sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and involves non-intercourse sexual contact with another person without his or her consent. The crime is elevated to aggravated sexual battery under several circumstances, including when the victim is under the age of 13, when the act is accomplished due to the victim’s physical or mental incapacity, when force or intimidation is used, and when the victim is 13 or older but less than 18 and the abuser is a parent, grandparent, or step-parent or grandparent.
Aggravated sexual battery is a felony and carries a potential sentence of 1-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Carnal Knowledge of a Minor
Carnal knowledge of a minor involves sexual intercourse or any other listed sexual activity with a minor aged 13 or 14, without the use of force. The classification of the offense and the possible penalties vary depending on the age difference between the victim and the perpetrator. If the age difference is less than 3 years, the crime is a Class 4 misdemeanor. However, if the age difference is 3 years or more, the accused will be charged with a Class 6 felony.
If the age difference is 5 years or more, sex offender registration is required.
Special Considerations for Virginia College Students
Increased attention to sexual assault on college campuses and some recent changes in Virginia law have created new concerns for college students accused of sex crimes. These include:
- More stringent policies involving Title IX reporting and investigation. For example, the University of Virginia’s (UVA’s) policy states that it will pursue Formal Resolution in every case in which the complainant requests it.
- Legal reporting and communication requirements that increase the likelihood that a campus allegation will lead to criminal charges.
- A legal requirement that the transcript of any student suspended or expelled as the result of a sexual assault allegation or who voluntarily withdraws from the University during such an investigation be prominently marked with that information.
Many of these measures offer real help to people who have suffered trauma, such as Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU’s) initiation of the first campus-based You Have Options reporting process. But, the increased effort to protect victims also means that anyone accused of a campus assault—accurately or not—faces significant risks and challenges.