A conviction for a serious criminal offense in Dale City can have a negative impact on your future and those of your loved ones. Being accused of sex crimes in particular can have widespread effects on your life.
If you have been charged with such an offense, you can benefit from contacting a knowledgeable Dale City sex crimes lawyer in an effort to potentially avoid jail time, fines, and other serious consequences. Steve Duckett is an aggressive criminal defense attorney who will work tirelessly to protect your best interests in a court of law.
Sexual Offenses and the Law
There are two types of sex crimes in Virginia: forcible and non-forcible offenses. According to statistics compiled by Virginia state police in a report that you can view by clicking here, there were 5,093 forcible sex offenses and 196 non-forcible sex offenses reported in 2012.
The first category includes, but is not limited to, forcible rape, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, and forcible sodomy. Incest and statutory rape are non-forcible sex crimes. Penalties for these crimes vary from probation to life in prison.
The circumstances of the case, including the victim’s age, the nature of the crime, and the defendant’s criminal history can impact the severity of the punishment. An experienced Dale City sex crimes lawyer can evaluate your case and assist you in making the best choices as your case moves through the legal system.
Penalties for Sexual Offenses
Rape, forcing any person, including a spouse, to have sex against their will, is one of just many sex crimes that carry strict penalties, including a potential sentence of life in prison. Sex crimes against children are considered especially heinous. For instance, a person who is convicted of raping or having carnal knowledge of minors, including engaging in sex acts such as intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex, face harsh penalties.
Sexual assault or abuse of a person under the age of 13 carries a prison term of no less than five years. Those found guilty of sex crimes with victims under the age of 13 and are at least three years older than their victims may face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years. If the convicted person is over 18, a judge could order the person to serve a life sentence.
Forcible sodomy, which includes anal penetration and oral sex, also carries strict penalties. Similar to rape offenses, sodomy charges can be filed if the victim of the acts is the person’s spouse. Conviction of these crimes carries a potential penalty of five years to life in prison. Punishments can be much higher in cases that involve minors and aggravating circumstances. In these cases, an offender may be subject to a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 25 years. More information about these offenses can be found in the Code of Virginia.
The penalties also are high for offenders who are in positions of power, such as employees at state or local jails, juvenile justice centers, judicial agencies, probation or parole departments, or similar agencies. Employees or volunteers who have non-forcible sexual contact with any person in their custody or under their supervision, such as a parolee or inmate, may be found guilty of a serious felony. Due to the delicate nature surrounding these types of offenses, it would be beneficial to seek assistance from an experienced sex crimes lawyer should you be charged with such crimes.
Registering as a Sex Offender
In addition to harsh penalties, a number of sex crime convictions require registration in the state’s Sex Offender and Crimes against Minors Registry program. This is a database that makes information about offenders who have been convicted of certain violent and sexual crimes available to the public. Sex crime convictions that require a person to register as a sex offender include:
- Abduction for Immoral Purpose;
- Carnal Knowledge of Minor (Victim ages 13-14) where the perpetrator is more than five years older than the victim;
- Forcible Sodomy;
- Object Sexual Penetration;
- Aggravated Sexual Battery;
- Sexual Contact (Victim under 13);
- Sexual Battery where the offender is at least 18 and the victim is under the age of six;
- Attempted rape, aggravated sexual battery;
- Production, distribution of child pornography.
How a Dale City Sex Crimes Attorney Can Help
Getting arrested for a sex offense can be a traumatic event. Anxiety and fear can often lead people to make the mistake of discussing facts of their cases with authorities before retaining counsel. Incriminating statements made by charged individuals may end up being used against them in court; therefore, if you have been charged with a sexual offense, contacting an experienced Dale City sex crimes lawyer immediately may help you understand your options.