Manassas Statutory Rape Attorney

Statutory rape is an antiquated term these days. Rape of a minor really is not what most people think. “Rape” is something that only applies in cases where the victim is under the age of 13. However, many of the times statutory rape is not contemplating someone who is a child, but rather someone who is a teenager. It is usually a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship where the two parties are separated by only a couple of years. Under most circumstances, the sex in a statutory rape scenario is considered by both parties to be consensual.

Because of this, these cases can become very complicated. Virginia has criminalized sex between a teenager and an adult; however, it is not as significant of a charge criminally as rape is considered. However, a person who is facing a statutory rape charge in Manassas should not face this situation alone. An experienced and communicative Manassas statutory rape attorney can provide much needed guidance and support throughout the process.

Romeo and Juliet Laws in Manassas

Romeo and Juliet laws are designed to protect romantic relationships where there is consensual sex between people of a similar age. There are many people who consider it unfair to criminalize individuals where there are consensual sex acts, particularly cases where the ages are comparable. Thus, lots of states create exemptions for people who are close in age to one another even if one is a child and one is an adult.

Virginia has a version of the Romeo and Juliet law that criminalizes all sex with minors, but the penalties are more severe when charged with these crimes if the age gap is greater. For example, it can be inferred that a consensual sexual relationship between people who are between 15 and 18 years old is less of a crime under the law. If the person is 18 or older, that can be considered as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. It is a criminal charge, but it is not as severe of a charge if the person is under the age of 15. If the person is between 13 and 15 and person with whom they are having sex is 18 that is a Class 4 Felony.

How Statutory Rape Differs From Other Rape Charges

What sets a lot of statutory rape cases in Manassas apart is the fact that the alleged victim consented to the act as it was going on. In many cases, the victim did more than consent; they were willing and able to participate in the sex that the government alleges is criminal. In those cases, very often the alleged victim wants nothing to do with the prosecution and has little intention of assisting the prosecution. In many cases, the alleged victim is the defendant’s greatest ally.

Prosecution of Statutory Rape

Statutory rapes is prosecuted very harshly in Manassas and law enforcement officials take these cases very seriously. They have detectives who are part of a task force that includes both federal and state agencies that deal specifically with child-based sex crimes, including child pornography charges, solicitation of minors over the internet, and contact sex crimes, such as indecent liberties with a child and sexual assaults that involve children.

Penalties for Statutory Rape

By statute, they are far less significant than rape, which has a penalty of five years to life. Most statutory rape cases in Virginia range from a Class 1 Misdemeanor to a Class 4 Felony, and all are punished much less severely than rape. There are too many different variables and equations that go into calculating what the penalty might be, because it depends greatly upon the ages of the two people who had sex. But under no circumstances will a so-called statutory rape charge be punished as severely as rape.

Building a Defense

Every case is different, so the Manassas statutory rape lawyer has to rely on a process to go through it. The first step is finding out exactly what happened, what pieces of evidence the government has, and what is driving the prosecution, like the alleged victim’s family or word that got out around school? Lots of times these cases are built on hearsay, especially if the alleged victim does not want the alleged perpetrator prosecuted.

There are too many variables to lay out exactly how an attorney is going to go about defending a case like this. They will thoroughly investigate and find out everything that everybody involved is saying. They will find out what the motivation is behind the prosecution and who is driving it. Once they have all that information, they can layout a road map that will hopefully result in acquittal.

Hiring a Manassas Statutory Rape Attorney

Someone should look for a statutory rape lawyer that has local Manassas experience. Experience goes a long way in cases like these, particularly experience in knowing how to deal with the judicial system as a whole and dealing with the challenging, emotional evidence that surrounds all sex cases. A Manassas statutory rape lawyer that has been through cases like this will have a much better sense of how best to proceed and how best to address each piece of evidence in the case.