Virginia Federal Sex Crimes Lawyer
State courts, which are located in cities and counties, generally hear cases that involve individuals, such as robberies, family disputes, and theft. Federal courts try cases that involve the U.S. Constitution and laws passed by Congress. Generally, federal courts handle more serious cases than do the state courts, and the penalties are more severe. It is possible for a person to be tried at either the state or federal court level for some crimes. Such is the case with many sex offenses which may it important to contact a Virginia federal sex crimes lawyer. To learn more or begin building a defense for your case consult with a federal attorney today.
Federal Sex Crime Charges
The more aggravated or serious sex crimes are tried at the federal level in the United States. A federal conviction for a sex crime not only involves prison and fines, but also a requirement that the offender be included in the national sex offender registry. The registry contains the offender’s name and address, description of the crime he or she committed, and a photograph of the offender. Once on the registry, that information is not removed for many years. In addition, a convicted sex offender may have limits placed on where he or she may live – for example in most jurisdictions, offenders may not live close to schools.
A federal conviction for a sex crime can also mean a sentence spent in a federal Bureau of Prisons medical center, which treats both sex offenders and the mentally ill. As a Virginia federal sex crimes attorney can also tell you, a sex crime conviction can mean forced enrollment in the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-R) or the Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP).
Child Pornography and Child Abuse
Federal sex crimes include child pornography and child abuse. Child pornography statutes, listed as Obscene Visual Representation of the Sexual Abuse of Children (section 1466A), make it a crime to have or distribute photographs, films, or the like that show a minor engaged in sexual activity of any kind. Conviction brings a fine and a possible prison sentence of between five years and 20 years. For a second offense, prison time can be 15 to 40 years. Child abuse, listed as Sexual Abuse of a Minor or Ward (section 2243), targets anyone who has sexual intercourse with someone between the ages of 12 and 16. The punishment is a fine and/or jail time up to one year. As a defense, the person charged or their Virginia federal sex crimes attorney may assert that he or she was married to the minor at the time of the offense or that he or she believed the other person was 16 or older.
Federal sex crimes also include Coercion and Enticement (section 2422), Aggravated Sexual Abuse (section 2241), and Abusive Sexual Contact (section 2344). Coercion and enticement cover persuading and inducing someone to travel across state lines for the purpose of engaging in a sexual activity that is against the law, such as prostitution. A fine and/or a prison sentence up to 20 years is the prescribed punishment. Aggravated sexual abuse refers to using force against someone for a sexual act, having sex with a person under the age of 12, or crossing a state line for sex with a person under 12. Imprisonment for these charges can bring a term of life imprisonment. Abusive sexual contact means having sex with someone without that person’s legal consent, such as rape. It also includes sex with a minor or ward or a person under the age of 12. The penalties are varying degrees of Fines and/or imprisonment.
How a Virginia Federal Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Help
A charge brought for a federal sex crime can be a life-changing experience. A conviction can mean a stigma that is never erased as well as limitations on jobs and living conditions. Even the possession of one piece of child pornography can bring a long prison term. Anyone who is charged with a federal sex crime in Virginia should immediately contact a federal criminal lawyer who is experienced with the laws that govern these crimes. You need someone who can defend your rights and has the know-how to lead you through the rules and regulations that govern federal sex crimes in Virginia.