Sexual Assault Lawyer Fairfax, VA

Sexual Assault Lawyer Fairfax, VA

A Sexual Assault Lawyer Fairfax, Va Explains Virginia Criminal Law

There are several forms of this category of sexual assault that a sexual assault lawyer Fairfax, Va will be required to defend – ranging from serious felonies to misdemeanors. (In Virginia, sexual assault is generally sexual contact without consent).

Note: Our lawyers practice in Fairfax, and all other counties of Virginia. We have offices in Fairfax, Arlington, and Staunton. We reference Fairfax, Va. in this article because it is the largest jurisdiction in Virginia with the most rigid procedures. Work done to Fairfax standards meets or exceeds the standards in every other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth, so it is common to use it as a benchmark.

The most serious crime is Rape (Virginia Code § 18.2-61). To prove Rape, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the defendant had sexual intercourse with the complaining witness (or caused one to engage in sexual intercourse with another person); and
  • That it was against her will and without her consent; and
  • That it was by force, threat or intimidation.

The punishment range for Rape is from 5 years in prison to life in prison. Obviously, when one is charged with Rape, he is forced to engage in “bet your life” litigation and must hire a solid sexual assault lawyer Fairfax, Va. (Even in cases where there is no good defense, an attorney is necessary to fight for the most appropriate sentence for a particular case. Five years in prison is very different than life in prison).

In cases where there was no actual intercourse, the prosecutor could bring charges of Forcible Sodomy under Virginia Code § 18.2-67.1, which covers forced, non-consensual acts of oral sex or anal sex, and carries the same penalty as Rape. A prosecutor could also bring charges of Object Sexual Penetration under Virginia Code § 18.2-67.2, which covers placement of any animate object (such as a finger) or inanimate object (such as a dildo) into a woman’s vagina or any person’s anus, without consent, and by force, threat, or intimidation. The punishment for this is the same as for Rape. A sexual assault lawyer Fairfax, Va will use different defenses for each of these crimes. There is different evidence available (or expected) from intercourse versus oral sex, for example.

(A prosecutor can also bring charges of Attempted Rape where there was no actual intercourse, but where the accused tried to have it).

The alleged Rape of a Child is both easier for a prosecutor to prove, and the resulting punishment more is more severe. The main difference is that it doesn’t matter if the child (under 13 years of age) consented to the intercourse or not, or if force, threat or, intimidation was used or not. A skilled sexual assault lawyer Fairfax, Va is critical for these cases because the prosecutor need only prove the child’s age and that the adult had intercourse with her. The punishment for Rape of a Child is life in prison (a judge can suspend a portion of the life sentence).

Sexual assault of a child does not require actual (or attempted intercourse) to be a crime. While it is not “rape,” it is unlawful to have a wide variety of sexual acts with a child between the age of 13 and 15. This is called Carnal Knowledge of a Child and the crime is listed in Virginia Code § 18.2-63. The punishment range for violations is 2 years to 10 years and a fine of up to $100,000.

Increasingly, police are charging people with Rape on the theory that the victim was too drunk or drugged to consent. The sexual assault lawyer Fairfax, Va defending such a case must distinguish between a bona fide rape of an unconscious victim, or the increasingly common phenomena of a consenting “victim” who changes her mind and embellishes her intoxication to make her feel better about ill advised, yet consensual sex. To prove Rape of an Incapacitated Person, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the defendant had sexual intercourse with the victim; and
  • That at the time the victim was mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; and
  • That at the time of the offense the defendant knew or should have known the victim was mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; and
  • That the sexual intercourse was accomplished through the use of the complaining witness’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness.

In addition to intercourse, oral, and anal sex, it is illegal to merely touch another person’s intimate parts (or the clothing above them) without consent. This is called Sexual Abuse. In its most extreme form, Aggravated Sexual Battery (Virginia Code § 18.2-67.3), the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the defendant sexually abused the victim; and
  • That it was against her will; and
  • That it was by force, threat, or intimidation; and
  • That the defendant caused serious bodily or mental injury to the victim (or used or threatened to use a dangerous weapon).
  • That the victim was at least 13 but less than 15 years old. (This means that no injury or weapon is necessary for the prosecutor to prove this crime involving a child-victim).

The punishment range is from 1 year to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

A sexual assault lawyer Fairfax, Va will always try to win these cases, of course. However, the stakes are very high with many of these crimes punishable by up to life in prison. So, a good sexual assault lawyer Fairfax, Va will always look for ways to persuade the prosecutor to reduce the charge from a felony down to a misdemeanor, such as Sexual Battery under Virginia Code § 18.2-67.4. To prove Sexual Battery, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the defendant sexually abused the victim; and
  • That it was against her will; and
  • That it was by force, threat, intimidation, or ruse.

The punishment for this misdemeanor ranges from probation to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Obviously, this is very different from the other felonies. In addition, the felonies all carry as part of the punishment a requirement that the defendant be placed on the Sex Offender Registry. However, Sexual Battery does not contain a registry requirement. A sexual assault lawyer Fairfax, Va can help make sense of this, of course.

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