Fairfax sex crimes lawyer

If you were charged with a sex crime in Fairfax, call us right away at (855) 541-4867 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about different charges, defenses, and the potential consequences that accompany a conviction. Our Fairfax criminal defense lawyers are here for you.

What to do after being arrested

The severity of the penalties for committing a sex crime can’t be overstated. If you’ve been charged, you need to contact the Fairfax criminal defense attorneys at Select Law Partners PLLC as soon as possible. It’s essential to your case that if you’re arrested on allegations of committing a sex crime, you:
  • Don’t make any statements to law enforcement without an attorney present.
  • If you are arrested or law enforcement wants to question you, ask for an attorney immediately.
  • Call an attorney right away if you find out about an accusation or believe one may be forthcoming.
  • Remain calm and polite to the officers while you wait for your attorney but do not talk about your case.
  • Do not resist law enforcement, but make clear for their body worn cameras that you do not consent to any search without a warrant.
Law enforcement may require a person to submit to a DNA swab. They may ask you to consent to a DNA swab. You do not have to allow them to do a DNA swab unless they have a valid search warrant granting them the right to recover your DNA. Particularly when the police have no evidence besides the accuser’s story, the police will try to get you to say something incriminating. If you make any statements, the prosecution will use them against you, possibly hindering your ability to use certain defenses that your attorney might have otherwise asserted. fairfax sex crimes lawyer

Types of sex crimes in Virginia

Sexual assault or battery

Sexual assault or sexual battery occurs when:
  • A person commits an act in order to be sexually aroused or gratified, and
  • The accused intentionally touches the victim’s intimate body parts or material directly covering intimate body parts
Sexual battery charges are sometimes further delineated based on the crime, most commonly “simple” or “aggravated” sexual assault.

Simple sexual battery

Simple sexual battery occurs when someone intentionally touches another person’s intimate body parts, or when threats or intimidation is used to force someone to touch the intimate parts of another person. The touching must be completely unwanted and against the victim’s will.

Aggravated sexual battery

Aggravated sexual battery has the same elements as simple sexual battery, but with additional factors. Sexual battery is “aggravated” if the victim is under the age of 13, is disabled (either physically or mentally), or if they are the victim’s parent, step-parent, or grandparent.
Simple sexual battery Aggravated sexual battery
  • Misdemeanor
  • $2,500 fine
  • Up to 1 year in prison
  • Felony
  • $100,000 fine
  • 1-20 years in prison

Rape

Rape occurs when a person has sex with another person (even their spouse) or forces a person to have sex with another person, and:
  • Uses force, threat, or intimidation, OR
  • Uses the victim’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness to force the act, OR
  • Involves a child under the age of 13
A person convicted of rape must register with the Virginia Sex Offender Registry. This can severely impact the chances of finding a job or a place to live, and it will have effects on child custody orders if they have children. A rape conviction carries a possible sentence range of 5 year to life imprisonment. If the rape occurs during an abduction, a burglary, or a malicious wounding, then the punishment will carry a mandatory minimum 25 years in prison. Different types of rape are recognized under state law, including carnal knowledge of a child and date rape. It’s important to note that “statutory rape” is not a legal term in the state of Virginia, but the two charges we discuss below are similar to other states’ statutory rape charges.

Carnal knowledge

“Carnal knowledge” includes sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, and sexual penetration with an object. It is a crime for an adult to have carnal knowledge of a minor who is between 15 and 18 years old. It is a more serious felony if the minor is 13 to 15 years old. In Virginia it is not a defense that the defendant thought the minor was 18 years or older. A defendant can be convicted of these offenses even if the minor lied to them about their age.
Carnal Knowledge 15-18 years old Carnal Knowledge 13-15 years old
  • Class 6 Felony
  • $2,500 fine
  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Class 5 Felon
  • $2,500 fine
  • Up to 10 years in prison

Romeo and Juliet exception

Virginia has a “Romeo and Juliet” exception to carnal knowledge. The law is designed to protect teens under the age of 18 who engage in consensual sex. However, the consenting minor can’t be more than three years younger than the accused person.
Carnal knowledge Romeo and Juliet exception
  • Felony
  • $100,000 fine
  • 2-10 year prison sentence
  • Misdemeanor
  • Fine
  • Jail sentence

Date rape

Although it falls under the category of general rape, date rape includes some unique factors:
  • The alleged victim and perpetrator know each other–that can mean acquaintances, people who just met, new or long-term romantic partners, friends, or spouses.
  • The use or threat of force or intimidation is not necessary. The charge will apply if the alleged victim was under the influence of drugs or alcohol (voluntary or otherwise) or was physically or mentally incapacitated at the time of the act.
A date rape charge can be very complex because one of the main issues in contention is whether or not the alleged victim consented to sex or was capable of consenting. For example, it could’ve been an honest misunderstanding involved where the alleged perpetrator truly believed there was consent and they were unaware that they were committing a crime. Due to its complexity and intricacies, it’s important to protect yourself and present the strongest defenses by hiring a Fairfax sex crimes lawyer from Select Law Partners PLLC.

Possession of child pornography

It’s a felony to knowingly possess any item that shows the sexual exploitation or abuse of a minor. Items include:
  • Photos
  • Movies
  • Drawings
  • Sculptures
  • Undeveloped film
Possession is all that’s required for a conviction–the prosecutor doesn’t need to prove that the perpetrator committed any act other than having the pornographic material in their possession. A first offense is charged as a class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine not to exceed $2,500. A second offense is a class 5 felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine not to exceed $2,500 fine. If someone distributes child pornography then they can face a punishment between 5 and 20 years in prison. Any second or subsequent violation can result in another 5 to 20 year prison sentence with 5 years being mandatory. If a person is charged with production of child pornography the potential sentences are even more severe and can include varying maximum sentences and some mandatory minimum sentences based on the age of the child victim and the age of the individual charged with producing the child pornography.

Internet-related sex offenses

Social media apps and websites make it easier for perpetrators to arrange meetings with other people for sex or to exchange sexual materials–and all often under the guise of being someone else or “catfishing.” fairfax sex crimes lawyer internet The most prevalent of these internet-related sex crimes is when someone communicates with a minor in an effort to achieve some sort of sexual gratification. The mere act of soliciting a child online and trying to entice them into meeting for a sexual act is a crime, even if the meeting never happens. Online communication could be enough to result in a conviction. There are many different types of activities that fall into the category of online solicitation, including:
  • Suggesting the minor expose their genitals to a perpetrator,
  • Asking the minor to touch their genitals while the perpetrator watches,
  • Asking the minor to perform a sexual act, such as oral sex or intercourse,
  • Attempting to entice a minor to go into a confined area and perform a sexual act.
An arrest for online solicitation could also result in a charge of possessing child pornography. To secure a conviction for solicitation, the prosecution will need to prove the following elements, beyond a reasonable doubt:
  • The communication occurred through a computer network or another form of digital communication such as an app
  • The minor child was solicited to perform a prohibited sexual act through the use of a computer or digital device
  • The person being solicited was under the age of 18
  • The perpetrator either knew or had a substantial reason to believe the person being solicited was a minor
There are several factors that will be considered when issuing a sentence following a conviction for an internet-based sex crime involving a minor. These include:
  • The age of the child – If under 15 years old, the maximum punishment will likely be enforced.
  • The type of sexual activity that was solicited – The intent of the solicitor’s actions could have a substantial impact on the sentencing.
  • Criminal history – If the offender has a prior conviction for either soliciting a minor, or any other type of internet-related sex crime, they could face the maximum sentence.

“Sexting” is legal, but inherently risky

“Sexting” (sending or receiving sexually-explicit images through a phone or computer) is a well-known behavior among sexually active adults and even teenagers, but many people don’t realize they can put themselves at risk of charges even if they send a picture to another consenting adult. After an image is sent, the sender loses all control over who sees it. The recipient’s child might view the image, or it could be re-sent to someone underage. This could result in a criminal charge being filed against the sender of the photo. If a 17-year-old sends a nude photo to an 18-year-old, the 18-year-old risks being charged with possession of child pornography. Similarly, if the 18-year-old sends a photo to a 17-year-old, they also can face charges for sending sexual content to a minor. Federal charges could also be involved since the image might have traveled across state lines to different servers. Sexting might seem fun and harmless, but it’s best to not engage in that behavior because it could have harsh, unintended consequences.

Rape or object sexual penetration of a minor under 13 years old

Since the abolition of the death penalty in Virginia, this is the most serious crime in the Virginia code based on the punishment for the crime. The prosecution must present evidence that the child was under 13 years old at the time of the offense and the perpetrator was 18 years of age or older. If the prosecution can prove that the perpetrator penetrated the mouth, vagina, or anus of the alleged victim then a conviction will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

Possible defense strategies

An arrest and charge for a sex crime doesn’t guarantee a conviction. If you hire one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Select Law Partners PLLC, they can assert all possible defenses in the hopes of getting your charges dropped or reduced.

Unlawful search or seizure

If you were charged with possessing child pornography, the police may have searched your home and computer for images or seized your smartphone. If you’re facing a rape charge, police might have taken your clothing, phone, personal belongings, or searched your car or home. fairfax sex crime attorney evidence Your attorney may challenge any evidence that was obtained during those initial searches if it appears that it was wrongly obtained in violation of your rights. In the event of an unlawful search or seizure, evidence gathered could be suppressed so that it can’t be used against you. If the police didn’t have a proper search warrant, or if they obtained evidence that was outside the scope of the warrant, that may qualify as an illegal search and seizure.

Contradictory or untruthful statements from witnesses

Sex crimes often come down to a case of “he said, she said” when there are no other witnesses due to the intimate nature of the circumstances. As a result, you’ll need an attorney who knows how to conduct a thorough investigation to uncover what truly happened. Part of this investigation will include looking for inconsistencies in the accuser’s statements, or even questioning whether you were mistakenly identified as the perpetrator. Some accusers are motivated to create a false narrative because they want to ruin a defendant’s life for some perceived slight or infidelity. Others take out false charges to get an upper hand in a divorce or property dispute. In circumstances where children are involved, the possibility of an adult coaching the child exists. Parents are sometimes willing to go to extreme lengths for their children, and sometimes accusations appear in the midst of a child custody dispute. A skilled criminal defense attorney will explore those motivations and expose any reason an accuser might not tell the truth.

Consent

Consent is an absolute defense to sex crimes that don’t involve children. If the alleged victim agreed to have sex, or engage in a sexual act, then the accused should not be charged in the first place. However, in most cases, consent is a gray area, and in the moment consent may have been subjective to both parties. Consent can be a critical question if the prosecution alleges that the alleged victim lacked the capacity to consent either due to drugs or alcohol, lacked mental capacity, or because they were unconscious. The consumption of drugs or alcohol does not uniformly mean that a person lacked the capacity to consent, but additional factors such as how the alleged victim was acting, whether they were stumbling, slurring words, or non-verbal can support the prosecution’s position that you knew or should have known that the alleged victim was not in a state in which they could consent. Other factors may support your position that there was consent. The fact that you were engaged in an intimate relationship with the accuser, consistent verbal consent before or during the sexual acts, or your lack of knowledge that the accuser had imbibed are all factors that may go in your favor. If you have the least bit of doubt about a prospective sexual partner’s mental state and their ability to consent, do not engage in any sexual acts. That protects them and protects yourself from any misunderstanding. If a misunderstanding has already taken place, contact an attorney immediately.

Children motivated into making false accusations

Minors will sometimes make false accusations of sex crime because they’ve been pressured or intimidated by an adult, they’ve been coached, or they think that they won’t get in trouble for something they did if they make an accusation of someone else. Accusations that occur in the midst of divorce or custody disputes should be considered with additional skepticism. Suggestive or biased police interviews of children could soil an investigation. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be prepared to expose practices by law enforcement or an adverse guardian that may have been unduly suggestive or manipulative.

Arrested for a sex crime? Call us immediately.

Contact a criminal defense lawyer with Select Law Partners PLLC as quickly as you can following an arrest. Call (855) 541-4867 or use the online contact form to schedule a consultation.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Click here for full disclaimer or view our Privacy Policy

Main Offices:

FREDERICKSBURG OFFICE
910 Littlepage Street
Suite A
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Hours: M-Th 9a-5p, Fr 9a-1p

FAIRFAX OFFICE:
4085 Chain Bridge Road
Suite 300
Fairfax, VA 22030
Hours: M-Th 9a-5p, Fr 9a-1p

© Select Law Partners, PLLC. All rights reserved.