Sexual Assault Laws in Virginia

In Virginia, sexual assault crimes (known as sexual battery in Virginia) are divided into categories based on the severity of the crime and various other factual differences. Sexual assault crimes are taken extremely seriously in Virginia and a conviction of any type of sex crime will have a severe impact on your life.

A sexual assault conviction will not just result in a prison sentence and/or large fine, a conviction could also potentially require you to register as a sex offender which will impact your life in many aspects, from job prospects to where you are allowed to live.

For consultation on sexual assault laws in Virginia, call 202-765-3175 today!

If you are accused of any type of sex offense, not just sexual assault, you cannot afford to face those accusations alone. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will help guide you through this ordeal and will be able to craft a defense strategy designed to raise every possible defense in your favor. A competent defense could be the difference between acquittal or a life changing conviction.

What is sexual assault in Virginia?

In Virginia, sexual assault crimes are codified as sexual battery. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-67.10, sexual battery is defined as “an act committed with the intent to sexually molest, arouse, or gratify any person, where the accused intentionally touches the complaining witness’ intimate parts or material directly covering such intimate parts.” Sexual battery crimes are broken up into different crimes, depending on the situation.


 Simple Sexual Battery

Simple sexual battery is the most basic form of sexual assault in Virginia. This crime occurs when a person intentionally touches another person’s intimate body parts. Simple sexual battery can also occur when a person is forced to touch another person’s intimate body parts using threats or intimidation. An element of this crime is that the touching must be unwanted and against the victim’s will.

Simple sexual battery is a misdemeanor in Virginia. If you are convicted of simple sexual battery, you could face a prison sentence of up to 1 year and could be fined up to $2,500.


Aggravated Sexual Battery

Aggravated sexual battery has the same elements as simple sexual battery, but with some additions. A person commits aggravated sexual battery if their victim was under 13 years old, mentally/physically disabled, or if the person was the victim’s parent, grandparent, or step-parent.

Aggravated sexual battery is a felony. Because aggravated sexual battery victims are more at risk, the punishments are much more severe than simple sexual battery. If you are convicted of aggravated sexual battery, you face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 1 year, and could face up to 20 years in prison, as well a fine of up to $100,000.

What if a person attempts to commit sexual assault but does not succeed?

In Virginia, attempted sexual battery is a misdemeanor. If convicted, the punishments are the same as a simple sexual battery conviction; you could face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.


Sexual Battery and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Virginia legislature has created a separate sexual battery statute concerning the transmission of HIV, syphilis, or hepatitis B. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-67.4:1 it is illegal for a person with one of these STIs to have any type of sexual contact with another person without disclosing the existence of their STI.

It is a felony for a person with one of these STIs to have any type of sexual contact with another person with the intent to transmit the infection. If you are convicted of this felony, you face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 1 year and could face up to 5 years in prison. In addition, you could face a fine of up to $2,500.

If you have one of these STIs and have any type of sexual contact with another person without disclosing your disease, but there is no intent to transmit the disease, it is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this misdemeanor, you could face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Defense Strategies in Sexual Assault Cases

Crafting a defense in sexual assault cases requires acute legal acumen, given the severe implications of the charges. Defense attorneys might focus on inconsistencies in the accuser’s testimony or the lack of physical evidence to challenge the prosecution’s case.

Another common strategy is demonstrating the presence of consent, which requires thorough investigation and sensitive presentation of evidence. Legal defenses may also include alibi evidence where the accused can prove they were elsewhere when the alleged incident occurred.

Each strategy hinges on the specifics of the case and the skilled interpretation of the law, underscoring the necessity for experienced legal counsel.


Guide to Sentencing and Legal Repercussions for Sexual Assault in Virginia

Virginia law delineates clear penalties for sexual assault, ranging from substantial fines to lengthy prison sentences. The minimum sentence for a convicted individual can start from five years in prison, escalating to life imprisonment based on the severity of the offense and aggravating factors.

Additionally, fines can reach up to $100,000. Beyond the direct legal consequences, a sexual assault conviction carries mandatory registration as a sex offender, profoundly impacting employment, housing, and social relationships.

Understanding the spectrum of potential legal outcomes is critical for those navigating these charges.

Does a sexual battery conviction mean I have to register as a sex offender?

Being convicted of any of these crimes could potentially result in you being required to register as a sex offender. The more severe the crime you are convicted of, the more likely it is that you will be required to register. The sex offender registry is a publicly viewable registry and is a lifelong punishment. Your inclusion on it will be detrimental to your life. It could legally prevent you from holding certain jobs and from living in certain areas and could stop you from being hired at any job or living in any area.


Hiring a criminal defense lawyer

The punishments that come with a sexual battery conviction in Virginia are life-altering. You need to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer fighting on your behalf. The best criminal defense attorney will be able to investigate every piece of information in your case and will craft the best defense strategy that could be the difference between your freedom and lifelong punishments.

Attorney Gretchen Pousson of Scrofano Law PC is an experienced criminal defense attorney and has over a decade of expertise defending the people of Northern Virginia. Attorney Pousson has successfully handled sexual battery cases across Fairfax, Arlington, Loudon, Prince William and Alexandria counties. If you have been charged with any type of sexual battery, contact Attorney Pousson for a consultation and he will begin building your defense immediately.

Accordingly, if you are under investigation or charged with sex offense in Virginia, it is important you talk to an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney. Contact Gretchen T. Pousson today or call at 202-765-3175 for a full case evaluation.


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