If you or a loved one has recently been sexually assaulted or abused, you may be wondering how Virginia sexual abuse statutes could apply to the criminal prosecution of your offender. Are you struggling with questions like:
- Will the person who sexually abused me go to prison?
- How long will their sentence be?
- Should I consider going to civil court?
Our experienced victims' rights lawyers can help guide you through this difficult time.
Our sexual abuse victims' lawyers help survivors of sexual violence find justice through the civil court system.
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When an innocent victim gets sexually assaulted or suffers sexual abuse as a child, it's normal for the victim and their families to wonder what type of punishment their assaulter may face. Each state has different statutes which are used to prosecute sexual offenders. If you're curious about how Virginia's sexual abuse and sexual assault statutes may apply to the criminal prosecution of your offender, you can find summaries of the state's main statutes below.
Criminal Laws For Sexual Assault & Abuse In Virginia
It's important to remember that these laws frequently change. In order to get a better picture of what to expect from the criminal justice system, you may need to discuss the details of your case with an experienced victims' rights lawyer.
Additionally, a lawyer can help you explore other legal options, such as a sexual abuse lawsuit against the perpetrator or negligent third parties who allowed the abuse to occur (such as negligent supervision at a summer camp, failure to screen employees for a history of sexual offenses, etc.).
From Virginia Beach and Richmond to Charlottesville and Alexandria, our knowledgeable Virginia victims' rights lawyers have experience representing victims of sexual assault in both criminal and civil courts. Partner Brian Kent, Esq. began his legal career as a prosecutor before transitioning to the civil arena. To find out more about how your family can find justice, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
Virginia Child Sexual Abuse Laws
In the majority of cases involving child sexual abuse, the child predator will be prosecuted under one or more of the following laws:
Carnal Knowledge Of A Child Between 13-15 Years Of Age
A person is guilty of this offense if he or she engages in sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or another sexual act with a child between 13-15 years old. This charge can be applied in one of three degrees of severity:
- Class 4 Felony - Carnal knowledge which is committed without the use of force on a child between 13-15 years old. Punishable by 2-10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines
- Class 6 Felony -Carnal knowledge when the minor consents to the act and the defendant is also a minor but at least 3 years older. Punishable by 1-5 years in prison, or in the discretion of the jury or the court, the sentence may be reduced to a maximum of 12 months and up to $2,500 in fines.
- Class 4 Misdemeanor -Carnal knowledge when the offender is also a minor but less than 3 years older. Punishable by 2-10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Penetration Of Mouth Of A Child With Lascivious Intent
Any adult who kisses a child under 13 years old using tongue is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in prison and maximum fines of $2,500.
Sexual Abuse Of A Child Under 15
Any adult who sexually abuses a child between ages 13-15 is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in prison and a maximum of $2,500 in fines.
Taking Indecent Liberties With Children
An adult is guilty of taking indecent liberties with children if he or she commits any of the following acts with a child under the age of 15 years old:
- Exposes their genitals or private parts to any child
- Proposes that a child feels or fondles his own genitals, those of the offender, or those of another child
- Suggests engaging in a sexual act with the child, including sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, and oral intercourse
- Entices, allures, persuades or invites a child to enter any vehicle, room, house, or another place for the purposes of sexual activity
Upon a first conviction, the charge will be a Class 5 felony - punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $2,500.
On subsequent convictions, the charge will be upgraded to a Class 4 felony - punishable by 2-10 years in prison and fines up to $100,000.
General Sexual Assault Laws In Virginia
Sex offenders who victimize adults are usually charged under one of the following five crimes in Virginia, although there are additional criminal sexual assault statutes that may apply.
A person is guilty of sexual battery if he or she sexually abuses a victim under any of the following circumstances:
- Against the victim's will through force, threats, intimidation, or fraud
- Abuses multiple victims within a two-year period
- The victim is an inmate and the offender is an employee of a correctional facility
- The victim is on probation or parole and the offender is an employee of the Department of Corrections, a probation agency, or pretrial services agency, is in a position of authority over the victim, and knows that the victim is under the supervision of one of these parties.
This Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in prison and maximum fines of $2,500.
An accused person can be convicted of forcible sodomy if they engage in anal or oral sex under any of the following circumstances:
- The victim is younger than 13 years old
- The act is committed against the will of the victim through force, threats, or intimidation of the victim or another person, or
- Through exploiting the victim's mental incapacity or physical helplessness.
This felony is punishable by 5 years to life in prison.
Object Sexual Penetration
A person is considered guilty of object sexual penetration if they use any inanimate or animate object to penetrate a victim's genitals or anus under either of the following circumstances:
- The victim is younger than 13 years old
- The act is committed against the victim's will through force, threats, or intimidation against the witness or any other person
- The victim is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless
This felony is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison.
In Virginia, a person is guilty of rape if they engage in sexual intercourse with another person under any of the following circumstances:
- Against the victim's will by the use of force, threats, or intimidation against the victim or any other person
- Through the exploitation of the witness' mental incapacity or physical helplessness
- With a child under 13 years old
This felony is punishable by a minimum of 5 years and maximum of life in prison.
Infected Sexual Battery
In Virginia, it's a crime for anyone who is knowingly infected with HIV, syphilis, or hepatitis B to engage in sexual intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex with another person with the intent to transmit the disease. This is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
It's also illegal for someone infected with one of these diseases to engage in sexual intercourse with another person without notifying them about their disease. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in prison and fines up to $2,500.