In this article, you can find out:
- How the state of Virginia defines rape, and what the potential penalties for rape can be.
- What type of evidence can be gathered to help build a defense against rape allegations you may be facing.
- How online sex crimes with a minor could land you in legal trouble, even if you live outside of Virginia.
How Is Rape Defined Under Virginia Law?
According to the Code of Virginia, section 18.2-61, there are a variety of ways that someone could be raped.
- If the complaining witness was either mentally or physically incapacitated.
- If sexual contact is accomplished through forced threat, coercion, or intimidation.
- If the complaining witness is under 13 years of age, any sexual contact will be categorized as rape.
It’s important to note that the law makes some distinctions between mentally incapacitated and physically helpless. Mentally incapacitated means that you were in a state where you could not give consent. Physically helpless could mean that you were asleep or in some other state where you could not consent. The law looks at any physical or sexual activity while a person is mentally or physically incapacitated as rape and can get prosecuted under that code section.
What Evidence Will Help My Defense Against Rape Charges In Virginia?
Defenses against rape charges depend on the nature of the allegations against you. One possible defense could be considered if the person who is saying this happened has a motive to lie.
There is a lot of possible evidence that could be helpful in cases of rape allegations. For example, let’s take a situation where two people were out on a date. There may have been consensual activity between the parties, and then there was a point where the complaining witness claims they said no. However, the defendant claims that the complainant never said no.
Evidence would be gathered of the events of that evening such as:
- Whether there was drinking or other intoxication involved.
- If there are social media posts showing the two people kissing or being amorous before that evening.
- Any witnesses that saw the behavior of either party.
- Any other evidence showing an increased likelihood of consent at the time that the incident happened.
If you are the defendant against allegations of rape, part of our defense tactics will be to find pieces of evidence that decrease the likelihood of any kind of rape or sexual contact against the complaining witness happened. If you are facing rape charges, it’s important to work with your lawyer to gather documentation and witnesses who can speak in your favor.
What Are The Penalties For A Rape Conviction In Virginia?
If you’re facing rape allegations, you may be concerned about the potential penalties you could receive. It can be scary to deal with these serious charges, but it’s important to remember that an experienced lawyer can not only help you understand the possible penalties, but potentially decrease them.
The penalty for rape in Virginia is five years to a life sentence. Additionally, the state of Virginia has sentencing guidelines – reports that take into account aspects of the person’s criminal record and facts about the charge itself.
There are also points that are piled into a range of time. A low end, a high end, and a midpoint of the sentencing guidelines give the judge the range that this person should serve, either in jail or in the penitentiary. These guidelines are prepared for every felony case where there is a conviction in Virginia.
To understand the potential penalties you may be facing, you need to look at these sentencing guidelines. You should take into account the facts about the case, in addition to your criminal record.
Rape in Virginia is considered an extremely serious charge. Even for someone with no record who is being charged with rape, the guidelines can range between four to five years at the low end, to 10-12 years at the high end.
Additionally, you should keep in mind that there are things that can enhance and bump the guidelines to a higher level. This may depend on certain factors, such as the age of the person and whether or not they’ve had prior issues of mental health or treatment.
Is It Possible The Prosecution Will Drop The Rape Case Against Me Before Formal Charges Are Filed?
If you hire a lawyer who can talk to the commonwealth attorney and advocate for you, it is possible that the rape charges never get brought. If you hire a lawyer early enough in the process, the rape charge may never get formally filed. This may be the case if the commonwealth doesn’t believe they have enough evidence to go forward with the charge.
However, this does not always occur. Even if the case is weak from the defense perspective, the prosecutor could still push charges. This is one reason why it’s important to hire an attorney as early as possible so they can be involved in all aspects of your case.
Are There Other Criminal Charges Of A Sexual Nature Besides Rape In Virginia?
In Virginia, there is a charge of communicating or soliciting sexual activity with a minor over the internet. These charges typically occur when people get onto certain chat platforms and are communicating with people. If the person is a minor and you encourage (solicit) them to commit sexual acts, send pictures, or do anything of a sexual nature, this can end up resulting in a crime.
In some instances, there are mandatory penalties. If one person is under the age of 15 and the other person is more than three years older than them, these crimes can result in a mandatory five years for the first instance and 10 years for the second instance.
There are law enforcement agencies all around Virginia, particularly in Henrico County, that are investigating these crimes online. They are soliciting people on different websites and acting as if they are 13 or 14 years old. To the extent that anyone engages with those individuals and attempts to have interactions with them of a sexual nature, they will be prosecuted.
This could happen even if that person is in a different state. I have seen them extradite people and bring them to Virginia from states as far away as Georgia or Utah with these charges. Prosecutors working on these cases will generally try to get multiple counts of these charges so there are decades of penalty time against the person charged with this.
People should be extremely careful, and you should not engage in that kind of conduct in any way.
For more information on Facing Rape Charges In The State Of Virginia, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (804) 621-0854 today.