Go to Top

Facing Criminal Charges in Virginia? Call Us at

Roanoke Rape Charges Attorneys

Breaking it down

Rape, forcible sodomy, and object sexual penetration are similar felony sex offenses each involving some form of unwilling sexual penetration.

  • All three involve the use of threat, force, or intimidation, or use of someone’s mental or physical disability to commit the offense
  • When the victim is under age 13, no use of intimidation is required because children lack the ability to consent
  • The penalty for all three offenses is five years to life in prison and registration as a sex offender

Rape charges are rarely as simple as the sinister stranger lurking in the bushes and attacking the unwitting woman walking home alone in the dark, no matter what the movies or TV tell us. National statistics show that about two-thirds of reported rapes involve people who know each other. The person being accused is the alleged victim’s friend, boyfriend, co-worker, or even family member. More than half of reported rapes happen in either the alleged victim’s home or the home of a friend, neighbor or relative.

Because so many people who report rapes know their alleged attacker, the reported offense can be bundled up with complicated relationships and history, especially when an existing or former romantic relationship is involved. Perhaps more so than any other type of crime, rape cases involve stories with many — and often conflicting — sides, and what really happened often isn’t very clear.

When you’re intimate with someone, subsequently being accused of rape can be confusing, stressful, and emotionally devastating. Your relationship not only with the person accusing you, but also with your friends and family members can be ripped apart. If the accusation is made public, you can be marked with a stigma that follows you into your workplace or college classroom. Even being accused of rape can shatter your life.

If you’re convicted, you then face years or even life in prison, as well as a lifelong label as a violent sex offender. Your chances at future employment are vastly diminished. Any chance at getting a job that requires a security clearance is pretty much gone. You may have trouble renting an apartment or buying a home, and because you’ll have to register as a sex offender, you’ll be restricted from living in certain places. If you’re an immigrant who hasn’t yet gotten your citizenship, you may be deported back to your home country and torn away from the rest of your family and the life you’ve built in the United States.

If you’ve been charged with rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration in Virginia, you need a skilled and experienced Roanoke sex crime lawyer who will listen to your side of the story and fight to make your side heard in court. You need someone who will examine every piece of evidence and every word of testimony to look for the facts that tell your story and give you the chance at the best possible outcome this kind of devastating criminal charge.

Definition of Rape in Virginia

There are two ways rape is defined in Virginia Code §18.2-61:

  • Perpetrating Rape: having sexual intercourse with a person against his or her will
  • Causing Rape: causing the person to have sex with someone else against his or her will

Either crime involves penile-vaginal intercourse and requires proof of penetration. This offense typically is charged when the accused is a male and the victim is a female, or the accused is a female and the victim is a male. When the accused and victim are the same sex, the offense would be charged as forcible sodomy.

Additionally, for you to be guilty of the crime, there has to have been use of force, threat or intimidation, or use of the person’s mental or physical disability to coerce them into sex, or the victim has to have been a child under age 13.

Forcible Sodomy

Forcible sodomy is the form of rape that involves enforced or coerced oral or anal sex. The offense is defined in Virginia Code §18.2-67.1, and similar to the offense of rape involves use of threats, intimidation or force, or use of a person’s mental or physical disability to obtain sex. The offense also is a crime regardless of the use of force if the victim is under age 13.

Object Sexual Penetration

Using an inanimate or animate object to penetrate another person’s labia majora or anus or causing the person to be penetrated by an object against the person’s will is a crime under Virginia Code §18.2-67.2. These cases are often brought in conjunction with rape charges and include allegations such as penetration with a finger or a sex toy.

Again, the crime must occur through use of force, threat or intimidation, or through use of a person’s disability, or without coercion if the victim is under age 13.

Penalties for Rape in VA

All three offenses can result in the same penalties. The prison sentencing range for rape, forcible sodomy or object sexual penetration is five years to life, with mandatory minimums imposed under specific circumstances.

  • When the offender is more than three years older than the victim and the sex offense is committed along with an abduction, burglary, aggravated malicious wounding, or breaking and entering with the intention to commit a felony, the mandatory minimum prison term is 25 years.
  • When the victim is under age 13 and the offender is more than three years older than the victim and the sex offense is committed along with an abduction, burglary, aggravated malicious wounding, or breaking and entering with the intention to commit a felony, the penalty includes a minimum 40-year suspended sentence along with any other active sentence. The suspension is subject to revocation by a judge.
  • When the victim is under age 13 and the offender is 18 or older at the time of the offense, the mandatory minimum prison term is life.

Defenses Against Your Rape Charge in Roanoke

When a prosecutor charges rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration, there are a number of things that must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Penetration: Evidence that the accused penetrated the labia majora or anus is enough. Penetration does not have to be absolute and may be slight.
  • Intimidation, Threat, or Force:  A necessary element is the use of intimidation, threat or force in the commission of the crime, unless the offense involves a child under the age of thirteen. Lack of force, threat, or intimidation is a frequent defense in cases which do not involve the use of a weapon.
  • Consent: Rape case often hinge upon the idea of consent or lack of consent. Consent is an absolute defense to rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration charges. If there is enough evidence of consent to create reasonable doubt, a rape defense attorney may be able to convince a prosecutor, judge or jury to reduce the charge or dismiss the case.

How a Roanoke Rape Charges Attorneys in Virginia Can Help You

If you’ve been charged with rape, forcible sodomy, or penetration with an inanimate object in Virginia, the experienced sex crimes lawyers at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico can help evaluate the details of your case and your options. For an appointment at our Roanoke office, call our local number at .

Comments (2)