Breaking it down
Sex crimes involving minors are complex and polarizing, and the prosecution will be building the strongest and most compelling evidence against you to convince the judge or jury that you are guilty. These crimes are felonies and come with substantial prison time and fines if you’re convicted.
- Lack of intent or unknowingly partaking in indecent liberties may be a defense
- A conviction for a sex crime involving a minor will require you to register as a sex offender
- The penalties you face are harsher if the child in question is under the age of 15.
If you’ve been accused of a sex crime involving a minor, it’s crucial to have experienced, qualified representation from a Roanoke sex crimes attorney as soon as possible, and preferably before you speak with law enforcement. Beginning in the investigative stages, representation in vital due to the often ambiguous nature of the evidence. You need someone who knows how to navigate the tricky waters these types of cases present and who will fight for the best possible outcome for you.
Many of Virginia’s sex crime laws include provisions that address what happens when the offense is committed against a child, but some statutes are written specifically about sex crimes involving minors. These offenses tend to be felonies, and possible penalties can include years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines, as well as a requirement to register as sex offender.
Carnal Knowledge of Minors
Sex with any child who is younger than 13 is charged as rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration in Virginia, regardless of whether the child consented or if no force was involved. Children lack the legal capacity to consent to sex, and so sexual intercourse with a child is always defined as rape when the child is under 13.
When the child involved is 13 or 14, the offense becomes carnal knowledge of a minor. Virginia Code §18.2-63 makes it a Class 4 felony to “carnally know” without use of force a 13 or 14-year-old. Class 4 felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
When the accused is a minor and is three or more years older than the child in question, and the child consented to the sexual contact, the offense is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2,500 maximum fine.
If there’s less than a three-year difference in age between the accused and the alleged victim, the offense is a Class 4 misdemeanor, which is punishable only by a $250 fine.
Carnal knowledge is defined as a range of sexual acts including sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, anal intercourse, and animate and inanimate object sexual penetration.
Virginia Code §18.2-370 makes it a crime for anyone over 18 to commit the following acts with anyone under age 15. The acts have to be knowing, intentional and committed with lascivious intent.
Exposing genitals or sexual parts or proposing that the child expose him or herself
Proposing that a child feel or fondle either the child’s own or the adult’s genitals or sexual parts, or that the adult fondle the child’s parts
Proposing Sexual Intercourse
Enticing, alluring, persuading, or inviting a child to enter a vehicle, room, house, or other place for the purpose of committing any of the sex acts above.
A conviction for any of these actions will be a Class 5 felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $2,500 fine.
The indecent liberties statute further makes it a crime for anyone over 18 to receive money, property, or other compensation for allowing, encouraging, or enticing a minor under 18 to perform or be a subject of the type of sexually explicit visual material defined as child pornography. This form of indecent liberties also is a Class 5 felony, as is knowingly encouraging a minor to perform or be the subject of child pornography.
A second or subsequent conviction for indecent liberties is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine when certain conditions exist: the offenses were committed separately and were not part of a common act, transaction, or scheme; the accused was at liberty between convictions; and the accused was previously convicted of indecent liberties.
The statute makes a special provision when the adult is a parent, step-parent, grandparent, or step-grandparent. When the minor is between 15 and 18, the offense is a Class 5 felony, but when the child is younger than 15, it becomes a Class 4 felony.
Virginia Code §18.2-370.1 makes it a Class 6 felony for an adult other than a parent, step-parent, grand-parent, or step-grandparent who has a custodial or supervisory relationship with an unemancipated child to commit any of the acts defined as indecent liberties with the child, or to sexually abuse the child. Class 6 felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.
A second or subsequent conviction is a Class 5 felony.
Learn How Child Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys in Virginia Can Help You?
If you’ve been charged with carnal knowledge or indecent liberties, the experienced sex crime attorneys 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 (540) 343-9349.