When you are accused of any criminal offense, it can seem like no one is on your side. But, when the crime you are accused of is a sex offense, the feeling of isolation can be particularly severe. These offenses carry a serious stigma and life-changing penalties. When you are charged with a sex crime, you need a Virginia defense lawyer on your side.

A criminal charge is not the same as a criminal conviction. In other words, you still have options available. By consulting with a local sex crimes attorney early-on in your case, you can ensure you are taking steps to minimize the impact of these charges on your life.

Virginia Crimes and Penalties

There are numerous different Virginia statutes covering sex offenses. Any one of these could dramatically change the course of your life.

Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is defined as sexually abusing someone by force, threat, intimidation or ruse. This means you are accused of touching another person’s intimate parts either directly or through the clothing, or you force someone to touch your intimate parts in a similar manner with the intent to sexually molest, arouse, or gratify.

Sexual battery is classified as a Class 1 Misdemeanor offense. This means a conviction can carry up to 12 months in jail and $2,500 in fines.

Aggravated Sexual Battery

Aggravated sexual battery is defined as committing sexual abuse, where you use force, threat, intimidation or ruse to touch someone’s intimate parts or make someone touch your intimate parts for the purpose of sexual gratification, and:

  1. The alleged victim is less than 13 years old
  2. The act is accomplished through the use of the alleged victim’s mental incapacity or helplessness,
  3. You are the parent, step-parent, grandparent, or step-grandparent of the alleged victim and said victim is over the age of 13 and under the age of 18,
  4. The act is accomplished against the will of the alleged victim by force, threat or intimidation,
  5. The alleged victim is at least 13 but younger than 15,
  6. You allegedly cause serious bodily or mental injury to the alleged victim, or
  7. You use or threaten to use a dangerous weapon.

This offense is considered a felony and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines reaching $100,000.


Rape is defined as having sexual intercourse with someone:

  1. By force, threat or intimidation,
  2. Through the use of the alleged victim’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness, or
  3. With a child under the age of 13.

The penalty you face for this offense is dependent on the facts of the case. Generally, it carries anywhere from 5 years in prison to a life sentence. Under some circumstances, including those where a child is involved, the punishment includes a mandatory minimum 25 year prison sentence.

There are more sex offenses listed in the Virginia statutes, many of them are dependent on who the victim is, their age, and their mental capacity. But one thing is certain—no matter which law you are accused of violating, you face serious penalties.