& Criminal Defense
Children are among society’s most vulnerable individuals, and as such, there are numerous laws designed to prevent them from suffering harm. For example, a party that engages in sex acts with a person under the age of eighteen may face criminal charges, regardless of whether the minor willingly participated. Sex crimes with minors carry substantial penalties, and a conviction for such an offense can have lifelong consequences. If you are charged with a sex offense involving a minor, it is critical to speak to a Fairfax Sex Crimes Lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options. The dedicated Fairfax criminal defense lawyers of Crowley Peritz Law can advise you of your potential defenses and aid you in seeking the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. Our office is located in Fairfax, and we regularly defend people charged with sex crimes with minors in cities throughout Northern Virginia.
Under Virginia law, multiple acts are legal if performed between two consenting adults but unlawful if one or both parties are minors. For example, a person who engages in any act of sexual intercourse, including penetration with an object, with a child who is at least thirteen but under fifteen years old, can be charged with carnal knowledge of a child between thirteen and fifteen. Notably, force is not an element of this offense. In other words, the sexual act in question is unlawful due to the victim’s age, regardless of whether they consent.
The severity of the offense and the potential penalty a person charged with carnal knowledge faces depend on the respective parties’ ages. If the accused is an adult, they will be charged with a Class 4 felony, and if they are found guilty may face up to twenty years in prison. If both parties are minors and there are less than three years difference between the ages of the perpetrator and the victim, carnal knowledge of a child between thirteen and fifteen is a Class 4 misdemeanor punishable by a $250 fine. If there is greater than a three year age difference between the parties, carnal knowledge of a child between thirteen and fifteen is a Class 6 penalty, which can result in a prison sentence of up to five years.
Other sex crimes with minors include sexual abuse of a child under thirteen years of age, which is when an adult commits an act of sexual abuse with a child between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, aggravated sexual battery, and taking indecent liberties with a child.
In Virginia, the prosecution bears the burden of proof in criminal matters. In other words, the government must establish each element of the charged offense, beyond a reasonable doubt, in order to prove the defendant’s guilt. Beyond a reasonable doubt, generally, means that the evidence weighs so strongly in favor of the defendant’s guilt that a reasonable person could not harbor any rational belief that the defendant did not commit the charged offense. The law limits the evidence the prosecution is permitted to use against defendants as well. For example, the state is frequently barred from introducing evidence obtained without a warrant, confessions that were obtained in violation of the defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights, or evidence of other wrongful acts. In contrast to the prosecution, criminal defendants do not have to offer any evidence or demonstrate their innocence. Depending on the facts of their case, however, it may be beneficial for them to do so.
People accused of sex crimes with minors often worry that the odds are stacked against them, but merely because a person is charged with a criminal offense does not mean they will be convicted. If you are faced with charges that you committed a sex offense involving a minor, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney regarding your rights. The knowledgeable Fairfax Sex Crimes Lawyers of Crowley Peritz Law have ample experience advocating for people facing criminal charges, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly to help you seek a favorable outcome. You can reach us to set up a confidential meeting by calling us at (703) 337-3773 or using our online form.
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