Few crimes are recognized as being as vile as sex offenses. When you have been accused of a sex offense, your reputation could be destroyed whether you are convicted or acquitted. You must take control of your defense if you hope to protect your future.
Ensure you have an experienced legal advocate fighting for your freedom. Schedule a confidential consultation with a Manassas sex crimes attorney from the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone.
Is a Sex Offense a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Sex crimes are commonly known as wobbler offenses in Virginia. They can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies based on the case. For example, someone accused of less severe sex crimes, such as indecent exposure, might face a misdemeanor charge; someone charged with rape or statutory rape would face felony charges.
If aggravating factors are present, such as a child victim, use of a deadly weapon, or an extensive criminal history, it is more likely the charge will be prosecuted as a felony. Conversely, if mitigating factors are present, it is more likely the crime will be prosecuted at the misdemeanor level.
You need a criminal defense attorney in Manassas who will carefully examine the specific details of your case to gather compelling evidence. They can prove that mitigating factors are present or that other circumstances warrant reducing your charges to a misdemeanor.
Common Types of Sex Crimes in Manassas, VA
Sex crimes in Manassas can take multiple forms. Any instance in which a defendant performs or engages in a sexual act with another who has not given or is incapable of giving consent could be a sex offense. Some of the most common types of sex offenses in Manassas, VA include:
- Statutory rape – This is almost always charged as a class four felony offense.
- Sexual battery – This can be charged as a class four misdemeanor for first-time offenders. Otherwise, it is typically charged as a class six felony offense.
- Rape – Rape is nearly always charged as a class four felony offense.
- Forcible sodomy – This sex crime is almost always prosecuted as a class four felony offense.
- Carnal knowledge of a child between the ages of 13 and 15 – This is generally charged as a class six felony but could be charged as a class four felony, based on the details of the case. If the alleged minor is less than three years younger than the defendant, it could be prosecuted as a class four misdemeanor.
- Child pornography – This is generally prosecuted as a class four felony. Still, charges can be increased to the federal level depending on the number of visual depictions, criminal history, and whether visual depictions were sold or transported across state lines.
- Object sexual penetration – This will generally be charged as a class six felony but can be increased to a class four felony if aggravating factors are present.
- Taking indecent liberties with a child – This sex crime will generally be prosecuted as a class five felony if the alleged victim is under 15 years old and the defendant is 18 or older.
Attempting to commit a sex crime is generally charged as a class six felony or class four felony, depending on which type of sex crime the defendant attempted. Reach out to a respected criminal defense lawyer immediately to prepare your defense strategy.
What Are The Penalties for a Sex Crimes Conviction in Virginia?
The penalties for Manassas sex crimes vary based on the type of sex crime you are convicted of and your criminal record. Generally, misdemeanor convictions can carry penalties that include up to $2,500 in fines and as many as 12 months in a Prince William County jail.
However, if you are convicted of a felony-level sex crime offense, you could spend the rest of your life in prison and face fines as high as $100,000. Additionally, if you are found guilty of a felony sex offense, it is more likely that you will be required to register as a sex offender.
Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender in Virginia?
In most offenses, sex crime convictions require defendants to register their information with the state’s sex offender registry. This will show your address, what charge you were convicted of, and the penalties you received. It will also include your picture, legal name, and any aliases.
Updating Sex Offender Registration Status
Generally, you will be expected to update your information as needed and remain on the Virginia sex offender registry for the rest of your life. For this reason, clearing your name of the allegations against you is crucial if you hope to have any shot at a future that is not tarnished by devastating allegations.
Importance of Speaking with a Sex Crimes Attorney
An experienced Manassas sex crimes lawyer could make all the difference in the outcome of your case. The consequences of a conviction will indeed have a debilitating impact.
Possible Sexual Abuse Defenses
Working with an attorney may be the best way to prepare a powerful sex crime defense strategy. Potential defenses that could be available depending on the circumstances of your case include:
- The alleged victim consented
- The defendant reasonably believed that the alleged victim gave their consent
- The defendant reasonably believed the alleged victim was of legal age to give their consent
- The alleged victim is making false allegations
- The defendant was misidentified by the alleged victim or other witnesses
Call a Manassas Sex Crime Attorney at the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone
With the harsh criminal penalties and collateral consequences being so severe, clearing your name of the sex crimes allegations against you is crucial. Protect your future and rebuild your reputation with a powerful defense strategy.
Meet with an experienced Manassas sex crime attorney at the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone. Our firm offers confidential consultations to individuals accused of criminal offenses across Manassas and the state of Virginia. Please take advantage of this opportunity by completing our secured contact form or calling our office today.