Virginia Sex Crimes Lawyer

A single accusation of a sex crime can change the course of your life forever. In Virginia, being charged with a sexual offense can turn into a fight for your reputation, your future, and often, your freedom.

Sexual offenses cover a wide range of actions. Be it indecent exposure or a more severe charge like sexual assault, Virginia takes these allegations seriously. A charge of this nature can result in life-changing penalties, including hefty fines, long-term imprisonment, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

But what if you are innocent? Or what if there were significant errors in the way your case was handled? You need an experienced lawyer who knows criminal defense in Virginia. With over 25 years of experience, attorney Michael A. Pignone has seen it all. From his early days in the Prosecutor’s office in Prince William County to his current role defending people throughout Virginia, Michael has gained a deep understanding of how the system works. 

If you or a loved one find yourselves accused of a sex crime in Virginia, remember this: every story has two sides. With the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone by your side, you can be confident that your side will be heard and fiercely defended. If you need a Fairfax sex crimes lawyer, a Manassas sex crimes lawyer, or a Prince William County sex crimes lawyer, call us today at (571) 450-9689 or contact us online to get started.

What Constitutes a Sex Crime in Virginia?

In Virginia, sex crimes cover a broad spectrum of offenses. Despite what many believe, it’s not just sexual abuse or violent sex crimes, but any act that violates the state’s sexual conduct standards. For instance, under the Code of Virginia § 18.2-61, rape is defined as forcing someone into sexual intercourse without their consent. Then there is the Code of Virginia § 18.2-67.4, which clarifies sexual battery is about sexually touching someone against their will.

Here is a more comprehensive list of offenses that are considered sex crimes in Virginia:

  • Rape (§ 18.2-61)
  • Forcible sodomy (§ 18.2-67.1)
  • Object sexual penetration (§ 18.2-67.2)
  • Sexual battery (§ 18.2-67.4)
  • Aggravated sexual battery (§ 18.2-67.3)
  • Taking indecent liberties with children (§ 18.2-370)
  • Indecent exposure (§ 18.2-387)
  • Peeping or spying into a private space (§ 18.2-130)
  • Production, sale, publication, possession with intent to distribute, financing, etc., of sexually explicit items involving children (§ 18.2-374.1)
  • Possession of child pornography (§ 18.2-374.1:1)
  • Use of communications systems to enable certain offenses involving children (§ 18.2-374.3)
  • Carnal knowledge of detainee or inmate (§ 18.2-64.2)
  • Carnal knowledge of an animal (§ 18.2-361)
  • Prostitution (§ 18.2-346)
  • Solicitation of prostitution (§ 18.2-346)
  • Keeping, frequenting, or residing in a bawdy place (like a brothel) (§ 18.2-347)
  • Receiving money from prostitution (§ 18.2-348)

When facing any of these sex crime charges, knowing the specifics can make all the difference in your defense strategy.

Virginia Sexual Crimes Laws, Penalties, and Legal Defenses

In Virginia, if you are found guilty of a sexual offense, the penalties can be tough. A rape conviction might land you with life imprisonment, especially if the alleged victim is under 13. Those found guilty of possessing, distributing, or producing explicit content involving minors can be sentenced to one to 20 years in prison. Even lesser charges, like sexual battery, can result in up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

With a sex crime conviction, you don’t just serve your time and move on. The state requires you to register as a sex offender. Think of it as a public record, a list that anyone can check. Your name, photo, address, and the crime you were convicted of will be on it. For example, if you are found guilty of rape or sexual battery, you will be on this list.

Being on this registry can affect all aspects of your life. Looking for a new apartment? Some landlords might not rent to you. Trying to get a job? Some employers might think twice. And the worst part is, depending on the offense, you could be on the registry for 15 years to life.

Once you are on the registry, you will have to follow a plethora of rules as well. If you move or change jobs, you have to update your information. Forget or delay, and you could face more penalties. It’s a system designed to keep the public informed, but it also means those convicted carry the weight of their past actions long after serving their time.

Our Defense Process

Under Virginia law, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. But if you are charged with a sex crime, it might not feel that way. Suddenly, neighbors whisper, friends question, and the community might see you differently. Just a charge can make people think the worst, even if nothing has been proven.

What you need to remember here is, the law is on your side. No matter the charge, you have rights. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, our team is here to stand up for you and fight to maintain your innocence. In Virginia, it’s evidence, not rumors, that matter in court.

When you work with us, we dive deep into the specifics of your case. His goal is to look for the nitty-gritty details that others might miss. Did the arresting officer follow protocol? Were your rights respected during the process? These initial steps will set the stage for a successful defense.

Next, if there is witness testimony, we will meticulously analyze it for inconsistencies. Was the lighting poor? Could the witness have mistaken you for someone else? In cases where evidence like DNA is presented, we might challenge its collection or handling. Was the chain of custody maintained? Any mishandling could render such evidence inadmissible.

The real ace up Michael’s sleeve is his experience working in the Prosecutor’s office. He doesn’t just know the playbook, he knows the players. He has seen firsthand how sexual assault cases are built, where they often falter, and the pressure points that can turn a case around. This insider perspective is invaluable in tipping the scales in your favor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a misdemeanor offense and a felony sexual offense in Virginia?

Misdemeanors are lighter offenses, like sexual battery, which might get you up to a year in jail. Felonies, like rape, child molestation, forcible sodomy, or a forced sexual act with someone with a mental disability are the heavy hitters and usually result in severe penalties and years in prison (or even life imprisonment).

How long does a sexual act conviction stay on my record in Virginia?

It typically sticks with you for life. It’s a permanent mark on your record, meant to remind any future employers or landlords of your past.

What are the rules for sex offenders in Virginia?

There are several rules: offenders need to regularly report to authorities, update them on address or job changes, and steer clear of certain zones like schools. It is best to get guidance from our sex crimes lawyer to stay compliant with the rules.

How do I get off the sex offender registry in Virginia?

After serving time for criminal sexual acts, ranging from 15 years to life based on the offense, you can petition the court. But it’s a rigorous process, and you will need to prove you are not a threat anymore.

What are sex offenders not allowed to do in VA?

According to our experienced Virginia sex crimes lawyer, beyond the usual restrictions like staying away from schools, many in Virginia cannot work in jobs involving minors or live near playgrounds (especially in cases involving child molestation, child sexual intercourse, or child pornography).

Do sex offenders have to tell neighbors in Virginia?

Directly? No. But Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry is public. So, anyone, including your next-door neighbor, can look it up and see your face there.

Get the Leading Virginia Sex Crimes Attorney on Your Side Today

When facing sex crime charges in Virginia, the right lawyer can make all the difference. Attorney Michael A. Pignone was raised in Virginia and gained his experience clerking for the Prosecutor, which provided him a window into how the other side thinks. He will leverage every piece of his local insight and insider knowledge to your advantage. If you want a fighting chance to secure your future, schedule your consultation with us today. Call at (571) 450-9689 or fill out this form to get the ball rolling.