In today’s digital age, being aware of the potential risks associated with online interactions, especially involving minors, is essential. This article helps you understand solicitation of a minor charges in Virginia. Continue reading to discover:
- How Virginia defines online solicitation of a minor.
- The difference between sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery.
- Consequences if charged with these crimes.
What Is Considered Online Solicitation Of A Minor Under Virginia Law? Is It A Federal Or State Offense?
Solicitation of a minor charges in Virginia include specific designations regarding using online communication systems to engage with children. This applies if you use various communication tools like computers, bulletin boards, telephones, or wired networks to interact with children. Virginia’s code section 18.23-74.3 covers a range of actions, including…
- Exposing your own sexual parts to a child through the communication system,
- Encouraging a child to expose their sexual parts to you,
- Suggesting that a child engages in sexual activity using the system,
- Sending explicit images of yourself through the system, or
- Attempting to arrange meetings to engage in sexual contact.
What Are Punishments If Convicted Of Solicitation Of A Minor?
The charge for engaging with a juvenile using an online platform is generally found to be a Class Five felony. However, if the juvenile involved is under 15 years old and the person charged is at least seven years older, the potential penalty ranges from five to 30 years, with five years being mandatory. In second or subsequent violations of this code section, the penalty increases to 10 years, with a mandatory sentence.
Prosecutors often aim to build multiple charges by having law enforcement interact with individuals on various apps or taking other similar measures. If an individual engages with someone they believe to be under 15 and faces three counts under this code section, the penalties escalate quickly: five years for the first offense, 10 years for the second, and another 10 years for the third and subsequent offenses.
Are There Defenses To Solicitation Of A Minor Charge That My Sex Crime Defense Attorney Can Use?
Defending against solicitation of a minor charges in Virginia can be highly challenging, so having an experienced attorney by your side is crucial. One potential defense strategy involves examining the explicitness of age references in any communications made. There might be other defenses available, but it is important to emphasize that these cases are particularly complex, and it takes an attorney with expertise in this area to navigate them.
What Is Considered Sexual Battery Under Virginia Law?
Sexual battery is when a person engages in non-consensual sexual contact with a complaining witness through the use of force, threat, or intimidation. Sexual abuse, as defined by Virginia code, includes any act committed with the intent to sexually molest, arouse, or gratify a person. Sexual battery is classified as a Class One misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, and falls under Virginia Code section 18.2-67.4.
What Makes A Sexual Battery Charge Become An Aggravated Sexual Battery Charge In Virginia?
Aggravated sexual battery in Virginia is classified as a felony. It involves the sexual abuse of a complaining witness. The charge becomes aggravated under certain circumstances, including when the:
- Complaining witness is less than 13 years of age.
- Sexual battery occurs while the person is physically helpless (such as while they are asleep) or due to a mental deficit that renders them unable to resist.
- Sexual abuse involves force, threat, or intimidation and results in serious bodily injury or mental injury to the witness.
Additionally, if the defendant used a dangerous weapon while committing the offense, it may be elevated to aggravated sexual battery.
What Are The Penalties For Someone Convicted Of Sexual Battery Or Aggravated Sexual Battery In Virginia?
Sexual battery is a Class One misdemeanor and carries up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Aggravated sexual battery carries a penalty of one to 20 years in prison and the possibility of a fine of up to $100,000.
For more information on Solicitation Of A Minor Charges In Virginia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (804) 621-0854 today.