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Rape is among the most serious crimes you can face. Under Virginia law, rape is any sexual assault involving penetration. Even a rumor that you’re facing rape charges can damage your reputation and your employment prospects, not to mention what happens if you’re convicted.

The Pendleton Law Group can help you defend against the charges and social consequences. Our rape charges lawyers in Richmond will fight to protect your freedom. You could face penalties as high as life in prison, so it is imperative to have someone on your side in this fight.

Forms of Rape Under Virginia Law

Sexual assault takes many forms, but the key idea is an unwanted sexual penetration of someone who does not or cannot consent. There are four particular classes you need to know about.

Statutory Rape

Under Virginia law, individuals under the age of 15 are incapable of giving consent to sex. This form of rape applies even if both individuals claim to be in a consensual relationship, and thus is illegal by statute (i.e., by a legal definition).

Marital Rape

Even if a couple is married, one spouse can push the other into a non-consensual sexual encounter. Marriage is not a defense against rape. However, it can be a defense against statutory rape.

If a minor is legally married under Virginia law, they can have sex with their older spouse under the marital exception. The earliest this could happen is at the age of 15, and marital rape still applies if consent is not present.

Date Rape

This is a catch-all term for rape with someone who cannot give consent. Common examples include having sex with someone sleeping, intoxicated, or unconscious. Often, these charges are associated with unknowingly providing the victim with drugs.

Plain Rape

Rape that doesn’t fall into the above categories is plain or standard rape. While we associate rape with a violent encounter, using threats and intimidation against the victim or someone else to force a sex act also counts as rape.

Unwanted sexual acts that don’t involve penetration fall under a separate category of crimes called sexual battery, which is a class one misdemeanor. If penetration was not involved, a Richmond rape charges attorney could try to push for this charge, depending on the evidence.

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Fighting the Evidence Against You

In a rape case, forensic and DNA evidence is crucial. In addition to the victim’s story, they can use medical documentation, rape kit results, and DNA testing to link you to the crime. However, there are defenses against these, such as if the DNA testing was faulty. You will need the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney to break down the prosecution’s argument. 

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What Penalties Could I Face for a Rape Charge in Richmond?

The penalties for sex crimes, including rape charges, can vary a lot, but there are some standards. First, rape is a felony, so you will face time in prison. There can also be civil damages you’ll have to pay, and criminal fines.

You will also have to register as a sex offender if you’re convicted. Your crime will follow you for the rest of your days and interfere with your employment opportunities. It will even affect where you can live. The public can always find out your status and your privacy will be destroyed.

With such serious consequences, you deserve to hire the most qualified rape charge lawyers in Richmond to help you in your defense. Your entire life is at risk if you’re convicted.

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What if Both Parties Are Underage in Virginia?

If both parties are between the ages of 15 and 17, Virginia recognizes a “Romeo and Juliet” law. In Virginia, this reduces the crime of statutory rape from a felony to a misdemeanor. To apply, sexual consent must exist between the two parties.

While it is still a criminal offense in Virginia, facing a misdemeanor is a far less risky situation than facing a felony, especially for people so young in life.

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Hire a Richmond Rape Charges Lawyer to Defend You

The time to hire arape charges attorney in Richmond is not when you’ve been formally charged, but as soon as there is an accusation. Public opinion of rape is so low that the stigma could follow you even if you are acquitted.

The Pendleton Law Group can tell you the steps you need to take to protect yourself before, during, and after your trial. Don’t hesitate if you’re facing this serious crime. Contact our team immediately by calling the number on your screen or use our contact form.

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