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In Virginia, sex crimes are taken very seriously. Some of the most heinous crimes that occur involve children. Often, these acts begin as a cyber crime. Such acts as online solicitation of a juvenile and possession of child pornography happen frequently. Whether a person made a mistake or was falsely accused, there must be a defense lodged to avoid conviction and its consequences. Knowing the state law regarding these sex offenses is one step to combating charges.

Those who are 18 years old or above who utilize a system of communication including computers to solicit a child under the age of 15 for lascivious means and does any of the following will face criminal charges: exposing one's genitals or sexual parts to a child who he or she isn't legally married to or tries to get the child to expose his or her genitals; proposes that the child touch or fondle his or her own genitals or sexual body parts or does so to any child; proposes the child perform a sexual act of any kind; entices, allures, persuades or invites a child to get into a vehicle, house or anywhere else for any of the listed reasons.

Those who are charged with these sex crimes will face a Class 5 felony. In the event that the person is at least seven years older than the child and the person is aware or believes that the child is younger than 15, there will be a prison sentence of at least five years and up to 30 years. If there is a second act or acts after that that fall into this category, the penalty will be at least 10 years in jail and up to 40 years.

For those who commit these acts with juveniles at least 15 years old but under 18 and is at least seven years older than the juvenile, it will be a Class 5 felony. A second or subsequent act will result in at least one year in jail and up to 20 years.

Given the criminal penalties and the public ramifications of having to register as a sex offender, it's imperative for those accused of a sex crime to formulate a strong defense regardless of the circumstances. Understanding the penalties and the laws is imperative and this can be accomplished with help from a legal professional experienced in defending those charged with a cyber crime.

Source:, "18.2-374.3. Use of communications systems to facilitate certain offenses involving children," accessed on Jan. 25, 2015

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Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.

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