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Allegations of sex offenses in Virginia will automatically elicit a visceral reaction to anyone who hears about them whether they're true or not. These acts will vary in their scope, whom they were allegedly committed against, and how severe the penalties will be in the event of a conviction. One specific crime that carries with it serious connotations is forcible sodomy. When an investigation commences surrounding a sexual assault charge of this kind, knowing the state laws is one step in formulating a defense.

There will be a conviction on charges of forcible sodomy if a person - male or female - has any form of sexual activity that is classified as "sodomy" such as cunnilingus or fellatio with a person who meets certain criteria whether the couple is married or not. The act will be considered forcible sodomy if the victim is 13 years old or younger. It will also be considered forcible sodomy if it is done against the complainant's will and the alleged perpetrator used force, made threats or intimidated the victim into partaking in the activity. If the victim doesn't have the mental capacity to object, this too will be the foundation for a conviction.

The penalties for forcible sodomy will be imprisonment for at least five years and as much as life in jail. If the alleged perpetrator is more than three years the victim's senior and the act was committed as part of an abduction, burglary, forced entry or malicious wounding, there will be a minimum of 25 years in jail. If the alleged perpetrator was at least 18 years old, a conviction will result in life imprisonment. If there are other criminal complaints along with this particular act, a conviction will result in the sentences being served concurrently.

A spouse who has had these complaints lodged by his or her spouse (assuming no previous proceeding of these types of acts) may face a sentence of probation with therapy or counseling. A defendant who doesn't complete the therapy or counseling could be sentenced to imprisonment. Given the penalties and other issues accompanying these accusations that will place a defendant under this microscope, a key is to discuss the matter with a qualified legal professional immediately upon being investigated for sex crimes.

Source: leg1.state.va.us, "18.2-67.1 Forcible sodomy," accessed on Mar. 8, 2015

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