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Those in Virginia confronted with sex crimes involving underage victims need to be aware of how the allegations will affect their lives. Sex offenses are treated very seriously, regardless of the victim. But, if the victim is underage, then the consequences can be all the more difficult to overcome.

There are two laws that deal with sexual acts with an underage person. The first involves people who are 18 or over and charged with carnal knowledge of a child who is between the ages of 13 and 15. There will be a Class 4 felony charge for a person 18 or older who is alleged to have carnal knowledge of a person between the ages of 13 and 15. The penalties for a conviction will include between two and 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.

The second crime involves someone who is 18 or older and is accused of having sex with a person who is age 15 to 17. This will be a Class 1 misdemeanor and can result in up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, if convicted.

The age difference between the minor and the person charged is also relevant. If, for example, a minor older than 13, but younger than 15, who agrees to have sex with someone who is also a minor but three years or more older than the victim, this will be a Class 6 felony. If the age difference is less than three years, it will be a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Other factors are important, as well. If the child is under 13, he or she is not considered to be a consenting child. Carnal knowledge will be considered intercourse and other sex acts involving the private parts, the mouth and penetration.

Those who are dealing with child sexual abuse charges will not only have to face the legal consequences, but the mere mentioning of the words will have connotations that extend far beyond the legal realm. There will be the need to take part in the sex offender registry. It can be hard to get a job, get into a school and there will be numerous personal issues that accompany a conviction. This is why it is imperative to formulate a strong defense from the start, and try to receive an acquittal with help from an experienced attorney.

Source: VDH.Virginia.gov, "VA Rape Laws," accessed on Oct. 26, 2015

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