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A woman recently claimed that she was sexually assaulted by her Uber driver in Virginia. The woman asserted that the male driver picked her up in Herndon and stopped the vehicle while on the way to the woman's destination, a residence in Sterling. Once stopped, the woman said the driver got into the backseat of the vehicle and sexually assaulted the woman.

The 44-year-old driver is now facing charges of aggravated sexual battery and forcible sodomy. He was held at a local detention center without bond.

With many people coming forward with allegations of sexual assault nowadays, it is important for those who have been charged with such crimes to be aware of the possible penalties that await them if they are convicted. The severity of the consequences will generally depend on the severity of the crime.

For example, under Virginia law, intentionally touching someone's intimate body parts with force or intimidation and with the intent to sexually molest, arouse or gratify against that person's will, is considered a misdemeanor of simple sexual battery. Simple sexual battery can result in up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Aggravated sexual battery is generally a felony charge and may involve the sexual abuse of a minor, disabled person or family member. A conviction can result in anywhere from one to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Even attempting to commit simple or aggravated sexual battery can result in the same penalty as committing the offense. Additionally, if a person is convicted of a sexually violent offense, he or she may also be required to register as a sex offender.

Defending against sexual assault charges can be challenging. However, a criminal defense attorney can work with you to find the strongest defense in your case. For example, if you can prove that the alleged victim consented to the sexual activity or that you were nowhere near the location of the alleged assault, you may be found "not guilty" of all sexual crimes.

Source: The Washington Post, "Uber driver arrested on charges of sexual assault in Virginia, police say," Justin Wm. Moyer, Jan. 4, 2017

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