Felony sex offenses are very serious criminal charges. In Virginia, minors can be charged with felony sex crimes. A conviction — referred to adjudication as a delinquent — on a felony sex offense could put a minor on a path to being incarcerated in the state’s juvenile justice system and, eventually, in an adult correctional facility. In addition, it will likely result in a permanent criminal record that cannot be sealed. If your child has been arrested and charged with a felony sex offense, you need to take immediate action to protect their rights and their future. Contact a skilled Virginia felony sex crimes defense lawyer who has experience handling juvenile justice cases.
A Juvenile Facing a Felony Sex Charge May Be Incarcerated
Youthful offenders who have been charged with a felony may end up being incarcerated. According to data provided by the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, 95 percent of youth who are incarcerated in Virginia were adjudicated on a felony offense. If a juvenile is found guilty of a serious sexual offense, it is likely that they will be incarcerated, at least for some period of time, in juvenile detention. Further, once they are old enough, they may be transferred directly to one of the state’s adult correctional facilities.
It should be noted that Virginia prosecutors can charge a minor as an adult if they have been accused of a violent felony sex offense and they were at least 14 years of age when the crime occurred. As explained by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, prosecutors are given some discretion on the issue. A prosecutor can request certification to charge a minor as an adult in cases involving violent felony charges, including aggravated sexual battery. Teenagers charged with felony sex crimes need strong legal representation.
Juvenile Justice in Virginia: Felony Convictions Create a Permanent Record
In general, Virginia’s juvenile justice system promotes rehabilitation. However, our state’s criminal record confidentiality laws are extremely strict in cases involving felony offenses. Under Virginia Law (Virginia Code § 16.1-305), any juvenile who is at least 14 years of age at the time of the offense and who was adjudicated delinquent on the basis of an act that would be a felony sex offense is typically not eligible to get their records sealed.
When possible, it is crucial that teenagers are able to avoid adjudication as a delinquent on felony sexual misconduct charges. Among other things, a misdemeanor adjudication and a felony adjudication can be the difference between a person eventually their getting record sealed after five years and them having a permanent criminal record.
Contact Our Fairfax, VA Felony Sex Offense Attorneys Today
At Leary Law, our Virginia juvenile defense lawyers have the skills and experience needed to handle the full range of felony sex offenses. If your teenager was arrested and charged with a felony sex crime offense, it is imperative that you take immediate action to protect their rights and their future. For a strictly private initial consultation, please call us today at our Fairfax law office or our Manassas law office.