If you’ve been charged with sexual battery, it’s important that you understand Virginia sexual battery laws. In Virginia, sexual battery is defined as unwanted touching that is sexual in nature against someone’s will or with force and intimidation. In Virginia, sexual battery and sexual assault are the same crime, and both words are used interchangeably. Working with an experienced attorney can be a significant factor in the outcome of your case.
Contact a Virginia Battery Defense Lawyer Today
If you’ve been charged with sexual battery in Virginia, it’s crucial that you discuss your case with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Sexual battery charges can be complex, and the more time your attorney has to prepare your legal defense, the better. Reach out to a trusted Virginia sexual battery lawyer at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to learn more about how we can skillfully defend your rights.
The Definition of Sexual Battery in Virginia
Under Virginia law, a defendant commits sexual battery when he or she sexually abuses a victim against his or her will by:
- Threat or intimidation
- Through the use of the complaining witness’ mental incapacity or physical helplessness
Sexual battery is a different type of crime that involves an act committed with the intent to sexually molest, arouse, or gratify any person when the accused intentionally touches the victim’s intimate parts or material directly covering such intimate parts against his or her will. Prosecutors do not have to prove that the defendant penetrated the alleged victim to prove that the crime was committed.
Simple Sexual Battery
In Virginia, simple sexual battery is the most basic crime of sexual assault. It occurs when someone intentionally touches someone else’s intimate body parts. Simple battery can also happen when an alleged victim is forced to touch someone else’s intimate body parts using intimidation or threats. The prosecutor needs to prove that the touching is unwanted and against the victim’s will.
Aggravated Sexual Battery Felony
Aggravated sexual battery is considered a felony in Virginia. The penalties include a jail sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $100,000. Virginia prosecutors must prove that the crime of sexual abuse has occurred and that one of the following aggravating factors has occurred:
- the complaining witness is 13 or younger, or
- the sexual battery was accomplished through the alleged victim’s mental incapacity or physically helpless, or
- the offense was committed by a parent, step-parent, grandparent, or step-grandparent and the alleged victim is between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, or
- the act was accomplished against the will of the complaining witness by force, threat, or intimidate, and
- the complaining witness is between 13 and 15 years old, or
- the defendant caused serious bodily or mental injury to the complaining witness, or
- the accused used or threatened to use a dangerous weapon
Another aggravating factor involves physical touch made by a massage therapist, healing arts practitioner, or a physical therapist. When the type of physical touch isn’t recognized as a form of treatment in the profession and the patient doesn’t consent to the treatment, an aggravating factor occurs. Those purporting to be therapists, practitioners, and physical therapists cannot engage in unrecognized forms of treatment.
If you face sexual battery charges, it’s crucial that you work with a skilled attorney who can develop the best legal defense strategy possible. Prosecutors must prove that you’ve committed every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you. These cases often come down to a he-said-she-said situation, especially if there were no witnesses. Whether or not the alleged victim consented to the touching will be a crucial part of your legal defense.
A prosecutor will need to prove that you used force to overcome the alleged victim’s will or resistance. The degree of resistance by the victim and the degree of force to overcome it depends on the circumstances of each case. The court will take into consideration the relative physical condition of the participants and the degree of force. If it appears that sexual battery was effected without the alleged victim’s consent, the prosecution will not need to prove resistance by the victim. Your defense attorney may be able to argue that the victim consented to the sexual touching, making it impossible for the court to convict you.
Prosecutors can charge the sexual battery as a class one misdemeanor offense in Virginia. Class 1 misdemeanors carry a prison sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Aggravated sexual battery charges are classified as felonies and carry up to 20 years in jail with a fine of up to $100,000. If the alleged victim is a minor, a conviction would require the defendant to register as a sex offender.
Virginia prosecutors and courts take sexual battery charges very seriously in Virginia. Sexual battery is usually charged as a class one misdemeanor unless there is some type of aggravating factor. When there are one or more aggravating factors, the charges will change to a felony-level crime. In Virginia, sexual battery is considered a violent crime. Those convicted will be considered violent criminals, carrying a strong negative stigma. When prosecutors bring felony charges, those convicted may have difficulty finding future employment and housing opportunities.
Discuss Your Case With a Battery Defense Lawyer in Florence and Myrtle Beach, SC
The consequences that come with a sexual battery conviction in Virginia are serious and life-altering. If you’ve been charged with sexual battery, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting on your behalf. Contact the skilled criminal defense attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule your free initial consultation.