One of the primary sources of confusion with any sex crime charge is the matter of consent. While consent at its core is little more than yes or no, consent in the context of sex offenses is far more complex. Consent may be a critical factor in the charges you are facing, making it important for you to understand.
There are key elements everyone should know when it comes to sex offenses and consent.
Anyone under 13 cannot consent in any way
In Virginia, the Age of Consent laws declare minors under the age of 13 unable to consent to any form of sexual activity. That means, even if you claim that the contact was consensual, you still committed a crime.
Minors under 15 cannot consent with a legal adult
Anyone over the age of 18 cannot legally have any sexual contact with minors under the age of 15. Specific laws exist regarding the permissible age differences for those who are 15 or older, but anyone under 15 cannot consent to sexual contact with a legal adult.
You do have defense options
When faced with charges for sexual contact with a minor, there are defense options. Even if the minor in question is under 15, you may have a defense against the charges if you believed them to be over the age of 18. If they presented themselves in good faith to be 18 and it was reasonable for you to believe it, that may be a sufficient defense.
Sex crime convictions come with serious penalties. Fight the charges to reduce your chance of a conviction.