Aggravated sexual battery is a serious felony offense in Virginia. If you are convicted, you could face decades in prison. However, you may be able to raise strong defenses to the charges you face that could result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Elements of the Crime of Aggravated Sexual Battery
Sexual assault is the intentional or forced touching of the victim’s intimate parts against their will. Under Virginia Code §18.2-67.3, one of these specific circumstances must have been met for the charges to be increased to aggravated sexual battery:
- The victim was younger than 13 years old.
- The crime occurred through the use of the victim’s mental or physical incapacitation.
- The victim was between 13 and 17 years old, and the perpetrator was their parent, step-parent, grandparent, or step-grandparent.
- The accused used force, threats, or intimidation to commit the sexual battery against the victim’s will. In addition, one of these three elements must be proven: the victim must have been 13 or 14 years old, suffered a physical or mental injury, or was assaulted with the use of a deadly weapon.
If convicted, an individual could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $100,000.
Defenses to Aggravated Sexual Assault
The prosecutor must prove all the elements of aggravated sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt. One way to defend against these charges is to prove that they did not establish one of the elements of the crime.
What defenses can be raised will depend on why the prosecutor claims the charges should be elevated to a felony offense. Defenses could include:
- If the victim was older than 13 years old, the defendant could argue that the charges should be a misdemeanor sexual assault charge and not aggravated sexual battery.
- The victim was not mentally or physically incapacitated.
- No force, threat, or intimidation was used in the assault.
- If the prosecutor alleges that force, threats, or intimidation was used, none of the three additional elements that must be established were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Other defenses that might be raised included:
- The victim falsely accused the defendant of sexual battery.
- The accused was mistakenly identified as the perpetrator of the crime.
If you have been charged with aggravated sexual assault, you need the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who will aggressively fight the charges you face. To learn how we can assist you, call our Manassas office today to schedule your free consultation.