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The elements of sexual assault

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2020 | Criminal defense |

Virginia residents who are forced to engage in sexual activity against their will are likely victims of sexual assault. Examples of sexual assault include inserting something into a person’s anus or vagina or kissing a person without his or her permission. Those who allegedly engage in such behavior may face assault and battery, attempted rape or other charges. Often, crimes involving penetration will be considered felonies while those involving touching will be considered misdemeanors.

Individuals may be charged with these and similar crimes regardless of their gender or the gender of their victims. Depending on the circumstances of a case, a minor may be charged with sexual assault against another minor. A person may still commit this type of crime even if the perpetrator and the victim are married. Generally speaking, states have rescinded spousal exemptions to their sexual assault statutes or have banned marriage as a defense against a sexual assault charge.

Generally speaking, a person could be found guilty of sexual assault if the victim lacked the mental capacity to understand what he or she experienced. For example, a person who impaired by drugs or alcohol may lack the capacity to consent to sexual activity. Sexual assault can also occur by force or by convincing a victim that he or she face negative repercussions for not participating in a sexual act.

Individuals who are charged with improper touching, battery or rape may spend many years in prison if convicted of those charges. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help a person avoid prison or other possible penalties. This may be done by asserting that an alleged victim consented to acts that occurred during an encounter. It may also be possible to have evidence suppressed, which may result in a case being dismissed.