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Defendants accused of statutory rape often claim that they had no reason to know that their partner was underage.They may argue that the victim herself represented that she was older than she was, and that a reasonable person would have believed her.In Virginia, it is illegal for an adult (someone 18 or older) to have sex with a minor (someone younger than 18), even if the sex is consensual.Those who break the law have committed statutory rape.This incurs at least one (and up to five) years in prison; or between one month and one year in jail, a fine of up to ,500, or both.And the offense is a Class 4 misdemeanor when the defendant is younger than 18 and than three years older than the victim.

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This offense is a Class 6 felony when the defendant is younger than 18 at least three years older than the victim.Defendants charged with statutory rape have the usual defenses available to all criminal defendants, such as “Someone else committed this crime,” or “The alleged conduct did not occur.” But under Virginia law, some other defenses may apply in statutory rape cases.Virginia has a marital exemption for statutory rape that allows consensual sex between a married minor and that minor’s spouse, even though their ages would prohibit it if they were not married.But as in most states, in Virginia even a reasonable mistake of age is not a defense to statutory rape.If you are facing a statutory rape charge, consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in your area.

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