There are two statutes in Virginia that deal with the offense of sexual battery; one is a misdemeanor and the other is a felony. Many sexual battery cases fall into the notorious “he said/she said” category and ultimately come down to witness credibility.
What is Sexual Battery?
Misdemeanor Sexual Battery:
A. An accused is guilty of sexual battery if he sexually abuses, as defined in § 18.2-67.10, (i) the complaining witness against the will of the complaining witness, by force, threat, intimidation, or ruse, (ii) within a two-year period, more than one complaining witness or one complaining witness on more than one occasion intentionally and without the consent of the complaining witness, (iii) an inmate who has been committed to jail or convicted and sentenced to confinement in a state or local correctional facility or regional jail, and the accused is an employee or contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, the state or local correctional facility or regional jail; is in a position of authority over the inmate; and knows that the inmate is under the jurisdiction of the state or local correctional facility or regional jail, or (iv) a probationer, parolee, or a pretrial defendant or posttrial offender under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, a local community-based probation services agency, a pretrial services agency, a local or regional jail for the purposes of imprisonment, a work program or any other parole/probationary or pretrial services or agency and the accused is an employee or contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, the Department of Corrections, a local community-based probation services agency, a pretrial services agency or a local or regional jail; is in a position of authority over an offender; and knows that the offender is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, a local community-based probation services agency, a pretrial services agency or a local or regional jail.
Aggravated Sexual Battery:
A. An accused shall be guilty of aggravated sexual battery if he or she sexually abuses the complaining witness, and
- The complaining witness is less than 13 years of age, or
- The act is accomplished through the use of the complaining witness’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness, or
- The offense is committed by a parent, step-parent, grandparent, or step-grandparent and the complaining witness is at least 13 but less than 18 years of age, or
- The act is accomplished against the will of the complaining witness by force, threat or intimidation, and
- The complaining witness is at least 13 but less than 15 years of age, or
b. The accused causes serious bodily or mental injury to the complaining witness, or
c. The accused uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon.
Simply put, misdemeanor sexual battery involves the use of force or threat to touch another person against his or her will in order to achieve sexual gratification.
Aggravated sexual battery, a felony, includes all of the same elements as the misdemeanor charge but adds in an aggravating factor such as age, relation, and/or severity of injury.
Sentencing and Punishment
If you are charged with misdemeanor sexual battery, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500.
Aggravated sexual battery is a felony punishable by confinement in a state correctional facility for a term of not less than one nor more than 20 years and by a fine of not more than $100,000.
What to do if you are Charged with Sexual Battery
Being charged with sexual battery is a very serious matter. It is important to secure legal representation as soon as possible to protect defendants through the criminal process, open avenues for rehabilitation and keep imprisonment sentences as low as possible. If you, a family member, or a friend were charged with sexual battery of any degree, contact Naum Estevez, PLLC’s assault lawyers for a free case consultation.