Fairfax Felony Lawyer Explains Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor under Va Code 18.2-371 and Possible Defenses
In this article, a skilled Fairfax felony lawyer will explain the offense of contributing to the delinquency of a minor under Virginia Code 18.2-371, its penalties, and possible defenses. Understanding the details of this offense is crucial if you find yourself accused of such a crime.
Definition of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
According to Virginia Code 18.2-371, an adult can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor if they engage in consensual sexual intercourse or anal intercourse with or performs cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus upon or by a child 15 or older not his spouse, child, or grandchild. If a person has sex with a family member under the age of 18, that is Aggravated Sexual Battery under Virginia Code 18.2-67.3.
Key elements of the offense
To be convicted of this crime, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant is at least 18 years old.
- The victim is age 15 to 17.
- The defendant engaged in consensual sexual intercourse or other sexual acts with the victim.
Penalties under Va Code 18.2-371
Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. If convicted, the defendant may face:
- Up to 12 months in jail
- A fine of up to $2,500
- Probation and community service
When is this charged?
Generally, someone over the age of 18 is dating or in a sexual relationship with a child age 15, 16, or 17. This can even be charged if one child turns 18, then has intercourse with their partner who is under the age of 18. The law makes no allowances for a prior existing relationship.
There are several defenses that a skilled Fairfax felony lawyer might use to defend someone accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor:
Lack of Evidence
The prosecution must prove that the defendant had consensual sexual intercourse with the child age 15, 16, or 17. They need the child or other witness to cooperate, which is often difficult when dealing with relationships between people who are nearly adults. Further, they have to prove the child or the defendant were the proper age to fit the elements of the crime. There are defenses available if they can't prove the child was below 18 when the crime occurred, or the defendant above 18.
Mistake of fact
Parents can be charged with this crime if they allow sexual relationships to occur between someone 18 or older and their minor child. However, the prosecution must show the parent knew about the relationship and did nothing.
Mistake of Age
You could have a defense if the child mislead you into believing they were 18 years or older. Contributing requires the defendant “willfully” contribute to delinquency. Such a factor can also be used to reduce a possible sentence upon conviction.
Importance of hiring a skilled Fairfax felony lawyer
If you are facing charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, it is essential to hire an experienced Fairfax felony lawyer to represent you. Some reasons to hire a lawyer include:
Expertise in criminal defense
A skilled lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the laws, procedures, and possible defenses related to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. They can evaluate the evidence and present the best possible defense in your case.
Protecting your rights
Your lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the criminal process, from the initial arrest to trial. This includes challenging unlawful searches or seizures and ensuring you are treated fairly by the justice system.
Crafting a strong defense strategy
An experienced lawyer can develop a comprehensive defense strategy tailored to your specific case. This might involve negotiating a plea bargain, getting charges reduced, or even securing a dismissal of the charges.
Contributing to the delinquency of a minor under Virginia Code 18.2-371 is a serious offense with severe consequences. If you are facing charges, it is crucial to seek the help of a skilled Fairfax felony lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. With the right defense strategy, you may be able to successfully challenge the charges against you.
- What is the age limit for being considered a minor in Virginia?
In Virginia, a minor is anyone under the age of 18.
- Can a parent be charged with contributing to the delinquency of their own child?
Yes, a parent can be charged with this offense if they willfully contribute to their child's delinquency, such as providing alcohol or encouraging illegal behavior.
- Are there any exceptions to the penalties for contributing to the delinquency of a minor?
In some cases, the court may impose alternative penalties, such as community service, probation, or counseling, depending on the circumstances of the case.
- Can a felony charge be reduced to a misdemeanor in Virginia?
It depends on the specific circumstances of the case and the discretion of the prosecutor. In some cases, a skilled defense attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction of charges from a felony to a misdemeanor.
- How long does a conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor stay on my record?
A conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor will remain on your criminal record indefinitely.