State laws prohibiting certain types of consensual sexual activity typically reflect the social norms of the state, and are thus subject to change as society changes. Some of these laws include sodomy, indecent exposure, and statutory rape.
Sodomy Laws In Virginia
For example, most states had laws criminalizing sodomy, even though this is considered a strictly private matter between consenting adults. However, the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 that it is unconstitutional to bar consensual sex between adults, calling it a violation of the 14th Amendment.
It took a while for the Commonwealth to catch on. Lawmakers finally invalidated state sodomy laws in 2014. While sodomy laws are no longer considered valid, other types of sexual activities are considered illegal in Virginia.
Indecent Exposure In Virginia
Another class of consensual sexual activity that Virginia prohibits is indecent exposure. It is considered indecent exposure when an individual exposes his or her private parts in a public space, or in a place where other people are present.
This excludes breastfeeding, but can include acts such as masturbation, sexual intercourse, and exhibitionism.
Keep in mind, intentional exposure of private parts to any child under 15 years old or attempting to encourage that child to expose his or her private parts is considered a felony and can lead to fines as well as up to 10 years in prison.
Statutory Rape In Virginia
While the Commonwealth doesn't use the phrase "statutory rape," the criminal act is essentially the same. There are two separate "statutory rape" crimes in Virginia.
The first statute deals with carnal knowledge of a child between 13 and 15 years of age. Essentially if you are 18 years of age or older and have sex with a 13 or 14 year old minor, it's a Class 4 felony and punishable by 2-10 years and up to $100,000 fine.
The second statute deals with someone 18 years old or older having sex with someone age 15, 16, or 17 years of age. That's a class one misdemeanor and punishable with up to one year in jail and a $2,500.00 fine.
Virginia's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws are itemized below. See FindLaw's Sex Crimes section for related topics.
|Sodomy Laws||None, law struck down in 2014|
|HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders|
|Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts||
Indecent Exposure: §18.2-387, Class 1 misdemeanor
|Registration As Sex Offender?|
Note: Virginia laws regarding sex crimes are constantly changing. The laws are complex, and not something you want to try to defend yourself against on your own. Contact a Virginia sex crimes lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Virginia Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources
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While consensual sex is by definition not an act of assault against another, states do have certain laws protecting minors (who cannot consent) and the public. If you have been charged with a sex-related crime, have a criminal attorney experienced with sex crime cases review your case at no charge.
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