Virginia Rape and Sexual Battery Laws

Virginia has several statutes addressing illegal sexual behavior under the broad umbrella of "criminal sexual assault." The types of sex crimes addressed in this section are rape, aggravated sexual battery, and sexual battery, just to name a few. The main difference between rape and sexual battery is that rape involves sexual intercourse while sexual battery involves sexual abuse. These types of crimes are treated seriously in Virginia. In fact, in addition to carrying a punishment that requires incarceration, many of Virginia's criminal sexual assault laws require the offender to join the sex offender registry.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can contact local law enforcement or the National Sexual Assault Hotline for help.

Virginia Rape and Sexual Battery Laws at a Glance

It's always important to read the literal language of statutes when researching the law. But it can be equally as important to read an overview of the statutes in plain English as well. The following table highlights the main provisions of Virginia's rape and sexual battery laws and provides links to relevant statutes.

Statute(s)

Virginia Code Section 18.2-61, et seq. (Criminal Sexual Assault)

Rape

(Section 18.2-61) Sexual intercourse with a person, whether or not their spouse, under one of the following circumstances:

  • Against their will by force, threat or intimidation against the victim or another person;
  • Through the use of the victim's mental incapacity or physical helplessness; or
  • If the victim is under 13 years old.

Rape is punishable by 5 years to life in prison, at the discretion of the court or jury. Please see the statute for additional punishments that are dependent on the circumstances of the rape.

Aggravated Sexual Battery

(Section 18.2-67.3) Sexually abusing someone under any one of the following circumstances:

  • If the victim is less than 13 years old;
  • Through the use of the victim's mental incapacity or physical helplessness;
  • The offender is a parent, grandparent, step-parent, or step-grandparent and the victim is between 13 and 18 years old;
  • Against the victim's will by force, threat or intimidation, and either (1) the witness is between 13 and 15 years old, (2) the offender causes serious injury (bodily or mental) to the victim, or (3) the offender used or threaten to use a dangerous weapon.

Aggravated sexual battery is a felony punishably by 1 -20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Sexual Battery

(Section 18.2-67.4) Sexually abusing a person under any one of the following circumstances:

  • Against their will by force, threat, intimidation, or trick;
  • Within a two-year period more than one victim or with one victim on more than one occasion without consent;
  • If the victim is an inmate and the offender is in a position of authority over the victim; or
  • If the victim is a probationer, parolee, or pretrial defendant and the offender is in a position of authority over the victim.

Sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Charges for Attempt to Commit Certain Sex Crimes

The attempt to commit certain sex crimes are charged as follows:

Related Statute(s)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Virginia Rape and Sexual Battery Laws: Related Resources

For more information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links below.

Get Legal Help with Your Rape or Sexual Battery Case in Virginia

Sex crimes are serious. A conviction can result in severe consequences, including lengthy prison sentences and having to register as a sex offender. If you find yourself facing a rape or sexual battery charge in Virginia, it's in your best interest to reach out to a local sex crime attorney to discuss your case and find out about your rights and options.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.