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Distinctions make a difference in VA sex crime cases

No one would argue that engaging in practices involving child pornography is OK. Youngsters have a right to be protected from such things, so society has responded with laws that call for severe punishment when a person is found guilty of such crimes.

Depending on the nature of the alleged offense, however, Virginia law draws lines of distinction on the punishment that should be imposed. To be sure you are protecting your rights to the fullest extent possible, you should be sure that the person representing your interests can demonstrate the necessary depth of skill and experience to give you confidence. As examples of what we mean by the distinctions spelled out in the code consider the following.

Within the state code, there are specific headings that deal with the issues that affect our everyday lives. Currently they fall under some 67 such headings. Matters dealing with child pornography are dealt with under Title 18.2 – Crimes and Offenses Generally. To get to particular relevant laws, you have to dig down to Chapter 8 of that title – Crimes Involving Morals and Decency. From there one has to go even deeper to Article 4 dealing with Crimes Against Children.

Here is where clearer lines of criminal offense are drawn. One section states that it is illegal to possess, copy, distribute, solicit or facilitate child pornography. A first offense can bring a Class 6 felony charge, punishable by a term of incarceration of up to five years, a significant fine, or both. Subsequent offenses can lead to harsher charges and the penalties get worse.

Another section zeroes in on just the act of communicating child pornography. At the low end of the scale, a person who uses a computer, a network, the internet, email or other electronic means could face a felony charge of the sixth degree. If a Class 5 felony charge is brought and conviction is obtained, the penalty can be more severe.

In all these instances, the penalties are noteworthy, however the bigger concern might be that a person found guilty of the charges is required to be added to the state's sex offender registry. What effect that might have on one's hopes and dreams for the future can be hard to gauge, but it isn't positive.

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