If you live in the south west part of Virginia and you or a loved one is being investigated for a child pornography charge, solicitation of a minor (child sexual exploitation) or child trafficking, you are probably going to be investigated by the Southern Virginia Crimes Against Children Task Force (SOVA ICAC).
This is a specially created task force that is comprised of law enforcement officers from different counties in Southern Virginia specifically to investigate child pornography cases, solicitation of a minor offenses (child sexual exploitation is the official term) or child traffic charges. This task force is authorized to bring charges either in state court or in federal court. If the case is brought in the federal court, you will prosecuted in the US District Court Western District of Virginia.
If this is the case, immediately stop talking to law enforcement and contact a skilled Virginia sex crimes lawyer.
What is child pornography in Virginia?
Any sort of image or video created, distributed, reproduced or possessed by an individual that shows a sexual interest in children is deemed to be child pornography in Virginia. The low cost of obtaining internet access and the availability of different sites with child pornographic content enables individuals to access, possess, distribute or reproduce child pornography in Virginia. A skilled Virginia child pornography lawyer can assist clients charged with these types of offenses. An experienced Virginia sex crimes attorney will review all of the evidence in terms of the videos and images identified by law enforcement, try to understand the psychiatry of the accused individual, his underlying motivations, the reasons for deviance, and sexual interests. Cases of child pornography often have other sex crimes related to the underlying charge such as online solicitation of a minor, rape, indecent liberties with a minor, aggravated sexual assault, etc.
The Virginia child pornography lawyer you hire to defend you will try to understand the accused’s desire to view such material. Most of these cases involve images or videos of children who are between the ages of 6 months to 14 years of age. Sometimes, child pornography cases involved two minors who are sexting (taking selfies of the minor’s private parts and sending it to a boyfriend or girlfriend). Sexting can result in charges of possession of child pornography and/or distribution. Too often young teens are charged with sexting and facing the possibility of becoming a convicted sex offender. A conviction for child pornography will inevitably destroy the personal and professional lives of those charged with this offense. Such instances become more visible when the case involves production, possession, and distribution of the child pornography material. A child pornography lawyer in Virginia will do his best to help you get the best possible outcome based on the facts of your charges. Keep in mind that if you are facing federal charges in Abingdon, Big Stone Gap, Charlottesville, Danville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg or Roanoke Federal Court, you will need a highly experienced Federal child pornography lawyer to defend these types of charges in the Western District of Virginia. In the Western District, the type of charges an individual case faces is often distribution of child pornography or trafficking.
The penalties for child pornography are different in Virginia depending upon the nature of the crime. If a person is convicted of possession of child pornography, then this will be charged as the class 6 felony which involves either a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of $2,500. The class 5 felony includes cases of severe nature with a charge of prison sentence from one to ten years and a fine of up to $2,500. The charge for production of child pornography leads to a minimum sentence of five years and up to forty years. Such a charge not only involves the production of pornographic images but also the charge of soliciting and enticing the minor for producing pornographic images. Assistance from a Virginia child pornography lawyer may not only help you gain legal counseling, but provide you with the strongest possible defense given the circumstances of your case. The penalties for the felony charged heavily depends upon the age of the minors involved in the case and any previous convictions of the perpetrator. Distribution of child pornography has been characterized as the class 4 felony and involves a fine of up to $100,000 with a prison sentence of five to twenty years. Distribution of child pornography does not merely involve the selling of such material, but also the efforts one makes to make it available for the others.
Our Virginia sex crimes lawyers understand that convictions for child pornography often lead to being a registered sex offender for the rest of your life. Therefore, they do everything in their power to beat the charges against you. A dismissal is mainly favorable in such cases which are based on bringing claims regarding the true age of minors. Through hiring a professional team of lawyers to defend you may be your best defense.
What Is Solicitation Of A Minor Virginia (Child Sexual Exploitation)
Solicitation of a minor is the attempt to involve a minor to enter into sexual acts or sexual contact with an individual over the age of 18 and is both a state and federal crime. A conviction for this sex crime can result in serious penalties for the sex offender. The penalties are even more severe when the youth is under a certain age or when there is a greater difference in age between the two parties than three years. Most solicitations occur through online interaction with a computer such as through a chat room or with instant messaging through the use of apps such as Kik, etc.
Keep in mind that the attempt to solicit a minor can result in a conviction. There is no need to prove sexual interaction between the two parties. The solicitation involves intention and the exchange of details between the minor and adult.
This crime falls under Virginia Code § 18.2-374.3, which is called use of communication systems to facilitate certain offenses involving children. This law is used to prosecute those accused of using communication systems in an attempt to engage in sexual activity with a minor.
It shall be unlawful for any person to use a communications system, including but not limited to computers or computer networks or bulletin boards, or any other electronic means for the purposes of procuring or promoting the use of a minor for any activity in violation of 18.2-370 or 18.2-374.1. A violation of this subsection is a Class 6 felony.
It shall be unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to use a communications system, including but not limited to computers or computer networks or bulletin boards, or any other electronic means, for the purposes of soliciting any person he knows or has reason to believe is a child less than 18 years of age for (i) any activity in violation of 18.2-355 or 18.2-361, (ii) any activity in violation of 18.2-374.1, (iii) a violation of 18.2-374.1:1, or (iv) any activity in violation of subsection A of 18.2-370. As used in this subsection, “use a communications system” means making personal contact or direct contact through any agent or agency, any print medium, the United States mail, any common carrier or communication common carrier, any electronic communications system, or any telecommunications, wire, computer, or radio communications system. A violation of this subsection is a Class 5 felony. However, if the person is at least seven years older than the child he knows or has reason to believe is less than 15 years of age, the person shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years nor more than 30 years in a state correctional facility, five years of which shall be mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. Any person who commits a second or subsequent violation of this subsection when the person is at least seven years older than the child he knows or has reason to believe is less than 15 years of age shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years nor more than 40 years, 10 years of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.
These crimes can range from aggravated sexual battery, sexual abuse, child molestation, indecent exposure, Internet solicitation, indecent liberties, rape, sodomy, or object sexual penetration. These include “statutory rape,” which is often charged as “Unlawful Carnal Knowledge of a Minor.”
If you have been charged with solicitation of a minor in Virginia, speak to a Virginia sex crimes lawyer immediately at 888-437-7747.
What Is Child Trafficking In Virginia
Sex trafficking is a criminal act wherein someone profits through the control and sexual exploitation of another person. Child sex trafficking is the same except the exploited individual is not an adult, but a minor. There is no distinction in the sex or gender of the victim or any separation of age or citizenship.
The average age of sex trafficking victims in Virginia is between 12- 15 years. Based on the investigation by the task force, they have determined that the victims of child trafficking are not kidnapped off the streets and bound in chains. They have identified that the typical pattern is for a girl who is lonely, unhappy, rebellious, adventurous, or some combination, to meet a trafficker, who poses as a friend and over time gains influence through empathy, attention and acceptance. The initial meetings typically happen on-line or in shopping malls or other public places.
After winning a girl’s trust, a typical tactic is for the trafficker to break her will by raping her, or staging a gang rape, sometimes filming the episode for blackmail. Drugs are another method of control. Also common is threatening harm to family members if the victim comes forward. But some victims are ensnared by emotional dependence, or fear, without strong-arm tactics being necessary.
The typical buyer of teenaged sex is married, male, with children, and money to spend. Also, trafficking follows the highways. Traffickers, whether local or interstate, like mobility and the anonymity of travel nodes – as do buyers. Converging highways make for easy contact, fast access to motels, and quick exits. The vast open spaces of Southern Virginia enable child traffickers to hide easily and this draws in sex trafficking like a neon sign into Southern Virginia.
If you have been accused or are being investigated or have been charged with child trafficking in Virginia and need a skilled Virginia child trafficking Lawyer, call our office immediately for help at 888-437-7747.
Call our office immediately if you need help in any of the following jurisdictions in Virginia: Alleghany, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Carroll, Craig, Dickenson, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Grayson, Henry, Lee, Lynchburg, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, Wythe, Bristol, Buena Vista, Covington, Galax, Lexington, Martinsville, Norton, Radford, Roanoke, Salem, Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Danville, Emporia, South Hill and Martinsville.
NOTE: Bedford County and Lynchburg prosecutors aggressively prosecute child pornography, solicitation of a minor and child sex trafficking in state court. Bedford County has three primary prosecutors who prosecute these types of sex crimes. The task force is very comfortable working with the Bedford County and Lynchburg Prosecutors’ office. The three federal courts that see a substantial number of these types of sex offenses are Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and Roanoke Federal Courts. A fair number of cases arise from students who go to Liberty University.
If you have been targeted for investigation or prosecution for a sex crime in Southern Virginia, call our office immediately at 888-437-7747. We defend clients before the state courts and federal courts of Virginia.