In Virginia, the age of consent is 18 years old. At that age, a person may legally consent to sex with any other adult, regardless of the age difference between them.
Are There Any Other Provisions or Important Ages?
Close-in-age: Virginia has a close-in-age provision, which allows two minors who are both below the age of majority to consent to sexual activity with one another. Under these provisions, minors between the age of 13 and 15 can consent to sexual activity with one another. Similarly, minors between the age of 15 and 17 can consent to sex with each other.
Strict Cut-off: Many states offer individuals 18 or slightly older to have sex with someone close in age, much like the scenario above. For example, in State X, it would not be uncommon to permit a 17 year old and a 19 year old to have sex without fear of prosecution. Virginia is not one of these states, and once the age of majority is reached, any sexual conduct with anyone below the age of consent is a misdemeanor.
Are There Any Defenses?
Although Virginia does not technically refer to this type of sexual crime as rape or statutory rape, it is treated similarly. As such, it will be treated as a strict liability offense. This means it does not matter if someone has a good-faith, mistaken belief or was even lied to - they will still be held criminally liable.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you believe you may be liable for violating age of consent laws in Virginia, you should contact a lawyer immediately. A Virginia criminal defense attorney will be able to explain your rights and represent you in the event of prosecution.