Like other states, Virginia requires those convicted of certain sex crimes, or even certain crimes that could have a component of sexual abuse, to register as sex offenders.
Some of the crimes that can land a Harrisonburg resident on the registry may seem fairly obvious. For instance, someone successfully accused of rape or of certain crimes related to the assault of children will wind up on the registry, sometimes for life.
However, there are other crimes that come with a registry requirement but that many people may find themselves accused of. For instance, the simple possession of child pornography can come with a registration requirement, as can certain offenses related to criminal prostitution.
The consequences of being required to register are severe and can last for a long time after one has served his sentence and term of probation. For one, not registering as required can lead to a separate criminal allegation.
On the other hand, once one does legally register, his name and other information, including the nature of his offense, is widely available to the public. Given the social stigma associated with sex crimes, this can make it very hard for a person to find a job or even to live in a neighborhood free of harassment.
Being on the sex offender registry is just one more possible consequence Virginia residents who are accused of a sex crime may face.
Additionally, jail time and strict terms of probation are real possibilities. A person who is accused of sex crimes will likely need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney with making sure that her rights are protected and that her story gets effectively told. It is, after all, quite easy for the public and even those in the legal world to jump to conclusions when it comes to sex crimes.