Cary Citronberg Teaches Course on Autism and Internet Sex Crimes in Virginia

Oct 18, 2023

Cary Citronberg, a partner at the Alexandria-based law firm Johnson/Citronberg, recently taught a legal course on leveraging autism in internet sex crimes cases to fellow Virginia criminal lawyers. The course, which was put on by the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (VACDL), focused on how defense lawyers in Virginia can use an autism diagnosis to get their clients a better deal.

Cary is widely regarded as a leading expert in the field of internet sex crimes cases, including child pornography and solicitation of a minor cases.

Cary’s course looked at a relatively new provision in Virginia law, which allows for a judge to dismiss child pornography charges where 1) the defendant has been diagnosed with autism or an intellectual disability and 2) there is a direct and substantial relationship between the criminal offense and the person’s mental disorder. You can read more about the Virginia law and its requirements here.

Cary explained how the defense lawyer should make a presentation to the Commonwealth (and perhaps later to the Court as well) to convince the prosecutor that the defendant should benefit from Virginia’s autism law. To prepare for these presentations, Cary outlined that the defense lawyer should do a number of things to get their client’s case dismissed, including:

  1. Have the client undergo a psychological evaluation by a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.
  2. Obtain a report from the psychiatrist or clinical psychologist showing an autism diagnosis as well as a substantial connection between the diagnosis and the offense.
  3. Gather studies from experts explaining the employment difficulties that people with autism face after a criminal conviction.
  4. Gather letters from family members explaining that the burden of caring for the defendant will fall on them.
  5. Prepare a detailed treatment plan.

By following these steps, a criminal lawyer can ensure that their clients with autism are fully protected under Virginia law.

If someone you know with autism has been accused of an internet sex crime, such as child pornography or online solicitation of a minor, you can contact Cary Citronberg at 855-959-4003 to discuss if he can help. Cary works primarily out of Johnson/Citronberg’s Alexandria office, but he represents clients accused of sex crimes across Virginia, including Fairfax and Charlottesville.

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