Pennsylvania Sex Crimes Overview
If you are being investigated or charged in West Chester PA, Chester County or the greater Philadelphia area, for any type of sex crime or sex crime related offense, the time is now to speak with and experienced and aggressive sex crimes defense attorney. As most people are aware, any offense involving sex carries a strong negative stigma, which can last for your lifetime in some instances. Because sexual offenders in the state of Pennsylvania are required to register as a sex offender and be listed in the sex offender database, the stigma of a sex crime can completely alter the course of your life. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, you could be convicted of a sexual offense based on very thin evidence, false accusations, or exaggerated claims. Juries are notoriously tough on accused sex offenders, therefore it is extremely important that you have a highly skilled Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney by your side from start to finish. Rather than panic, contact our experienced defense team now at (610) 692-8700.
There are many different types of sexual offenses under Pennsylvania law, including:
Rape can be charged under Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 18, Section 3121. When a person uses force, or the threat of force to engage in sexual intercourse—vaginal, oral or anal—against the other person’s will, rape can be charged. Rape can also include penetration by objects, although this crime may be charged under involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, rather than rape. The person may be considered unable to give consent because they are drugged, unconscious, or have a mental illness. Rape of a child can be charged when an adult has sexual intercourse with a child who is twelve years old or younger. If the child suffers bodily harm during the act of sexual intercourse, the penalties will be significantly enhanced. Any type of rape in the state of Pennsylvania is charged as a first-degree felony.
Under Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 18, Section 3127, the crime of indecent exposure can be charged against a person who exposes his or her genitals in a public place—or any place where others are present—in a manner which is likely to alarm, affront or offend. Indecent exposure is generally charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, unless a child who is younger than 16 is present, and it can be shown that you knew, or should have known the younger person was present, then it will be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
Under Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 18, Section 3127, you could be charged with sexual assault, which covers sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse which happens without consent of the other person, and is not covered under Pennsylvania rape statutes, or the statutes covering involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Sexual assault is charged as a second-degree felony.
Indecent assault is charged under Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 18, Section 3126. If you caused the alleged victim to come into contact with semen, urine or feces without his or her consent, or if the other person was too young to give consent, and your purpose was to sexually satisfy yourself, you could be charged with indecent assault. If the contact between you and the other person was not consensual, or if the victim was younger than the age of sixteen, and you were more than four years older, you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. If you used force, or a threat of force, if the victim was unable to give consent (he or she was mentally disabled, unconscious, drugged, or younger than 13), then the crime will be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
Under Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 18, Section 3125, aggravated indecent assault may be charged under the same conditions as rape, of penetrating another person’s genitals or anus by your body part for any reason other than law enforcement, medical or hygienic purposes. Charges of aggravated indecent assault are a second-degree felony, unless the victim is younger than the age of 13, then it is a first-degree felony.
Other sexual crimes in the state of Pennsylvania include:
- Internet sex crimes
- Child pornography charges
- Child sexual assault
- Online solicitation of a minor
- Date rape
- Statutory rape
- Spousal rape
- Failure to register as a sex offender
- Child molestation
- Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Potential Penalties for Pennsylvania Sexual Offenses
Sexual offenses in the state of Pennsylvania have harsh penalties, including being forced to register as a sexual offender once you have served your sentence. Some of the penalties for Pennsylvania sexual offenses include the following:
· A conviction for a second-degree misdemeanor can result in two years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine;
· A conviction for a first-degree misdemeanor can result in up to five years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine;
· A conviction for a third-degree felony can result in up to seven years in prison, and a fine as large as $15,000;
· A conviction for a second-degree felony can result in up to ten years in prison and a fine as large as $25,000, and
· A conviction for a first-degree felony can result in up to 20 years in prison and a fine as large as $25,000.
Information on Pennsylvania Sexual Offenses
- Types of Sex Offenses in Philadelphia
- Prison Time and Fines for Sex Crimes
- Megan’s Law and Sex Offender Registration in Chester County
Types of Sex Offenses in Philadelphia
Rape (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3121)
Rape is defined, in Pennsylvania law, as the accused engaging in sexual intercourse with another person, using force or the threat of force. This includes genital, anal and oral sex. Any penetration of the genitals, anus or mouth with an object is a charge called “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse,” which results in the same penalties as rape, if convicted. Both rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse are first degree felonies.
Rape also includes sexual intercourse with lack of consent. Lack of consent can mean, under the law, that the victim could not give consent because of unconsciousness, if he or she was drugged by the accused or if the victim has some sort of mental illness or physical disability that prevent him or her from being able to give consent. It also includes any situation where the victim is younger than 13.
Rape of a child has greater penalties than other rape charges: They may result in up to 40 years in prison. If the child suffered serious injury, then the maximum penalty goes up to life imprisonment.
Aggravated Indecent Assault (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3125)
Charges of aggravated indecent assault involve penetration of the victim with any other part of the body under the same conditions as rape — by force, threat of force or without the victim’s consent. The other part of the body could include the finger. The assault cannot have been for valid medical, hygienic or law enforcement purposes. If the victim is 13 or older, then the charges are a second degree felony; if younger, the charges are a first degree felony.
Sexual Assault (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3124.1, 3122.1 and 3124.2)
Sexual assault includes any sexual intercourse that occurs without the victim’s consent that would not fall under rape, involuntary deviate intercourse or other statutes. For example, if the victim says he or she was too drunk to give consent, it might be sexual assault. It is a second degree felony.
Statutory sexual assault means sex with a person younger than 16 when the accused is four or more years older than the victim, and is also a second degree felony.
Institutional sexual assault means the accused had sex or intimate contact with a person who is an inmate, detainee, patient or resident of a facility where the accused worked and had some kind of power over the victim. It is a third degree felony.
Indecent Assault (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3125)
Indecent assault charges mean the accused allegedly caused the victim to come into contact with a seminal fluid, like semen, urine or feces with the purpose of gratifying the accused’s sexual desires. The contact had to be without consent.
If the contact was just nonconsensual and the victim was an adult, the charges are a second degree misdemeanor. If the victim was younger than 16, then it is a first degree misdemeanor. If the contact was forcible or the victim was younger than 13, drugged, unconscious or mentally ill, then the charges are a third degree felony. They are also a third degree if prosecutors can prove a pattern of behavior.
Indecent Exposure (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3127)
Indecent exposure involves the accused exposing his or her genitals in public or any place where a person would likely be offended, affronted or alarmed. It is a second degree misdemeanor unless the accused knew or should have known children younger than 16 would be present, in which case it is a first degree misdemeanor.
Sexual Abuse of Children (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312)
It is a crime called sexual abuse of children to intentionally or knowingly create, sell, disseminate, view or possess child pornography, defined as any photograph, video or computer-assisted depiction of children younger than 18 involved in a sexual act or the simulation of a sexual act. Any charge is a second degree felony except a first offense of viewing, possessing or controlling child pornography, which is a third degree felony.
Prison Time and Fines for Sex Crimes
Sex crimes in Pennsylvania carry penalties of prison and fines. The maximums for each depend on the type of charge:
- First Degree Felony: 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
- Second Degree Felony: 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
- Third Degree Felony: Seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine
- First Degree Misdemeanor: Five years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Second Degree Misdemeanor: Two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Megan’s Law and Sex Offender Registration in Chester County
Prison time and fines are hardly the only punishment sex offenders receive, and, for many people, it isn’t even the worst punishment. After released from prison, Megan’s Law requires people convicted of sex offenses against children to report to local law enforcement officials.
Additionally, Pennsylvania has a sex offender database a person convicted of certain offenses must register in. The database is available on the internet, and people may search by name or may look for sex offenders near their address. This is far easier than a standard background check, meaning that not only employers and loan officers will see your conviction, but also neighbors and anyone with whom you hope to have a relationship with.
The consequences are dire, but a West Chester criminal defense attorney can help you prevent them by fighting the charges for you.
Those convicted of any of the following crimes must register:
- Aggravated Indecent Assault
- Indecent Assault where the victim was a child younger than 13
- Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
- Promotion of Prostitution, where the victims were minors
- Unlawful Contact with a Minor
- Unlawful Communication with a Minor
- Sexual Exploitation of Children
- Kidnapping of a Minor
Why You Need an Experienced Pennsylvania Attorney
If you are required to register as a sex offender, all the details of your life will be available to anyone who can conduct a simple Internet search. Your photo, where you work, where you live, and the details of your crime will be out there for others to look at. You could find you have great difficulty obtaining employment, you could be prohibited from obtaining a professional license or a government student loan to attend college, you could have difficulty finding a place to live, and you will lose your right to own a firearm and vote in an election. If you are facing any type of Pennsylvania sexual offense charge, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as early as possible after you are charged. Your attorney will ensure your rights are protected, and will work hard for the best outcome possible.
The sex crimes defense attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been accused of sexual assault crimes. Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Exton, Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and Paoli. Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.