Pennsylvania Sex Offense Registry
Facing Megan’s Law,and Sorna Registration Penalties in West Chester PA and Chester County. One of the very worst side effects related to a conviction for a sex offense in the state of Pennsylvania is being required to register as a sex offender—in many instances, for the remainder of your life. All states currently have some sort of sex offender registry, many of them known as Megan’s Law. Megan’s Law has been updated—as well as challenged—over the past few years. The federal Megan’s Law refers to community notification, while the state level of Megan’s Law can refer to both community notification and sex offender registration. Currently, sex offender registration laws require those convicted of a sex offense to register with the state of Pennsylvania, reporting to state authorities on a regular basis after serving their time in prison. If you have questions regarding the impact of SORNA and Megan’s Law, contact our team at (610) 692-8700.
The reporting requirements could last fifteen years, or could remain in effect for the life of the offender, depending on the offense. If you are required to register with the Pennsylvania State Police as a sex offender, your family members, potential employers, neighbors and any member of the public can access your detailed personal information. This information will include where you live, what you drive, your physical description and the details of your criminal conviction. You will even be limited as to where you can work and live in the state.
Pennsylvania Sex Offender Laws Expanded and Applied Retroactively in 2011
In late 2011, Pennsylvania’s sex offender laws were expanded to involve longer registration periods, for a wider range of sex offenses. The courts, however, have determined that some of those changes may have been unconstitutional, as the registration requirements were applied retroactively. Legislators in the matter claim the updated laws are not meant to be punitive, however, in practice, it appears they actually are punitive, and can prevent individuals from moving on with their life after serving their time in prison and complying with all other requirements of their sentence.
The Origin of Megan’s Law
Megan’s Law was named after a seven-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in 1994 in New Jersey—Megan Kanka. As a method of alerting parents and the public about any convicted sex offenders who may move into their neighborhood’s, Megan’s Law is a federal law, and has also been adopted by many states. While an accusation of a sex crime can have adverse effects on your reputation, a conviction can make it impossible for you to choose where you live, or have the normal freedoms most of us take for granted. Should you be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law, if you fail to register, under the Adam Walsh Act, you have committed a felony offense.
Reporting Requirements for Sex Offenders in the State of Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania currently has more than 19,000 registered sex offenders. The offenses these people have been charged with range from possession of child pornography to the rape of a child. Tier 1 offenders are those who have been charged with crimes like unlawful restraint, institutional sexual assault or corruption of a minor. These offenders are required to appear at a Pennsylvania State Police office every year for a period of fifteen years to have their photo taken.
Tier 2 offenders, in the state of Pennsylvania, are those who have been convicted for such crimes as unlawful contact with a minor, prostitution involving a minor or indecent assault. Tier 2 offenders must appear at a Pennsylvania State Police office two times each year, remaining on the sexual offender registry for 25 years. Tier 3 offenders (accounting for about 60 percent of those in the state’s sexual registry database) must remain on the sexual registry for life, and must have their photograph taken at a local Pennsylvania State Police office every ninety days, or four times each year. Tier 1 offenders have been convicted of a sexual offense such as aggravated indecent assault, incest or rape.
Regardless of which Tier you are in, you must undergo a psychological evaluation after your conviction; those who are deemed “high risk,” are placed in the category of sexually violent predators. In the state of Pennsylvania, about 13 percent of the 19,000 persons on the sexual offense registry are classified as sexually violent predators, and about two-thirds of that 13 percent are incarcerated.
A classification as a sexually violent predator will result in a mandated lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. Anyone who is required to be listed on Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry must notify the Pennsylvania State Police within three days any time they make a change in their pertinent information. This includes changing jobs, changing addresses, selling or purchasing a vehicle, and even changing a phone number or e-mail address.
If you were convicted of a sex offense in the state of Pennsylvania prior to December 20, 2012, you have the option of mailing in a form which notifies law enforcement of any changes in your situation, however if the form is not received within three business days you could face possible prosecution. Pennsylvania law enforcement as well as U.S. Marshals often engage in spot checks to ensure compliance with the current sex offender registry laws.
Women Against Registry
A group known as Women Against Registry believe the sex offender registry laws actually damage our society due to “excessive, unconscionable sexual offense registries.” The group is based in Missouri, yet meet with lawmakers across the United States on a regular basis. The group claims that almost three million family members of the approximately 850,000 people on the sex offender registry across the nation, are adversely affected by the registry. The group also claims that the registry is difficult to supervise and lacks effectiveness.
The group believes that only sexually violent predators should be required to register, pointing to the many people whose offenses are relatively mild, yet suffer serious adverse consequences to their lives. As an example, those convicted of sexting and urinating in public can sometimes be placed on the sexual registry list.
Getting the Help You Need
If you are facing charges which could potentially result in your being placed on the sexual registry list, it is essential that you take action right now to try and prevent that. Speaking to a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney could result in a much more positive outcome from your charges as well as a much brighter future for you and your family
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, , Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and . Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.