West Chester PA Corruption of Minors Lawyer
Corruption of Minors in West Chester PA
The Pennsylvania offense of corruption of minors is most commonly charged in a situation where an adult is accused of either giving drugs or alcohol to a minor, or of having a sexual relationship with a minor. Under Pennsylvania law, it is a criminal offense for a person who is older than the age of 18 to “corrupt the morals of a minor.” This includes:
· Encouraging a minor in the commission of a crime;
· Aiding a minor in the commission of a crime;
· Enticing a minor to commit a crime;
· Providing alcohol or drugs to a minor;
· Having sex with a minor;
· Knowingly assisting a minor in a violation of his or her parole, or
· Knowingly encouraging a minor in a violation of his or her parole.
Under the law, having sex with a minor is considered one of the worst of these. “Basic” corruption of a minor is a misdemeanor, while any type of corruption which includes a sex crime becomes a felony. In many cases, the offense of corruption of a minor is added onto another criminal charge such as furnishing alcohol to a minor.
Do You Have to Register as a Sex Offender for a Conviction of Corruption of a Minor?
The Pennsylvania judicial system has frequently debated whether a conviction for the misdemeanor charge for corruption of a minor qualifies under a registrable offense under the current laws in the state. Prior to December 6, 2010, a conviction for corruption of a minor did not contain the two new paragraphs which currently exist. These new paragraphs give legal distinction between an act with a minor which involves a sexual element as opposed to those which do not. The felony count of corruption of a minor will require sex offender registry as a Tier 1 offender, meaning the offender must go to a State Police office every year to update his or her photograph. The misdemeanor count of corruption of a minor does not require sex offender registry.
Is Consent a Defense to Corruption of a Minor?
It is important to know that even if the minor willingly engaged in the activity in question, or consented, this is not a defense to the charges of corruption of a minor. You may also not argue that you did not corrupt the minor because he or she was already engaging in the activity you are being charged with. As an example, perhaps you don’t think you did anything all that wrong when you provided alcohol to a minor, because that same minor has been drinking for a very long time with alcohol provide by others. This is not a defense to your crime!
Penalties Associated with Corruption of a Minor
Should you be convicted for the crime of corruption of a minor, you could face serious penalties, including the following:
· A conviction for corruption of a minor is usually a first-degree misdemeanor with a potential prison sentence of up to five years, and a fine as large as $10,000;
· If you engaged in any type of conduct related to a sexual offense with a minor, you could be sentenced to up to forty years in prison (depending on the seriousness of your crime).
What is the Age of Consent in the State of Pennsylvania?
The age of consent for statutory sexual assault in the state of Pennsylvania is 16, however the age of consent for corruption of a minor is 18. This is an important distinction, because it means that some types of sexual conduct can be considered a criminal offense, even if they do not violate the state’s statutory sexual assault laws.
Are There Any Valid Defenses to Charges of Corruption of a Minor?
As a general rule, the court will presume you were aware of the minor’s age, absent proof to the contrary. If the minor was under the age of 16 at the time of the offense, you will not be allowed to argue you were unaware of the minor’s age. If, however, the minor is 16 or 17, and you can show sufficient evidence that it was reasonable for you to believe the minor was over the age of 18, then that argument could be used as a defense. Other potential defenses include the following:
· There is no corroborating evidence of the crime you are charged with;
· There was no sexual contact;
· You are innocent of the charges and have been falsely accused;
· There is no DNA evidence in the case of a sexual charge, or
· The offense was not promptly reported to law enforcement;
What is Considered “Corruption?”
The term “corruption” can be difficult to define, as it is largely a subjective term. Some might consider convincing a fifteen-year old to go swimming instead of doing his or her homework corruption, while others would not. According to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, any action which would offend the common sense of decency, propriety and morality held by the majority of the community is considered corruption. As you can see, the definition is vague, and very subjective.
Additional Consequences of a Conviction of Corruption of a Minor
If you have been charged with corruption of a minor, take these charges very seriously. In addition to spending time in jail or prison, paying a fine, and potentially registering as a sex offender, you could also experience the following adverse consequences for a conviction of corruption of minors:
· You could find it difficult to obtain employment, or you could lose your present job;
· You could find it difficult to rent a home or apartment;
· You could be prohibited from owing a firearm;
· You could be prohibited from running for public office;
· You could be prohibited from obtaining a government student loan, and
· You could be prohibited from obtaining a professional license.
This is not to mention the stigma attached to any crime against a minor. If you have been charged with corruption of a minor, it is very important that you contact an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will assess your situation, and evaluate the charges against you, then will put together a defense which may allow you to walk away from these charges with the least penalties and consequences possible, under the circumstances.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Sexual Crimes Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with the corruption of minors in Pennsylvania, it is crucial you speak to an experienced Pennsylvania sex crimes defense attorney in order to ensure your rights are protected and your future holds some hope.
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.