West Chester PA Indecent Assault Lawyer
West Chester Chester County Pennsylvania Charges of Indecent Assault
If you have been charged with indecent assault, you may have been charged with simple indecent assault or aggravated indecent assault, depending on the wrongful act you committed, the age of your victim, and the method used to commit the assault. What this means in practical terms is that you could face misdemeanor indecent assault charges or felony Indecent Assault charges. Because indecent assault is a sexual offense, the penalties you could face go far beyond jail time. Your entire future may be ruined, as you could potentially be required to register as a sex offender after you serve the sentence imposed by the court. You will almost certainly face the destruction of your reputation and even your career, and could lose your family as well.
Grading Indecent Assault
Indecent assault is “graded” as follows:
· Offenses 1 or 8 below, will be charged as a second-degree misdemeanor;
· Offenses 2,3,4,5,or 6 below will be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor;
· Offense 7 below will be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor unless it is a second or subsequent offense, there has been a course of conduct of indecent assault or the indecent assault was committed by touching the alleged victim’s sexual parts with your sexual parts, in which case it will be charged as a third-degree felony.
What Constitutes Indecent Assault in the State of Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania Code, Title 18, Section 3126, you are guilty of indecent assault if you have indecent contact with the alleged victim, cause the alleged victim to have indecent contact with you, or intentionally case the alleged victim to come in contact with seminal fluid, urine or feces for the purpose of arousing sexual desire, and:
1. You do so without the other person’s consent, or
2. You do so with forcible compulsion, or
3. You do so using a threat of forcible compulsion which would prevent resistance by a reasonable person, or
4. The alleged victim is unconscious, and you know he or she is unaware the indecent contact is taking place, or
5. You have significantly impaired the alleged victim’s power to control his or her conduct through the administration of drugs, intoxicants or any other means used to prevent resistance, or
6. The alleged victim suffers from a mental disability which renders him or her incapable of consent, or
7. The alleged victim is younger than 13, or
8. The alleged victim is younger than 16 and you are four or more years older (and you are not married to one another).
Penalties for a Conviction of Indecent Assault
If you are convicted of the crime of indecent assault, you could face serious penalties, including the following:
· You could face up to five years in Florida state prison if you are convicted of indecent assault which is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor or a second-degree misdemeanor.
· You could face up to seven years in prison for a third-degree felony if you repeatedly engage in the offense of indecent assault, or if your indecent assault was committed through touching your sexual parts to the alleged victim’s sexual parts.
· You could be labeled a sex offender, and could be required to register for fifteen, or twenty-five years.
Aggravated Indecent Assault
Aggravated indecent assault occurs in the same types of situations as above, however there is some type of anal or genital penetration which is very slight or lasts very briefly, rather than just indecent assault. Aggravated indecent assault is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Aggravated indecent assault on a child is a separate crime, including aggravated indecent assault on a child younger than 13, without consent, using force or the threat of force, while the child is drugged, unaware or unconscious, or where there is a mental disability. If convicted of aggravated indecent assault on a child you could face up to 20 years in prison.
Defenses to Charges of Indecent Assault in the State of Pennsylvania
Of course, your defense will be based on the specific facts surrounding your charges, however your Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney may use one of the following defenses on your behalf:
· You are innocent of the charges. You did not commit the crime because you were in a different location at the time the alleged crime occurred, you have an alibi witness, or the alleged victim misidentified you. If there is DNA evidence available, it can accurately establish that you were not present at the scene of the crime. The prosecution has the burden of showing you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and your attorney will present evidence showing you could not have committed the crime.
· You had the consent of the alleged victim, i.e. the sexual behavior did not occur against the will of the other person. Unfortunately, proving consent can be difficult in that you have no way of proving consent. Some attorneys will use the alleged victim’s past sexual history to convince the jury that the sexual contact was consensual, however this is a risky defense as it can cause the jury to view you in a negative manner instead. If the alleged victim is a minor, incapacitated or mentally challenged then you cannot claim consent as it impossible for those groups to consent.
· You could potentially claim you had a mental disease or defect at the time of the crime which absolves you of criminal liability for your actions. The jury might treat you more leniently if you show your mental disease or defect prevented you from understanding the criminal nature of your actions.
Getting the Legal Help You Need From Your Pennsylvania Indecent Assault Attorney
If you have been accused of indecent sexual assault, you are probably anxious and stressed about your future. You know your reputation is on the line, as well as your career, future employment and your very future. Your Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney will work hard on your behalf 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.