West Chester Pennsylvania Sex Crime Defense Lawyers
Chester County Sex Crime Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania
Commonly referred to as Sex Crimes, these types of allegations refer to some of the most brutal, violent and reprehensible type of criminal offenses in Pennsylvania. Because guilt is often presumed by the police and prosecution, Action is required to consult and retain an experienced lawyer before its too late.
Our Sex Crimes defense lawyers, based in West Chester PA in Chester County work when our clients are accused of sex crimes and fight for them to get justice, due process, and a fighting chance against people, police, and prosecutors looking to skip justice and presume guilt. Due to the severity and abhorrence of these types of crimes, the police are quick to judge and prosecute individuals who have been accused of sex crimes. If you or a loved one is being accused of a sex crimes offense, the time is now to contact an experienced attorney for consultation and representation. It is often a tragic mistake to wait until you are approached by the police or wait until you have been charged. Get the defense you need now. Learn more. Speak to our West Chester PA Sex Crime Lawyer Legal Team. Contact us by EMAIL or call at (610) 692-8700 or (877) 529-2422.
Seek An Aggressive, Experienced Sex Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer
In a perfect world, Innocence would be enough. Someone would make a wild accusation of sexual wrongdoing such as rape or indecent assault or molestation and you would make yourself available for questioning and interrogation by the police without legal counsel or an attorney present. In a perfect world, the investigation would end with an apology and case closed…in a perfect world. But are you willing to risk your reputation, your liberty and your livelihood that the prosecution will be unbiased and just; or do you want to be ready for the fight to come when facing a sex crimes charge, prosecution or arrest? It takes more than a solo practitioner – it takes a legal team experienced, aggressive, battle-tested in court, former prosecutors ready to fight for you. You need our experienced West Chester PA Sex Crimes Lawyers. Speak to now to discuss avoiding sex crimes prosecution.
Why Are Sex Crimes So Serious In Pennsylvania?
Sex crimes are some of the most heinous crimes committed worldwide. The prevalence of sex crimes in the United States can be tied to the country’s growing population and advancement in technology. Most of these crimes are against women and children, resulting in severe physical and psychological damage that may last a lifetime. Statistics from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office reveal that there were 17,585 reported cases of sexual abuse in the state in 2018 alone. This number is startling and has raised one question – why are sex crimes so much more serious and consequential compared with other violent crimes, including homicide in Pennsylvania?
Mental, Emotional, and Physical Trauma
Sex crimes leave victims with mental, emotional, and physical traumas that can significantly impact their lives. Unlike other violent cases, sex crimes can become even more severe when the victim is a child. Sexual abuse against children has a lasting impact and can lead to long-term effects on their physical, emotional, and mental development. Victims may experience PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions that can affect their education, work, and social interactions.
Risk of Re-Offending
Sexual offenders, even after serving their time, have a high risk of re-offending if not rehabilitated correctly. These offenders may pose a significant threat to society, and their crimes might escalate with each offense. Some sex offenders may engage in other violent crimes, including homicide, leaving a trail of destruction that affects the safety of the general populace.
In Pennsylvania, sex crimes come with severe legal implications that can ruin the lives of offenders. The state’s laws require that convicted sex offenders register with the state, and their criminal records remain public. They may also face significant fines, imprisonment, and lifetime parole. Victims of sex crimes can sue offenders, resulting in financial damages that may lead to bankruptcy.
Social Stigma and Shaming
Sex crimes come with significant social stigma and shaming that can lead to post-traumatic stress to victims. This stigma can also affect the offender and their family, leading to harassment, isolation, and discrimination. Due to the stigma and lack of social support, victims might be too afraid to report the crime, leading to an increase in unreported cases.
Prevention and Rehabilitation
Unlike other violent crimes, sex crimes can be prevented through proper education, awareness, and rehabilitation of offenders. Education can help prevent child sexual abuse by teaching children to recognize and resist inappropriate behavior by adults. Rehabilitation of sex offenders through counseling, medication, and supervision can dramatically reduce sexual recidivism rates and lower the risk of future crimes.
Sex crimes stand out as some of the most serious and consequential violent crimes worldwide, leaving victims with long-lasting damage to their physical, mental, and emotional health. These crimes pose a severe threat to society due to the risk of re-offending and the potential escalation of crimes involving violence, including homicide. Pennsylvania has stringent laws and legal implications for sex crimes, including significant fines, imprisonment, and public criminal records. The social stigma and shaming associated with sex crimes can lead to victims being too afraid to report the crimes, leading to an increase in unreported cases. Proper prevention education, awareness, and rehabilitation of offenders can help reduce the occurrence of sex crimes and create safer communities.
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.
Types Of Pennsylvania Sex Crimes
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 deviant 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
Failure to register as a sex offender
Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Potential Penalties For Pennsylvania Sex Crimes
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.
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 deviant sexual intercourse are first-degree felonies.
Rape also includes sexual intercourse with a 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 a serious injury, then the maximum penalty goes up to life imprisonment.
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 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 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 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.
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 Pennsylvania 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 being 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. 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. 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 Sex Crimes 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 who 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.
Is Testimony Enough? Understanding Pennsylvania’s Law on Convictions for Sex Crimes
In Pennsylvania, you can be convicted of a sex crime, even if the only evidence presented in court is the testimony of the alleged victim. This law comes under much scrutiny by the public, and it impacts the lives of both the accused and the alleged victim significantly. As such, it is essential to understand the law and its implications fully.
Firstly, let’s start by understanding what the law says and how it operates. In cases where the only evidence in a sex crime prosecution is the testimony of the alleged victim, it is up to the judge or jury to determine the credibility of the victim’s statement. The accused can choose to remain silent or provide their defense. However, they have to prove that the victim fabricated the story or have evidence to back up their account. When a conviction is made, the accused may face consequences ranging from incarceration, fines, and registration under Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
This law raises the question of whether a victim’s testimony alone is adequate evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, several Supreme Court cases confirm that victim testimony alone can be sufficient evidence to support a sex crime conviction. The court argues that the jury is best equipped to determine the reliability of the victim’s testimony. Still, they should be cautioned about the danger of relying on eyewitness testimony solely.
It is crucial to know that Pennsylvania’s law on sexual assault does not require physical evidence or eyewitness testimony to prove a crime has occurred. In some cases, the lack of supporting evidence makes it hard for prosecutors to charge the accused. It becomes easier to convict an individual of a sex crime if an alleged victim’s testimony is accompanied by other forms of physical evidence.
Moreover, the law acknowledges that false accusations are a fact of life and can be used to bring false charges against an innocent person. Lying to law enforcement officials can result in severe consequences, including imprisonment, fines, and a criminal record. Thus, it is vital that a victim’s testimony is fully scrutinized, and the right steps are taken to protect the interests of both parties involved.
In conclusion, cases of sexual assault are sensitive, and the law has to be applied with the utmost diligence to ensure that justice is served. Pennsylvania’s law on sexual assault convictions based solely on victim testimony may seem to be in favor of the victim, but it can be detrimental to defendants’ lives, particularly if they are innocent. It is worth noting that the courts know the danger of relying on testimony alone, and they take this into account when making judgments. Having a robust legal defense and experienced attorneys who understand the law can help protect you from false charges.
Understanding the Serious Sex Crime Charges in Pennsylvania and Potential Penalties
Pursuing any sexual activities without the other person’s consent in Pennsylvania can result in serious criminal consequences. Pennsylvania laws categorize sexual offenses into degrees that determine the severity of the crime, along with the potential penalties if convicted. Learn what the most severe sex crime charges in Pennsylvania and the potential punishments for individuals convicted of these crimes.
Rape: Rape is one of the most serious sex crime charges in Pennsylvania. It is a felony of the first degree, and the penalty is a maximum of 20 years in prison. Furthermore, the penalty may become life in prison if the victim is under 13 years or if the offender has prior convictions.
Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSI): IDSI involves penetrating any body part or object into another person’s sexual organs without their consent. It is a felony of the first degree and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, just like rape.
Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is the act of touching another person’s intimate body parts or making the victim touch the offender’s intimate parts without their consent. It is a felony of the second degree, and a conviction could lead to up to ten years in prison.
Aggravated Indecent Assault: This charge involves touching someone’s intimate parts in an inappropriate manner or forcing the victim to touch or penetrate the offender. It is a felony of the second degree. The penalty is a maximum of ten years, but it may be life imprisonment if the victim is a minor.
Sexual Abuse of Children: Sexual abuse of children involves any kind of sexual contact or activity with a child under 13 years old. It is a first-degree felony, and the penalty is a maximum of 20 years. Also, a conviction could lead to lifetime probation or parole.
The above list of sex crime charges and their potential punishment highlights the seriousness of sex crimes in Pennsylvania. If you or someone you know has been accused of any of these crimes, it’s essential to seek representation from a competent and experienced criminal defense attorney. A conviction of any of these charges comes with severe consequences that could significantly impact your life. Therefore, it is crucial to work with an attorney who understands the complexities of sex crime cases to protect your rights and ensure a favorable outcome.
The Two & Three Strike Sentencing Penalty for Sex Crimes in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania justice system takes sex crimes very seriously, and as such, the state has implemented harsh penalties for perpetrators. One of the most severe penalties is two two-strike sentencing. However, many people are unclear or uninformed about what this means for individuals convicted of sex crimes. Take a closer look at what the two-strike & three-strike sentencing penalty is and how it works in Pennsylvania.
Two-strike sentencing, also known as mandatory minimum sentencing, is a type of penalty that requires individuals convicted of certain crimes to serve a specific amount of time in jail or prison. In Pennsylvania, the two-strike sentencing penalty applies to individuals convicted of certain sex crimes, including rape, statutory sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault.
Under the two-strike sentencing law, individuals convicted of one of these crimes will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison. If convicted of a second sex crime, the individual will receive a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years in prison. Repeat offenders may also face additional penalties, including a lifetime on the sex offender registry.
Additionally, two-strike sentencing applies to individuals who have committed sex crimes in other states or jurisdictions. If an individual from out of state is convicted of a sex crime in Pennsylvania and has a previous sex crime conviction from another state, they will face the mandatory minimum sentence as outlined in the Pennsylvania statute.
Where the person had at the time of the commission of the current offense previously been convicted of two or more such crimes of violence arising from separate criminal transactions, the person shall be sentenced to a minimum sentence of at least 25 years of total confinement, notwithstanding any other provision of this title or other statute to the contrary. Proof that the offender received notice of or otherwise knew or should have known of the penalties under this paragraph shall not be required. Upon conviction for a third or subsequent crime of violence, the court may, if it determines that 25 years of total confinement is insufficient to protect public safety, sentence the offender to life imprisonment without parole.
It’s also important to note that two-strike sentencing is different from the commonwealth’s three-strike law, which applies to individuals convicted of three separate violent crimes. While individuals convicted under the three-strike law face life imprisonment without parole, two-strike sentencing penalties do not involve life sentences.
Overall, the two-strike sentencing penalty is a harsh but necessary measure to protect Pennsylvania residents from repeat sex offenders. By ensuring that perpetrators receive mandatory minimum sentences for their crimes, the justice system sends a clear message that these crimes will not be tolerated in the state. By understanding how this penalty works, individuals can take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from potentially dangerous individuals.
The Defense of Mistake of Age in Pennsylvania Sex Crimes Involving a Minor
In recent times, there have been several cases in Pennsylvania wherein individuals have attempted to use mistakes as a defense in sexual crime cases involving minors. As per Pennsylvania law, sexual assault, statutory rape, and other offenses against minors are considered serious offenses that come with significant legal consequences. It is essential to understand how the law interprets and views mistakes in these cases. Learn more with a dive deeper into the role of mistakes in Pennsylvania sex crimes involving minors.
Mistake of Age: When it comes to offenses such as statutory rape, Pennsylvania law provides a potential defense for someone who had sex with an underage person if they believed that person was 18 or older. This is called a “mistake of age” defense. However, this defense is limited, and the prosecutor needs to prove that the defendant possessed the knowledge that it was an underage individual that they were engaging in sexual activity with. If the individual has a reasonable belief that the person involved was of legal age, they can use this defense. Except as otherwise provided, whenever in this chapter the criminality of conduct depends on a child being below the age of 14 years, it is no defense that the defendant did not know the age of the child or reasonably believed the child to be the age of 14 years or older. When criminality depends on the child being below a critical age older than 14 years, it is a defense for the defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she reasonably believed the child to be above the critical age.
Pattern of Mistake: Mistake of age may be accepted as a defense if it is an isolated incident, meaning that the accused has no prior history or pattern of inappropriate sexual activity with minors. If, however, the individual has been involved in multiple sexual incidents or has violated similar laws before, a mistake of age defense is unlikely to be effective.
Lack of Knowledge or Consent: The prosecution needs to prove that the defendant was aware of the person’s age and consent in cases involving minors in Pennsylvania. Hence, if the defendant did not have knowledge of the victim’s age and they effectively used the mistake of age defense, they might avoid a conviction.
The Importance of Legal Counsel: While mistakes may be perceived as a defense for sexual crimes in Pennsylvania, it is vital to recognize the severity of the allegations and accusations. Anyone facing such charges should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to receive an informed understanding of the law and its ramifications. Legal counsel will ensure that the defense can be presented ethically, emphasizing the evidence to argue their case without causing further harm to minors.
The Seriousness of Offenses against Minors: Finally, it is important to recognize the seriousness and gravity of offenses against minors, especially sexual offenses. Mistakes should never be used as a defense to pardon or excuse such heinous acts. The law has always taken a harsh approach to minimize such actions against minors, and the courts emphasize that these crimes are serious.
Sexual crimes against minors involve complex laws and severe legal consequences. The use of a mistake as a defense is limited in Pennsylvania, but it remains an option in certain situations. Anyone facing such charges should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately, as mistakes cannot be used as an excuse to avoid legal and moral accountability. The best way to avoid such issues is to not participate in any illegal or inappropriate conduct and to always obtain consent from the other party before engaging in sexual activity. By doing so, these types of crimes can be avoided, and the legal system can remain focused on cases that warrant its attention.
Understanding the Mental Health Defense for Pennsylvania Sex Crimes
When most people think of a defense in a sex crime case, they may consider an alibi or a plea bargain. However, there is another option as well – a mental health defense. A mental health defense has been used in Pennsylvania courts to try and prove that the defendant could not have committed the crime due to their mental health condition. This is an exploration of the mental health defense for Pennsylvania sex crimes, how it works, and what you need to know if you are facing a sex crime charge.
Firstly, it is important to understand what a mental health defense entails. This defense claims that the defendant is not responsible for their actions because of their mental health condition. For instance, a defendant with schizophrenia might have hallucinations when committing an offense and thus not be wholly responsible for the crime. To defend this claim, the defendant’s legal team must prove that the defendant had no capacity to judge right from wrong or that they couldn’t conform their behavior to the law at the time of the offense.
Secondly, while a mental health defense can be used for sex crimes, it is difficult to prove in court. To claim a mental defect, the defendant must have suffered from a mental condition at the time of the offense. Additionally, the defendant must also show that this condition made it impossible for them to appreciate that their conduct was wrong. The defendant’s medical history and mental health records will be put under scrutiny, and other experts may be appointed to examine the defendant’s mental health.
Thirdly, if the defendant decides to use the mental health defense, they must have a qualified psychiatric expert to evaluate them and to testify on their behalf. The defense will have to show that the defendant had no way of controlling his or her actions due to the mental health condition. The psychiatrist’s expert testimony will be crucial in convincing the judge and the jury that the defendant committed the crime due to a mental health disorder.
Fourthly, it is important to note that even if the defendant is successful in proving that they suffered from a mental health condition at the time of the crime, it doesn’t mean they will automatically be acquitted. The court may rule that the defendant is not guilty by reason of insanity, which means the defendant can be committed to a mental institution until the court deems they are no longer a threat to society.
In conclusion, the mental health defense for Pennsylvania sex crimes is an effective legal recourse if used accurately. The defendant and their counsel must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant suffered from a mental health condition that made them unable to understand that their conduct was wrong. The defense must provide expert psychiatric testimony to convince the court of their claim. It is also important to recognize that winning a mental health defense does not automatically lead to acquittal. However, if you are facing a sex crime charge, consulting with a qualified attorney experienced in mental health defenses is critical to build your case.
Whether you live, in West Chester PA in Chester County outside of Philadelphia or throughout Pennsylvania, the stench of a sex crimes accusation lurks and you need experienced fighters to fight for your reputation, your liberty, livelihood, and your future. Our team has over 50 yearsof combined experience in criminal defense and we are ready to consult and represent your interest as soon as the rumors and allegations begin.
Our Criminal Practice includes but is not limited to the defense of the following:
Because You deserve a lawyer that is available when you need it
These are all serious criminal offenses that can include significant jail time or periods of incarceration, potential lifetime Megan’s Law registry, outcasting in your community, impact on your family, your livelihood and your well-being. Learn what a sex crime is and what steps you can take. Contact us today by Email or phone if you need a consultation.
How Experienced is Your Pennsylvania Sex Crime Legal Team?
If you’ve been accused of a sex crime in Pennsylvania, your future is at risk. Sex crime charges are incredibly serious and can lead to lifelong consequences. That’s why it’s essential to have a skilled and experienced legal team to defend you throughout the entire process. But how do you know if your legal team is experienced enough to handle your case? One of the most critical factors to consider is how many clients they’ve defended in serious sex crime cases. You need a legal team that has the necessary experience to protect your rights and your future.
When it comes to sex crime charges, experience matters. The more cases your legal team has successfully defended, the better equipped they’ll be to handle your case. That’s because sex crime charges can be complex and nuanced, requiring a deep understanding of the law and the legal process. If your legal team has defended many clients in similar cases, they’ll have a better sense of what strategies work and what doesn’t. They’ll also know how to navigate the legal system efficiently, saving you time, money, and potential legal consequences.
Specific experience is crucial, too. Not all sex crime cases are the same. For example, defending a client accused of statutory rape is vastly different from someone accused of sexual assault or child pornography. The legal strategy, evidence, and potential sentencing can all vary significantly depending on the nature of the charges. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure that your legal team has experience in defending clients with the same charges or accusations. One way to determine the experience level of your legal team is to ask them directly. Most legal teams will be transparent about the number of clients they’ve defended, their success rate, and their experience with the charges that you’re facing. A reputable legal team will be willing to discuss their experience with you and provide you with references upon request. You can also research their qualifications and credentials on their website or ask around to see if anyone you know has worked with them before.
Another critical aspect to consider is your legal team’s track record of success. Even if they have experience defending clients in sex crime cases, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re successful. A high success rate means that they have the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the legal system effectively and achieve positive outcomes for their clients. If your legal team has a successful track record defending clients in sex crime cases, it’s a good sign that they’ll be able to help you too.
Finally, it’s important to find a legal team that you feel comfortable working with. Sex crime cases can be emotionally challenging and stressful, and having a legal team that you can trust and communicate with is crucial. You should feel comfortable asking questions, expressing concerns, and collaborating with your legal team throughout the process. If you don’t feel comfortable with your legal team, it can be challenging to work together effectively and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
We Work to Represent Your Interests in Every Situation
When you are facing sex crimes of any type, you need to have a comprehensive plan for addressing what you are facing. That means you need a criminal defense attorney in West Chester who can help you navigate the legal matters you are facing. When you work with our attorneys, we will provide you with exceptional legal support throughout the process. Here are some of the steps we take to protect your rights during sex crimes charges.
We Work to Educate You
While our years of experience in sexual crimes matters in the West Chester area allow us to understand what to expect, we know that for many people facing these charges, it is downright terrifying, especially when you do not know what you did wrong. Our primary first step then is to gather information and let you know what you are facing. We can do this with confidence by sitting down with you to discuss your case openly and honestly.
There is no judgment with our team. We want you to feel as though you can trust us to remain by your side throughout this legal process. That means you can trust us with all of the details of your case. Your privacy is protected. The more information we have, the easier it is for us to work to prove your innocence.
We Provide You With Steps to Protect Yourself
As we begin to work on your criminal defense matter, we will also provide you with insight into what you can do and what you should not do for your case. Remember that, aside from your attorney, anyone else can use a variety of details to prove against you. That is why we will often provide you with some specific strategies and rules to follow:
Avoid talking about your case with anyone. Simply do not assume that anyone will be able to protect your privacy, especially those who are very concerned and may try anything to protect you. Mistakes here could be costly.
Do not talk to those who are accusing you of a crime or anyone who is related to them. No matter how much you feel you can just smooth things over, it is best to simply stay away from them and let our criminal defense attorney work to protect your case instead.
Do not fight with the police or become abusive. There is no benefit to you in trying to convince the police of your innocence if they have already stated they believe you are guilty. Instead, let us work to protect your case.
If you have questions about your criminal defense or you are unsure about which legal strategies may be available to you in these matters, take a moment to contact us as a first step. We will remain here for you throughout this entire process. We are always available to set up a consultation with you.
We Work to Gather Evidence to Support Your Claims
In every situation, our attorneys are committed to supporting your best outcome. One of the ways we can do that right away is to gather as much evidence and information as possible in your legal matter. This is a big process, and it takes time. However, we can navigate the legal system to ensure we have plenty of time to gather evidence to develop your legal strategy.
To facilitate this, provide our criminal defense attorneys in West Chester with as much information as possible about the incident. Even small tidbits of information can be very helpful in our process of gathering data for your legal defense.
We will also explore all other areas for evidence. Some types of evidence we may work to find (if available) and present to the court include:
Text messages from all accounts
Documentation from medical providers
Social media posts and documentation
Any type of information available that can show where you were, what was happening, what the accuser was doing, or what the expectations in any situation were will help you to prove your case. Our trusted, experienced sexual assault criminal defense attorneys will work closely with you to gather any information available so that it can be formulated into a better outcome for you.
Developing Your Sex Crimes Defense Strategy
Once we have information and evidence, our team will meet with you to discuss that information. Every case is very different, and while we will always do our best to keep you informed, be sure you reach out to us at any time when you have information or insight to offer. With this information, we can begin to create a legal defense strategy for your sexual crimes charges. There is no one strategy that works in every situation. However, some of the legal strategies that may help you include the following:
Mistaken identity: Perhaps you were not the person they have had an encounter with. We may be able to prove this if we can show that you were not where they claim you were or develop a strategy that indicates that mistaken identity is clearly a possibility.
False reporting: While many times those facing sexual assault charges will say that they did nothing wrong, there is often some layer of answer in those who make false claims. If we can prove that a person was, in fact, falsely accusing you, we will use that to create a viable defense for you.
Consent: Providing consent is an important strategy for many sexual defense legal matters. Our trusted and experienced team will work very closely with you to determine how to move forward with this type of strategy, especially if we can show that the other party was in agreement based on their actions, statements, or behaviors that you or others witnessed.
Duress: There are some situations where we can prove you were acting under duress, meaning you felt you did not have a choice but to do as told. If this is the case, we encourage you to talk to our team about what it could mean for your case.
Insanity: Be frank and open with our legal team about your mental health, especially if you have had other instances of mental health challenges. While proving that you had a mental defect that led to this is challenging without previous examples or a doctor’s evaluation, it is something to consider, especially for those who were under intense stress for one or more reasons.
Alibi: Perhaps the strongest bit of information that you can share with us is who was with you, which can prove that you did not do what you were being accused of doing. That may seem like a simple statement, but there are often numerous factors that play a role in this decision. Our team will work with you to understand what alibi may be available to you, including those related to work, being with other people, or having documentation of your location in another area.
Intoxication: Being intoxicated does not always excuse the sexual assault charges against you, but it can be one of the facts that helps to prove that you may not deserve the harshest of punishments for what is occurring, and we will ensure that your rights to proving that remain clear.
Impossibility: There are times when you may be accused of a crime you absolutely could not commit. If there is any reason to believe this may apply to your situation, we encourage you to reach out to us for immediate help and guidance.
Which legal defense strategy for sexual crimes defense works for your situation? Perhaps you are not sure any of these will help you. To find out what your next step should be, meet with our West Chester sexual assault defense attorneys to discuss your case openly.
We will examine any legal defense strategy and present them to you openly. We will discuss both the positives and challenges that come from any strategy as well. Then, our attorneys will work very closely with you to begin to build that strategy.
What Goes Into Creating a Legal Defense in a Case Like This
With our decades of experience, our criminal defense attorneys know how to build your case. To do that, we will use as much evidence as possible to make it clear that you did not engage in these activities or that what happened is not being accurately reported. We will consider:
All parties involved in the matter
The motivation behind any person’s actions against you
The witnesses that may not have come forward yet
The evidence that we may need to obtain to prove your case
The data the police may not have yet that can prove someone else did this
The information from the scene or the police report
Over a period of time, our attorneys will build out your case and keep you informed of what is occurring at every stage. Be sure to reach out to us at any given time to share more information with us.
What Happens When You Have to Go to Court
Over the next few weeks, our attorneys will meet with you to discuss your case and progress over time. Throughout that process, if anything changes, you will be alerted to it. Most importantly, though, we will be by your side for any court-related activities and requirements.
This includes throughout the entire process:
Preliminary hearings in which you will likely be in a base-level court to determine if the case has merit enough to be brought to a trial
Hearings that may be required at various stages
Depositions or questioning by the prosecutor or others involved in the case
The trial itself, including all stages
Negotiations and plea agreement motions, if applicable
Sentencing hearings after a trial if necessary
Every case is very different, and our objective is to prepare you throughout the process. To do this, our criminal defense attorneys in West Chester will continuously offer insight and strategies to you. We will discuss how to answer questions and when not to do so. We will also talk to you about the risks of each type of plea that you may make. Our team is always going to provide you with options, and while we cannot guarantee outcomes, we can offer insight based on our own experience.
Will You Have to Plead Guilty or Negotiate a Plea?
There are many types of sexual assault cases in which a person may feel as though they have no way to prove they are innocent, even if they are. However, we do not encourage you to plead guilty nor to accept any type of plea agreement that paints you as guilty if you are not. We will go to court and fight to prove your innocence. Our attorneys are absolutely dedicated to preserving your rights in matters like this.
When meeting with our attorneys, we will discuss the likely options in your case, including what strategies may be available to you for each type of agreement. For example, many people who are facing sexual assault charges may be able to reduce those charges by pleading down based on the evidence in the case. We can present you with a variety of options to help you determine which strategy may be best suited for your situation.
Our criminal defense attorneys have years of experience navigating all of these challenges and can help you to determine the best course of action for your legal matter. To do that, we will always fight to clear your name in these legal matters. If and when there are opportunities to pursue legal strategies to reduce your charges, we will help you to explore those opportunities as well.
Meet with our criminal defense attorneys in West Chester now to learn more about the legal options available to you. Do not make claims or statements to anyone. Let us be your defenders in these very challenging situations. You can count on us to do all that it takes to protect you.
What Our Clients Are Saying:
“Ciccarelli and his team are the most professional, stern, and communicative lawyers I have ever met! They handled my very serious case promptly during the pandemic till today! I appreciate all their hard work. They helped me get the best possible outcome and I couldn’t be happier.” – Amanda De Jesus
“Mr. Ciccarelli represented me for approximately 4 months on a case that could have jeopardized my future and it was very sensitive in nature. Mr. Ciccarelli not only advised me of my legal options, but he was truly caring. Now the case is resolved, Mr. Cicarelli was able to negotiate that the charges against me be expunged after 1 year. My future looks much brighter today because of Mr. Cicarelli.” – Barb
Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Sex Crime Lawyer Today
Based in suburban Philadelphia at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380, we make your choice all the clearer with locations throughout metropolitan Philadelphia Pennsylvania, including Center City Philadelphia, West Chester PA, Malvern (serving Downingtown/Exton PA), Kennett Square PA, Lancaster PA, King of Prussia PA, Plymouth Meeting PA, Radnor and Springfield PA.
We serve Downingtown, Paoli, Media, Norristown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading and Allentown. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense Attorney, call Ciccarelli Law Offices, at (610) 692-8700 or toll free at (877) 529-2422.