Sex crimes are some of the most difficult criminal accusations for someone to face. Even if you are innocent or there is more to the story, the accused is often assumed guilty before they ever get their day in court. If you or a loved one is facing an investigation or criminal charges for a sex crime, make sure you understand your rights and have someone on your side to fight for you.
Pennsylvania Sex Crimes
Sex crimes include any acts involving unlawful sex, sexual assault, sexual stimulation, or having a sexual motive. Sex crimes can range from felony offenses like rape or child sexual assault to misdemeanor offenses like soliciting a prostitute or indecent exposure. The penalties for Pennsylvania sex crimes depend on the seriousness of the offense, the victims involved, the defendant's criminal history, and other factors.
Sexual Assault and Rape
Rape involves engaging in sexual intercourse without the victim's consent. This includes sexual intercourse with a victim:
- By forcible compulsion
- Through threat of force
- Who is unconscious or unaware that sexual intercourse is occurring
- Where the person has impaired the victims poper to control his or her conduct through drugs or intoxicants
- Who suffers from a mental disability rendering them unable to consent.
Rape is a felony in the 1st degree (F1). The penalties for a 1st-degree felony conviction include from 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. However, use of a date rape drug can add an additional 10 years in jail and $100,000 in fines.
Statutory rape, or statutory sexual assault, refers to sexual intercourse with someone who is not old enough to give legal consent. Even if the other person appears willing to have sex or even actively pursues the defendant to have sex, because of their age, sex is considered statutory rape.
Statutory sexual assault occurs when a defendant has sexual intercourse with a person who is under the age of 16 and that defendant is four (4) years older, or more. This does not apply to married couples.
The penalties for statutory sexual assault depends, in part, on the age difference between the individuals. If the defendant is 11 years older, or more, statutory sexual assault is a felony in the first degree. If the defendant is 4 or more years older but less than 11 years older, statutory sexual assault is a felony in the 2nd degree.
Other Sex Crimes
Other sex crimes in Pennsylvania include:
- Institutional sexual assault
- Rape of a child (sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 13)
- Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
- Aggravated indecent assault
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual intercourse with an animal
- Child molestation
- Possession of child pornography
- Soliciting a prostitute
- Failure to register as a sex offender
Sex Offender Registration
A conviction for sex crimes carries additional penalties beyond prison time. Even after serving a prison sentence, a sex crime conviction may require the defendant to register as a sex offender.
The Pennsylvania sex offender registry is a listing of sex offenders who live in the commonwealth with a conviction for a sex offense. Sex offenders are required to register as a sex offender and notify law enforcement anytime they move. Failure to register can result in penalties including additional prison time.
These sex offenders are searchable on the Pennsylvania Megan's Law Website. Which lists the name, address, and sex crime conviction, along with the individual's photograph.
Sex offender registry is based on a tier system. Tier 1 requires registration for 15 years, with in-person registration and photographing each year. Tier 2 requires registration for 25 years, with verification and photographing every 6 months. Tier 3 requires registration for life, with verification and photographing every 3 months.
A conviction for a sex crime can carry lifelong penalties that may affect your future long after serving your sentence. Before you plead guilty to any sex crimes, make sure you understand your options and your rights. Criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen is devoted to representing the people of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas. Contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.