Sex crimes carry significant criminal penalties, as well as a major life impact from the heaviest of stigma. And even before you are convicted, a charge like this can change your life dramatically. People will treat you differently when you are accused of a sexual offense. You could lose friends and even the support of family. This doesn’t even touch the legal penalties you could be facing. Fortunately, a local criminal defense attorney may be able to help.
An attorney can’t make other people within the community change their mind about you, but they can work tirelessly to mitigate the potential legal fall out from a charge like this. They are there to be your personal advocate when it seems as if no one is on your side.
Pennsylvania Sex Crime Laws and Penalties
There are numerous different crimes categorized as sex offenses under Pennsylvania law. Some but not all of them are listed here. The best way to know for certain what you’re up against, however, is to speak directly with a defense lawyer.
PA Rape Laws & Penalties
Rape is probably the most recognized sex offense. It is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with someone under one of the following circumstances:
- By force
- By threat of force
- Where the victim is unconscious
- Where the victim has been “substantially impaired” by alcohol, drugs, or other means
- Where the victim suffers from a mental disability making them unable to consent
Rape is classified as a 1st degree felony charge and carries with it a potential penalty of 20 years in prison.
(PA Code §18-3121)
Sexual Assault Laws
Sexual assault is a general catch-all offense. If you are accused of engaging in sexual intercourse or deviant sexual intercourse with a victim and it doesn’t qualify as rape, defined above, you could face this 2nd degree felony charge. Sexual assault carries a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
(PA Code §18-3124.1)
Pennsylvania Aggravated Indecent Assault Laws & Penalties
Aggravated indecent assault is defined as engaging in penetration, however slight, of a person’s genitals or anus with any part of your body when done under any of the following circumstances:
- The complainant, or alleged victim, does not consent
- It’s committed by force or threat of forces
- The person is unconscious
- The person is substantially impaired, by alcohol or drugs, preventing their resistance
- The person suffers from a mental disability which makes them incapable of consent
- The person is under 13 years of age
- The person is under 16 years of age and you, the accused, are more than 4 years older.
If the aggravated indecent assault is committed against someone who is under the age of 13, it is classified as a 1st degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If not, it is a 2nd degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years.
(PA Code: §18-3125)
Indecent assault is where you have indecent contact with another person (no penetration) or if you cause them to come into contact with any seminal fluid, urine, or feces for the purposes of your own sexual gratification, and you do so under any of the circumstances listed above.
This offense is classified as a 3rd degree felony, a 1st degree misdemeanor, or a 2nd degree misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the case.
(PA Code: 18-3126)
All convictions of these types of crimes are subject to the sex offender laws including those which make you register for life. It’s easy to see how a single conviction can significantly impact the course of your entire life. If you are accused of a sex offense like these, contact our offices today to discuss your case.