There is a strong negative connotation attached to any sex crime in our society. Moreover, Pennsylvania law ensures that the negative effects carry far into the future because those considered to be sex offenders are required to record their personal information in the state’s sex offender database. This enables anyone to see this information at any time.
In some cases, this is unfair because charges involving sex crimes may arise from exaggerated or patently false allegations. A skilled Pennsylvania sex crimes lawyer with experience defending against these charges could exploit weaknesses in evidence and craft the right defensive strategy to reach the best possible disposition of a case. If you are facing charges, consult with a dedicated defense attorney today.
The statutes in each state define crimes using different terminology which sometimes varies from the traditional common law definitions. Pennsylvania statutes describe a number of different sex crimes including:
Of these offenses, rape is the most serious, but any of these sex crimes can be punished severely and can create a criminal record with far-reaching effects. Therefore, it is essential for defendants to reach out to a dedicated Pennsylvania sex crimes attorney.
Rape is considered a first-degree felony in Pennsylvania. An individual commits this crime by having sexual intercourse with another person in six types of circumstances.
Rape situations include intercourse where force is used to compel participation, where the individual makes a threat that would “prevent resistance” by the average person, when the other person involved is unconscious, where the individual knows that the other person is unaware of what is happening, when an individual has administered a drug or intoxicant without the permission of the other person to prevent that person from resisting, and when the other person involved is incapable of giving legally valid consent due to mental disability. (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. §3121.)
As a first degree felony, rape may be penalized by a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. However, the statute provides for additional penalties in certain situations. First, if the individual administers a substance that induces euphoria and memory loss as a means of preventing resistance, an additional ten years may be added to the term of imprisonment and the fine may be increased by as much as $100,000.
In addition, if an individual has sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 13, the potential term of imprisonment increases to 40 years, and if in that same situation the minor suffers serious injuries, the individual may be sentenced to life in prison. Contact a sex crimes lawyer in Pennslyvania for more information about rape charges.
Pennsylvania has two sexual assault crimes on the books. In section 3124.1 of title 18, sexual assault is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse without the consent of the party (so long as the situation does not include factors that would cause the offense to be considered rape.)
Statutory sexual assault, which is defined in section 3122.1 of Title 18, describes offenses that are sometimes referred to as “statutory rape.” Someone commits this offense by having sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 16 if that person is at least four years older. This offense is treated as a second-degree felony unless the age difference between the parties is 11 or more years, in which case it becomes a first-degree felony.
When you are facing charges of a sex crime, it is important to collect and preserve valuable evidence such as witness statements as quickly as possible. It is wise to consult a skilled Pennsylvania sex crimes lawyer sooner rather than later in order to begin the collection of evidence and obtain guidance on how to avoid taking actions that could jeopardize the case.
To learn how an experienced attorney could help in your situation, call today and set up a free consultation.
David Clark Attorney at Law