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Pennsylvania Sex Crimes Lawyer
When accused of committing a sex crime the consequences can be devastating. The authorities work tirelessly to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. The only real hope you or a family member have is to hire a reputable Pennsylvania sex crimes lawyer who can navigate the complex legal system.
Pennsylvania Sex Crimes Lawyers Handle These Charges
In Pennsylvania, rape occurs when someone compels a victim to engage in sexual intercourse against the victim’s will or if the victim is mentally incapable, or not legally “of age” to give “proper consent.” Examples might be if the victim was in a coma or had passed out from excessive drug or alcohol use. If the accused caused the victim to be incapable of resistance such as by drugging, beating or threatening the victim with bodily harm, assault charges may also be brought. Sex crimes against underage victims carry considerable penalties.
Indecent (sex crime) assault charges are filed against a person when he or she:
- Causes the victim to have indecent contact with him/herself
- Intentionally causes the complainant to come into contact with seminal fluid, urine, or feces for the purpose of arousing sexual desire in the victim
Depending on the circumstances, and if this is a repeat offense, first or second degree misdemeanors may be filed, or a third degree felony. Indecent exposure is charged against a person who reveals his or her genitals in a public setting or in a situation where the victim knows that the act is likely to offend or alarm others. Indecent exposure can be charged as either a first or second degree misdemeanor depending on the circumstances.
Rape is a first degree felony. Penalties may include a fine, up to 20 years in prison, or both. However, when the rape took place using “date rape” drugs, the court may impose up to ten additional years in prison, and an increased fine. If weapons charges or aggravate assault are involved, the penalties will increase even more, which is why those accused may want to contact a Pennsylvania sex crimes attorney to look at their specific case.
Sex Crimes Involving Minors
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for any adult (18 or older) to have sex with a minor (16 or younger) even if the sex is consensual. Those who break the law are charged with statutory rape. Penalties depend on the ages of the defendant and victim, and the conduct that occurred. Below are examples and penalties for underage sex crimes:
- Statutory rape – Includes sexual intercourse (genital or anal penetration, however slight) with a minor who is younger than 13 years. It is a first degree felony. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, up to 20 years in prison, – or both.
- Statutory sexual assault – Classified assexual intercourse with a child aged 13 – 15, if the defendant is at least four years older than the victim. This is a second degree felony and conviction comes with a fine of up to $25,000 and no more than 10 years in prison or both.
- Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse– Involves genital or anal penetration with an object between a minor younger than 13 and a perpetrator of any age; as well as minors 13-15 and a defendant who is at least four years older than the victim. A first degree felony, penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, up to 20 years in prison or both.
- Indecent assault – Is charged if any sexual or intimate touching for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire occurs. If the minor is younger than 13, the offense is a first degree misdemeanor – a fine of $1,500 – $5,000; and up to five years in prison or both. If the minor is at least 13, it is a second degree misdemeanor. Penalties for this charge can be a fine of $500 – $5,000 and as much as two years in prison or both.
Sexual Assault Charge Defense Strategies
Pennsylvania sex crimes lawyers who represent those charged with sexual assault have several defenses available to them starting with the defense of “someone else did it.” Many sexual assault cases rely more on testimony by the alleged victim and perpetrator, along with pertinent circumstantial evidence. Rarely are there witnesses to these crimes.
The defendant can also claim that sexual activity between two adults was consensual. Another possible defense is an insanity plea, in which the defense argues that the accused is mentally ill and without the capacity to control his/her behavior, or unable to understand that their actions were unlawful. In underage (or cyber) sex crimes defenses can range from not knowing the true age of the victim, unlawful search or seizure by law enforcement, and no knowledge of the crime because the defendant’s computer or IP address had been hacked or hijacked.
Those who have been charged with sex crimes are smart to retain an accomplished Pennsylvania sex crimes lawyer immediately for a free consultation.