What is Considered a Sex Crime in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, there are numerous sex crimes a person may face. Each one usually carries severe punishments. For instance, sexual assault is outlined under 18 Pa. C.S. § 3124.1 and is considered a second-degree felony. It carries penalties of up to 10 years in state prison and $25,000 in fines if you are convicted. You could also be charged with multiple crimes regarding the same victim. Other common sex crimes charges include:

  • Rape
  • Involuntary deviant sexual intercourse
  • Statutory sexual assault
  • Indecent assault
  • Aggravated indecent assault
  • Institutional sexual assault
  • Sexual assault by a sports official, volunteer, or employee of a nonprofit association
  • Sodomy
  • Unlawful contact with a minor
  • Prostitution
  • Sex trafficking
  • Production or distribution of obscene materials depicting a minor

Sex Crime LawyerAny sex crime involving a minor will carry even more severe penalties, especially if the crime involves bodily injury to the victim. The law in Pennsylvania is very detailed on the topic of sex crimes and interpreting it to create a strong defense is not something you can do alone. You will need the help of a knowledgeable sex crimes lawyer.

Staying Quiet Is Your First Defense Against a Sex Crimes Charge

You could be arrested at work, at home, or while attending an event. If you are charged with a sex crime, you might be caught off guard and try to explain why you are innocent. The police are not interested in whether they have the wrong person. They are interested in using anything you say against you.

Your first step to defending yourself is to stay quiet and calm. It can be tempting to apologize, argue that you are innocent, or ask why you are being arrested. The first thing you must do is keep silent. Then, you should contact a sex crimes lawyer for help defending yourself. The best ways to protect your rights from the moment you are charged include:

1.     Do not talk to the police: Do not answer questions and do not ask any. Do not speak with prosecutors, detectives, or anyone else in the interrogation room. Be polite and quiet and ask for a criminal defense attorney.

2.     Do not resist arrest: If you resist in any way or fight the police, they can add charges. Stay calm if they move you between facilities.

3.     Do not try to trick the police: Law enforcement officials are trained to deceive you into saying things they can use to show your guilt. It really is true that everything you say can be used against you. Stay quiet and wait for your attorney.

4.     Call a skilled attorney right away: As soon as you are allowed, call SMT Legal to speak with a sex crimes lawyer. The sooner you get help, the stronger we can make your defense.

You have specific rights after an arrest, such as remaining silent and having a legal representative with you during any interviews. You can be detained, but you do not have to answer any questions unless you have your lawyer present. Even then, your attorney may advise you to remain silent.

How A Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Help You

After your arrest, your criminal defense lawyer will get to work gathering evidence, witness statements, expert testimony, and other documentation to build your case. It is critical that you be completely honest with your attorney so they can anticipate any potential surprises by the prosecution. Having a full understanding of the circumstances helps your lawyer create the strongest case possible.

Your attorney will work with the prosecution, the court system, and experts to find out everything they can to help your defense. They will question police techniques and chemical test results to find technicalities that could help reduce or dismiss your charges. At SMT Legal, we dedicate ourselves to serving each client as thoroughly and professionally as possible to secure the most beneficial result in their case.

We will work to keep evidence against you from being admitted in court and/or to show police misconduct. We also can negotiate plea bargains for lesser penalties and charges. We represent you in court and have experience successfully handling sex crime trials with the most appropriate strategies for your defense.

Defending You Against a Sex Crime Charge

Once your sex crimes lawyer has collected all the evidence, they will be able to lay out the possible defense strategies for your case. We know that fighting a criminal charge is sometimes difficult, but we believe in seeking every opportunity to reduce any charges whenever possible or have them dismissed entirely.

Some common defenses we can use for our criminal defense clients include:

  • You were mentally incapacitated, or you were insane.
  • You were mistaken for someone else.
  • You obtained consent.
  • You are innocent.
  • You were involuntarily intoxicated.
  • You were threatened with harm or death.
  • The victim was of legal age.
  • You have no previous criminal record.
  • The victim is making false allegations.
  • The victim suffers a psychological condition that caused them to accuse you.
  • Police violated your rights during your arrest.
  • Chemical test procedures were flawed, or the results were incorrect.

Some of these defenses can be used before the trial as an attempt to have the charges waived or reduced. Your lawyer may also be able to negotiate a settlement or plea bargain with the prosecution to avoid trial. The goal is to obtain the best result depending on your unique circumstances, which may involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge.

Penalties For a Sex Crime Conviction

Pennsylvania is very hard on those who are convicted of a sex crime. It is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer build a solid defense for you since you could end up facing a range of fines and imprisonment. Depending on the crime and any aggravating factors, you could suffer the following maximum penalties:

  • Second-degree misdemeanor: Two years in county jail and a $5,000 fine
  • First-degree misdemeanor: Five years in county jail and a $10,000 fine
  • Third-degree felony: Seven years in state prison and a $15,000 fine
  • Second-degree felony: Ten years in state prison and a $25,000 fine
  • First-degree felony: Twenty years in state prison and a $25,000 fine

You will also be required to register as a sex offender in Pennsylvania after you have completed your sentence. Publicly released information from this database is available through the website for Megan’s Law.

Sex Crimes Against Minors in Pennsylvania

Many sex crimes involve minors. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for an adult (18 years or older) to have sexual contact of any kind with anyone under age 16, even with consent. Although 16 is the age of consent, certain factors may affect the situation and may still result in a sex crime charge.

Contact the Sex Crime Attorneys at SMT to Fight Your Charges

When you are charged with a sex crime, you will face a very tough legal battle with high stakes involving your finances, your reputation, and your freedom. A conviction can ruin your ability to return to the life you knew before. If you are unsure of what to do or where to turn, hire a qualified sex crimes lawyer from SMT Legal.

We will litigate tirelessly on your behalf. Start getting the help you need by contacting us today for a free, no-risk consultation.

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