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Sex Offenses In Pennsylvania

Allegations of sexual misconduct can damage your reputation and wreak havoc on your personal and professional life. Public accusations may result in a rush to judgment from family, friends, employers, and others in your community. If you or a loved one has been charged with a sexual offense, it’s vital to quickly seek the counsel of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with your best interests in mind. At Gross McGinley, LLP, our defense attorneys in Allentown, PA, help you understand your rights and provide a vigorous defense from the initial allegation.

What to know about sex offenses in PA:

What Type of Sex Assault Charges Could I Face?

What Are the Potential Penalties for Sex Crimes in Pennsylvania?

What Is the Sex Offender Registry?

What Kinds of Defenses Are Possible?

How Can the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Gross McGinley Help With My Sex Crime Case?




Types of Sex Crimes in Pennsylvania


When someone is forced to engage in sexual intercourse or other sex acts against their will through the use of force or threat of force, it may be considered rape in Pennsylvania. This includes vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse.

The accused also may face rape charges if a victim is unconscious, drugged, or has a mental condition that prevents them from being able to give consent. Penetration with an object may be charged as rape or involuntary deviate intercourse. Rape of a child may be charged if the victim was 12 years of age or younger. All these sex crimes are first-degree felonies and carry harsh penalties, so it’s crucial to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you’re facing rape charges.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault may be charged when sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse occurs without the victim’s consent. Unwanted touching and other types of harassment may result in sexual assault charges as well. Most sexual assault charges are second-degree felonies in Pennsylvania.

If an offender has sex with someone 16 or younger and the offender is at least four years older than the victim, they may be charged with statutory sexual assault. If the offender is at least 11 years older than the victim, the charge could be enhanced to a first-degree felony and result in a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Other sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania include aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault, which can result in felony or misdemeanor charges, depending on the circumstances.

Indecent Exposure

When someone exposes their genitals in public or another place where others are present and the act is intended to offend, alarm, or affront, they may be charged with indecent exposure. If semen, urine, or feces come into contact with the victim, the offense typically is upgraded to aggravated indecent exposure.

Other Possible Sex Offenses in Pennsylvania

  • Sexual abuse of children
  • Incest
  • Sexual exploitation of children
  • Child pornography
  • Online solicitation of a minor
  • Statutory rape
  • Spousal rape
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Internet sex crimes
  • Transmission of sexually explicit pictures of minors (i.e. “sexting”)

This is by no means an exhaustive list of sexual assault definitions and offenses. If you’re facing criminal charges, a defense attorney at Gross McGinley, LLP, can help you understand what is considered sexual assault, listen to your story, and build a strong defense.




Penalties for Sex Crimes in Pennsylvania

Depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the offense, sex crimes can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors in Pennsylvania. However, even misdemeanor charges can result in jail time and require a defendant to register as a sex offender. Generally, convictions of sex crimes may result in:

  • Third-degree misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail, and fines of up to $2,000

  • Second-degree misdemeanor – A maximum of two years in jail, and a fine of $5,000

  • First-degree misdemeanor – Up to five years in jail and a maximum $10,000 fine

  • Third-degree felony – A maximum of seven years of incarceration, and a fine of up to $15,000

  • Second-degree felony – Up to 10 years of prison time, and a maximum $25,000 fine

  • First-degree felony – A maximum of 20 years in prison, and fines of up to $25,000

If a statute allows for enhanced penalties, someone who is convicted of a sex crime can face more prison time and higher fines. For example, if you are convicted of rape and administered alcohol or drugs to the victim, you may be sentenced to an additional 10 years of incarceration and a $100,000 fine. A sex crime such as the rape of a child with serious bodily injury may result in a life sentence.

Our lawyers understand that your freedom and reputation are on the line. Each case is unique, and our dedicated criminal defense team works to craft the best defense possible for every client.




Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

Certain sex crime convictions require offenders to register with the Pennsylvania State Police and be placed on a public sex offender registry. Being a registered sex offender can affect your ability to find housing and employment, and it can have a serious impact on interpersonal relationships and your standing in a community. Failure to register or update address or employment information is a felony offense that can result in prison time.




Sex Crime Defenses

Facing sex crime charges can make you feel hopeless and alone. Our criminal defense attorneys provide outstanding legal representation without judgment. Our lawyers believe anyone charged with a crime deserves capable legal counsel dedicated to keeping their best interests in mind.

Common defenses to sex crime charges include:

  • The alleged victim consented to sexual activity

  • The defendant was involuntarily intoxicated when the crime occurred (unknowingly drugged)

  • The defendant was forced to commit the act under duress

  • The defendant has been falsely accused

  • The defendant was somewhere else when the sex crime took place

  • Mistaken identity

  • Challenging DNA evidence




Why Choose Our Criminal Defense Attorneys?

Being convicted of a sex crime can have lifelong consequences. Our team of experienced defense lawyers know how to build effective defense strategies. They are seasoned negotiators who are familiar with local courts and prosecutors. If a plea deal is an option you’re considering, we aggressively negotiate on your behalf to reach the best possible outcome for your case.  Alternatively, we have also successfully defended individuals accused of sex crimes at trial resulting in complete acquittals.

We recognize that each case requires defense strategies tailored to address the specific circumstances. Our criminal defense team includes former prosecutors who are well-versed in the opposing sides’ strategies and know how to maneuver them to your benefit. We believe no one should have to navigate the criminal justice system alone or settle for mediocre legal representation. Our sex crimes lawyers are dedicated to fighting for your rights and serving all clients with respect and integrity.




Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys in Pennsylvania

Being charged with a sex offense and navigating the criminal justice system can be daunting, but you don’t have to go it alone. For more than forty years, our team at Gross McGinley, LLP, has provided forward-thinking legal representation to clients in Allentown and throughout Pennsylvania. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or call us at 610-820-5450.

Sex Offenses Team

View Profile Gross McGinley Allentown Law Firm Attorney Michael J. Blum

Michael J. Blum

Senior Counsel
View Profile Gross McGinley Allentown Law Firm Attorney Robert M. Campbell

Robert M. Campbell

Senior Counsel
View Profile Lead Attorney Gross McGinley Allentown Law Firm Sara Hart Charette

Sarah Hart Charette

View Profile

Andrea Figueroa

View Profile Lehigh Valley criminal defense lawyer Philip Lauer

Philip D. Lauer


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