Pennsylvania residents who are currently registered or are required to register as sex offenders must comply with strict and numerous legal requirements under “Megan’s Law.” If a registered offender breaks any of these rules, there can be extremely severe criminal consequences. It’s critically important for individuals convicted of sex crimes in Pennsylvania to familiarize themselves with these rules and requirements in order to avoid facing additional criminal charges.
As we’ve written about in the past, there are many offenses requiring sex offender registration in the state of Pennsylvania, with the duration of registration dependent upon which “Tier” categorizes the underlying offense.
The offense’s classification under Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III also impacts the individual’s “reporting requirements,” or how frequently the individual must go to a Verification or Registration Site to update their registered information. Convicted persons must check in:
Regardless of which Tier the offense falls under, all convicted offenders in Pennsylvania must report the following:
In addition to supplying (and updating) all of the above information, certain registrants are also subject to broad restrictions on who they can contact and where they can live. For example, depending on the circumstances, certain designated Sexually Violent Predators are not allowed to live near schools or day care centers.
As the previous section makes plain, the list of rules and requirements for registered offenders is fairly lengthy and demanding. Nonetheless, it is crucial for registered individuals to adhere to all registration rules supplied by Megan’s Law — because if they do not, the result can be an additional set of felony criminal charges. 18 Pa C.S. §4915.1 clearly states the following:
An individual who is subject to registration… commits an offense if he knowingly fails to: (1) register with the Pennsylvania State Police… (2) verify his address or be photographed… or (3) provide accurate information when registering.
More specifically, failure to observe Tier I registration requirements provided by Megan’s Law is a third degree felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000 under 101 Pa. Code § 15.66. Tier II and Tier III violations are classified as second degree felonies, subject to a $25,000 maximum fine and up to a full decade in prison.
The penalties for deliberately supplying false information to law enforcement are even more severe. Providing false information pertaining to a Tier I offense is a second degree felony, while Tier II and Tier III informational violations can lead to first degree felony charges — the most serious criminal charge short of first or second degree murder. While the maximum $25,000 fine does not increase from the second degree felony fine, first degree felonies are subject to twice the maximum prison term: up to 20 years in prison.
Registrants and their loved ones should also be advised that the Pennsylvania State Police actively encourage the general public to report any suspected violations — including information about any person trying to help a convicted offender physically hide or otherwise withhold information from law enforcement. The PSP is vigilant when it comes to tracking down non-compliant offenders.
If you’ve been arrested for sex offenses in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania, you face expensive fines and long prison terms. You could also be forced to become a registered sex offender, for decades or even the rest of the your life. When the charges are this sensitive, you need a compassionate and experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Lloyd Long will fight hard to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed, and will vigorously protect your rights throughout the legal proceedings. We handle cases involving allegations of rape, child pornography crimes, and other sex offenses. To arrange for a free and completely private case evaluation, call our law offices right away at (215) 666-0381.