Philadelphia Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer
Criminal charges of any kind should be taken very seriously and handled with caution. Sex crimes, however, are especially serious as they are often treated more harshly by law enforcement and the courts. Pennsylvania law describes numerous crimes as sexual offenses, including the crime of sexual assault. Sexual assault typically involves a defendant having sexual intercourse with the victim without consent. The exact nature of your charges and the penalties you may face will depend on the circumstances of your individual case.
Sexual assault, and any sex crime for that matter, is incredibly serious and may come with very harsh penalties. If convicted, defendants may serve lengthy prison terms, pay costly fines, and must register as a sex offender. If you have been charged with sexual assault, schedule a free legal consultation with our skilled Philadelphia sexual assault defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long by calling (215) 302-0171.
What Constitutes Sexual Assault in Philadelphia?
According to 18 PA Cons Stat § 3124.1, sexual assault occurs when a defendant has sex or engages in sexual acts with the victim without obtaining the victim’s consent. Sexual assault is a felony of the second degree. This description may sound a lot like rape. In many jurisdictions, rape and sexual assault are used interchangeably and mean the same thing. In Pennsylvania, however, the two are actually classified as different offenses and carry separate penalties. Rape is often committed by force or under the duress of the victim, whereas sexual assault does not necessarily involve any coercion or duress.
Rape is described under 8 PA Cons Stat § 3121 (2019) as sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion, by the threat of forcible compulsion, when the victim is unconscious, by drugging the victim, or when the victim has a mental disability that prevents them from giving valid consent. Rape is a bit more serious than sexual assault and is a felony of the first-degree with harsher penalties. Sexual assault is more akin to an umbrella term. It encompasses most sex offenses that are similar to rape but do not quite meet the criteria of rape. Sexual assault involving minors are treated as a separate and more severe crime.
Sexual assault may include instances where the defendant used no force or compulsion, but the victim did not give their consent. For example, if two romantic partners began having consensual sex, and one partner decides they no longer wish to have sex, but the other partner ignores their wishes and continues to have sexual intercourse, this would be considered sexual assault. No force was used during the encounter, but there was a lack of consent by the victim. To fully understand the nature of your case, contact our Philadelphia sexual assault defense lawyer.
Criminal Penalties for Sexual Assault in Philadelphia?
The penalties for sexual assault are extremely serious. If you are charged with sexual assault, contact our Philadelphia sexual assault attorney as soon as possible. Sexual assault is a felony of the second degree. A defendant convicted of sexual assault may face up to 10 years in prison. If that sexual assault involves a minor, the charges and penalties may change. If the minor was under 16 years of age and the defendant was between either 4 and 8 years or 8 and 11 years older than the victim, the crime remains a felony of the second degree. However, if the victim is under the age of 16 and the defendant is more than 11 years older, the crime will be charged as a felony of the first degree.
Such a felony carries a prison term of up to 20 years. Felonies of either the first or second degree may also be associated with fines of up $25,000. Additionally, the court is required to impose a mandatory probation period of 3 years in addition to a prison sentence. The court may also require a convicted defendant to attend treatment or counseling as part of their sentence.
When a defendant has a criminal history of certain kinds of sex offenses, the penalties for a subsequent conviction may be upgraded. A conviction for a sexual assault charge on top of a prior conviction for sexual assault will result in a minimum sentence of no less than 25 years in prison. If the defendant has two or more previous conviction for sexual assault or other sex offenses may be sentenced to life in prison. If you have a criminal history involving sex crimes, it is imperative that you contact our Philadelphia sexual assault defense attorney to handle your case.
Sex Offender Registration as a Penalty for Sexual Assault in Philadelphia
A conviction for a sex offense in Philadelphia may result in the defendant being registered as a sex offender. The sex offender registry is publicly available, meaning anyone may access the registry and find the names of sexual offenders. Being registered may prevent you from getting jobs or living in certain areas. Defendants who may be required to register as sex offenders should call our Philadelphia sexual assault defense lawyer immediately.
The duration of a convicted offender’s registration will depend on the nature of their offense. Sexual offenses are divided into three tiers, with Tier I being the least serious and Tier III being the most serious. Sexual assault and rape fall under Tier III. Defendants convicted of Tier III crimes, including sexual assault, must register for the rest of their lives.
Convicted defendants who knowingly fail to register or comply with registration requirements may face additional penalties. Depending on the circumstances, someone who fails to comply with sex offender registration requirements may be sentenced to an additional 2 to 5 years in prison.
Get Help from a Philadelphia Sexual Assault Attorney Today in a Free Consultation
Sexual crimes of any kind are incredibly serious offenses and are treated very harshly by the courts, prosecutors, and law enforcement. Sexual assault is especially severe and is a Tier III sexual offense that carries steep fines and a lengthy prison term. You will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. A subsequent sexual assault conviction could put you behind bars for decades. If you or someone you know has been charged with sexual assault, contact our experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long by calling (215) 302-0171.