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Philadelphia Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer
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    Philadelphia Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer

    Accusations of sexual assault can be hard to escape. People might refuse to believe you even when the evidence indicates you are innocent. Our attorneys can help you challenge sexual assault charges and clear your name.

    Sexual assault charges apply if you are accused of having sexual intercourse with someone against their will or without consent. Penalties are severe, as sexual assault charges tend to be serious felonies. If convicted, you will have to register as a sex offender for life. Our team can help you mount an effective defense against these charges and accusations. We might look to DNA evidence to clear your name or challenge aspects of the prosecutor’s case, like the lack of consent, evidentiary standards, and violations of your rights. If you have been arrested or believe you will be arrested soon, call an attorney for help now. Once your case gets started, it might take time to complete, and our team will be by your side every step of the way.

    For help fighting your charges, call our sexual assault defense lawyers at (215) 302-0171, and our staff at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long can arrange a free, private case evaluation.

    When Can a Person Be Charged with Sexual Assault in Philadelphia?

    People often use the phrase “sexual assault” to refer to a whole host of sexual offenses and crimes. For example, serious rape accusations and inappropriate touching allegations tend to be collectively referred to as “sexual assault.” Legally speaking, sexual assault is a distinct offense and entirely separate from things like rape, inappropriate touching, or other sexual offenses.

    Sexual assault is explained in detail under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1. This offense may be charged when a defendant allegedly engages in sexual intercourse or deviant sexual intercourse with someone without their consent. While this is a general description that sounds very similar to rape, the law makes important distinctions between the two. Rape is explained in a different statute, and sexual assault is essentially rape that occurs in any way not contained within the rape statute. Rape includes 5 different methods specifically mentioned in the law. If rape occurs in some way that is not one of these 5, it may be charged as sexual assault.

    Often, the authorities in these kinds of cases will go back and forth on charges. They might arrest you for rape and even try to make those charges stick, but prosecutors might change the charges to sexual assault because it suits the situation better. If you find yourself in such a predicament, call our sexual assault defense attorneys for help immediately.

    Possible Penalties for a Sexual Assault Conviction in Philadelphia

    Sexual assault may be charged as a second-degree felony in Philadelphia. Felonies are among the most severe criminal charges a person might face, and a second-degree felony is only one step below the highest level. Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1103, a person convicted of a second-degree felony may be sentenced to a maximum prison term of 10 years. Remember, this sentence is only for one charge. If you face more than one charge of sexual assault, you might face several decades behind bars.

    Penalties for sexual assault may vary based on the circumstances. For example, if the alleged victim was injured or very young when the incident supposedly occurred, the defendant might face harsher penalties. You should discuss every aspect of the case with your lawyer to figure out what kind of penalties are on the table.

    There are also non-legal consequences to consider. A felony conviction on your record can disrupt your life in significant ways. It might prevent you from getting jobs, and your reputation within your community might be damaged beyond repair. It is imperative to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to hopefully prevent these things from happening.

    If I Am Convicted of Sexual Assault in Philadelphia, Do I Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

    Each state has its own sex offender registry, and people convicted of certain sexual offenses might be required to register. Different states have different rules, and some states only require people to register for a certain amount of time, while others require lifetime registration. Pennsylvania is a mix of both. Depending on how your offense is classified, you might have to register for 15 years, 25 years, or forever.

    The charge of sexual assault is considered a Tier III sexual offense. This means that if you are convicted, you must register for the rest of your life. Registration requires more than just putting your name on a list. You must report to your local authorities several times a year. If you fail to do so, you might face additional criminal charges. You must also notify the authorities whenever you change residence, even if you are moving just down the street.

    The public may have access to the sex offender registry, and your friends and neighbors can look you up. This is often a great source of humiliation for people who just want to move on with their lives. Our sexual assault defense lawyers can help you challenge the charges against you and hopefully avoid the registry.

    How to Defend Yourself Against Sexual Assault Charges in Philadelphia

    Your case and the circumstances surrounding it are unique, and our legal team can help to develop a defense strategy tailored to your specific situation and needs. Numerous strategies are worth exploring. Below are some effective strategies that commonly come up in sexual assault cases.

    DNA Evidence

    The thing about DNA evidence is that it can be incredibly persuasive. When a person’s DNA is found at a crime scene, it is nearly impossible to argue that they were not there at some point. DNA is a common factor in sexual assault cases and other sex crimes, as bodily fluids are often present.

    While people often think of DNA as the last nail in the defendant’s coffin, sometimes the opposite is true. If you know you have nothing to do with this alleged offense and never had any sexual encounter with the victim, we can compare your DNA with the DNA evidence found at the crime scene or on the victim. If they do not match, we have a strong argument in your favor.

    If your DNA is found at the crime scene or on the victim’s, you might have a good reason why. Perhaps you know the victim and have a sexual history together. If you had consensual sex with the victim before the crime occurred, this might explain why your DNA is present even though you did not commit the crime.


    One of the biggest issues, if not the biggest issue, in sexual assault cases is consent. Defendants are charged because victims claim they never gave consent to sexual intercourse. While the victim might claim they did not give consent, you might argue otherwise. If you did indeed get consent from the alleged victim before having sexual intercourse, you should not be convicted of sexual assault.

    Proving you had consent is often challenging, as it sometimes comes down to one person’s word against the other. However, the circumstances surrounding the case might lead the jury to believe that you really did have consent.

    Perhaps the victim has some reason to lie about being assaulted. It is not unheard of for a jilted ex to make false allegations against a former partner out of spite. If we can demonstrate that the victim has a history of lying or deception, the jury might be convinced not to believe them.

    If you believe that you had consent from the other person before having sexual intercourse, talk to your lawyer immediately.

    Evidentiary Challenges

    Sometimes, we do not need to argue about guilt or innocence but rather about the admissibility and validity of the evidence. In cases involving sexual crimes, prosecutors and the police tend to gather as much evidence as they possibly can. Sometimes, they obtain this evidence by less than legal means.

    A warrant is required for the police to conduct a search and seize evidence. Only under very limited and specific circumstances can the authorities seize evidence without a warrant. The same goes for arrests. The police must have an arrest warrant or a very good reason why the warrant is not necessary.

    If the police obtain evidence illegally, it is tainted and must not be allowed in court. If the police did not have a warrant in your case, tell your attorney immediately.

    Evidence might also be inadmissible even when it is obtained legally. For example, if the evidence makes you look bad but is not relevant to the case, it should not be admitted in court. There are many rules regarding what kind of evidence is or is not admissible, and all the evidence against you should be heavily scrutinized.

    Constitutional Rights Violations

    If the authorities violate your rights in any way, we can make sure the court knows. Often, this means that parts of the prosecutor’s case are severely weakened. As discussed above, when the police seize evidence without a warrant or a good exception to the warrant rule, they have violated your Fourth Amendment rights. Such evidence should be excluded and not used against you.

    There are other ways in which the police or prosecutors might violate your rights, either on purpose or by mistake. For example, if the police interrogate you without reading you your Miranda rights, they have committed a serious due process violation. Any information you disclosed to the police during this time should not be allowed in court.

    Prosecutors might also commit serious violations. For example, prosecutors are required to disclose all their evidence to the defendant before trial during the discovery phase. This allows the defendant to understand what they are up against and mount an effective and fair defense. If the prosecutor in your case fails to disclose some evidence during discovery, we can file a motion to have it excluded from the trial.

    When Should I Call a Lawyer About Sexual Assault Allegations in Philadelphia?

    When facing any criminal charges, a good rule of thumb is that it is never too early to call an attorney. Of course, if you have already been arrested, you should absolutely call an attorney immediately. If you are being detained for questioning, the police should read you your Miranda rights and give you a chance to call a lawyer. They sometimes try to tempt defendants into waiving these rights so they can answer questions faster, but do not fall for this. Call our team for help immediately.

    You should also call a lawyer before you are arrested if you can. If you have any reason to believe that someone has or will lodge a sexual assault complaint against you, call a lawyer. Your attorney can help you prepare for a possible arrest and begin building a case in your defense.

    How Long is a Sexual Assault Case in Philadelphia?

    When facing criminal charges, defendants often want to know how long proceedings might last so they can plan their lives around them. While the duration of your case depends on the specific details of your case, sexual assault cases tend to take longer because of the serious subject matter.

    It might be several weeks or months after you are arrested and charged before your trial starts. The trial itself might also take a few weeks to complete. Again, the time your case takes will vary depending on the evidence available and the complexity of the facts. Especially complicated cases tend to take longer as there are more details to sort out.

    The case might also take a long time when the parties are evenly matched with evidence. Presenting all the evidence to a jury takes time, as we must make sure to be thorough. The more evidence we have, the longer the case will likely take.

    Contact Our Philadelphia Sexual Assault Defense Lawyers Immediately

    For help fighting your charges, call our sexual assault defense lawyers at (215) 302-0171, and our staff at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long can arrange a free, private case evaluation.