Sexual assault charges come with serious consequences in Pennsylvania. Depending on the nature of the charges, the state places convicted sex offenders on an online registry accessible to the public.
Different federal and state laws affect what someone can learn about a registered sex offender from a registry. Being removed from Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry is also very difficult. Look at the following Pennsylvania sex offender registry FAQs to get a better understanding of how the system works.
How Does Megan’s Law Apply To Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registry?
According to Pennsylvania State Police, Megan’s Law, which Governor Ridge signed into law in 1996, allows the public access to specific information on all registered sex offenders via the internet. Formally known as Act 24 of 1995, this law came from a federal amendment to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
In 2004, Governor Edward Rendell signed Senate Bill No. 92, which further mandated that all communities have access and notification of any registered sex offenders nearby.
What Can You Learn About A Sexually Violent Predator On Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registry?
According to the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board (SOAB), anyone can look up the following information on a registered sexually violent predator (SVP):
- Their name and aliases
- Their birth year
- The street address, including the city, county, and zip code, of all residences
- The street address, including the city, county, and zip code, of any institution or location where the sex offender is enrolled as a student
- The city, county, and zip code of anywhere the sex offender works
- An annually updated photograph of the sex offender
- A description of the specific sexual offense
- The sex offender’s date of conviction, if available
This is an ample amount of information about a person, which is what makes a sexual assault conviction so personally and professionally impactful.
How Does The Adam Walsh Act Apply To Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registry?
In 2006, former President Bush signed Title I of the federal Adam Walsh Act or the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act or “SORNA” into law. The intention was to unify the requirements for sex offender registries across the states.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Adam Walsh Act specifically aims to protect children from sexual exploitation, violent crime, and child pornography. It sets a three-tiered classification structure for sexual offenders. It also allows for a national database of sex offenders.
In 2011, Pennsylvania complied with this federal law, but later, in 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found certain aspects of this law unconstitutional. Governor Wolf replaced this law with Act 10 of 2018.
How Does Act 10 Of 2018 Apply To Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registry?
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania went one step further with Act 10 of 2018. Under the provisions of the Adam Walsh Act, any sex offender who was convicted prior to 2012 would not have had to register under SORNA, and any sex offender who was already registered prior to that date may have been omitted from the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW).
Under Act 10 of 2018, though, Pennsylvania subjects sex offenders to the regulations set at the time of their offense, which can be from ten years to a lifetime. Furthermore, the act calls for a three-year probationary period following the sex offender’s maximum state sentence. This allows communities to have access to more updated information about where a sex offender lives and works.
Can You Be Removed From Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registry?
Though it is not impossible to be removed from Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry, it is a long process, and it depends on which tier applies to the specific sexual offense. The SOAB sets the following lengths of time for the following tiers:
- Tier 1: 15 years
- Tier 2: 25 years
- Tier 3: Life
What Happens If You Must Register With Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registry?
Having your name added to Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry can cause substantial harm to your personal and professional life. Aside from losing a certain amount of privacy, you may also be facing fines and a prison sentence.
Finding work and building relationships can become challenging after a sexual assault conviction in Pennsylvania. It can even make going back to school difficult, as some institutions do not admit people with a criminal record.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help With Your Sexual Assault Charges In Pennsylvania
A criminal defense lawyer with McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can help if you are facing sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania. No one can afford to take such charges lightly; you will want to build your defense immediately, and this is something we can help with.
When we work on your case, we seek the best possible outcome for your situation. For a free case evaluation, call us today.