According to Pennsylvania law, sexual assault is when a person engages in sexual intercourse with another individual without their consent. The question of consent may be a primary factor that the court will consider in a sexual assault case.
Sexual assault cases can involve a variety of methods to prove that the accused was guilty of the crimes, including DNA evidence, digital evidence such as pictures or videos, victim testimony, and more.
Penalties for Sexual Assault
In the state of Pennsylvania, sexual assault is a second-degree felony with a maximum jail time of 10 years and a fine up to $25,000.
The offender may be forced to pay out damages to the victim in separate civil court proceedings as well, regardless of the outcome of any criminal charges.
Sexual assault charges can become more serious if the offending party has been convicted of a sex crime in the past, as their previous behaviors will be taken into consideration by the presiding judge and prosecution.
As felony offenders, those convicted of sexual assault in Pennsylvania also may face limitations on their rights to own a firearm or vote while incarcerated, as well as consequences when seeking future employment and housing opportunities.
The Difference Between Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Offenses
In Pennsylvania, “sexual assault” is a specific type of sex offense, according to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Pennsylvania recognizes other types of sexual offenses that are distinct from sexual assault. These offenses include:
- Statutory sexual assault
- Institutional sexual assault
- Aggravated indecent assault
- Sexual abuse of children
- And more
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the factors that differentiate one form of sexual offense from another include the following specifications:
- Age of the victim and age of the offender.
- The amount of bodily harm committed during the act.
- Whether photos or videos were taken.
- Whether the victim was intoxicated at the time of the alleged incident.
- Whether the victim was forcibly restrained during the act.
Rape is the most serious sexual offense charge in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, rape is defined as sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion and can include instances where the victim was unconscious or substantially impaired. This offense can carry a fine of up to $25,000 and a 20-year maximum sentence. If the victim was less than 13 years old, the prison sentence can be increased to 40 years.
The Sex Offender Registry
Pennsylvania requires that offenders of sexual assault and certain other sex crimes register with publicly accessible sex offender registries. This is in compliance with Megan’s Law, a federal law that mandates that sex offender information is made public so that all people are aware of and can protect themselves from sex offenders in their communities.
The information listed on sex offender registries in Pennsylvania can include the offender’s name, address, photograph, description of their offense, and more. The minimum time a sex offender must remain publicly registered in Pennsylvania is 10 years.
Sexual Assault Charges in Court
If you have been charged with sexual assault, the legal counsel at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. may be able to take up your defense. When we represent a client in a sexual assault case, we may be able to gather evidence in the client’s defense or challenge evidence submitted by the prosecution.
There may be options for the defendant in a sexual assault case that do not include jail time or being placed on a sexual assault registry. If it is an individual’s first offense, a sexual assault lawyer may be able to work with the judge and prosecution to reduce the charges or penalties they are facing.
An Attorney in Your Corner
Criminal defense lawyer David C. McKenzie III is himself a former prosecutor who now works to defend people against criminal charges. He understands that the consequences of a sexual assault case are serious.
If you have questions about your sexual assault charges, McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is standing by to provide a free case evaluation. You can call our offices today at (610) 680-7842.
You do not need to go through this alone. If you retain the services of McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., our team will keep the lines of communications open via phone, text message, email, and social media throughout the duration of your case.