You Need a Sex Crime Lawyer in Pennsylvania to Protect Your Future
You should talk to a sex crime lawyer right away if you are charged with a sex crime in Pennsylvania. Even if you are only being investigated and have not yet been accused of a crime, it’s important to build your defense from the beginning.
Sex crime charges can ruin your life, even if they are untrue. Fortunately, an experienced sex crime lawyer in Pennsylvania may be able to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. Furthermore, a criminal defense attorney from Kitay Law Offices can help if you find yourself in this situation.
Read on to learn more about the law surrounding sex crimes in Pennsylvania, as well as some defenses that may help protect your freedom and avoid a criminal record.
Sex crime convictions carry serious consequences
Sex crime convictions in Pennsylvania carry severe penalties. If you are convicted of a sex crime, you could face time in prison, fines, and a requirement to register as a sex offender.
Generally, sexual offenses in Pennsylvania start as 2nd degree misdemeanors. Therefore, conviction carries up to 2 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
Charges may increase to a 1st degree felony. In that case, a conviction can mean up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. An experienced Pennsylvania sex crime lawyer will be able to explain the potential penalties in your specific case.
Depending on the charges, conviction may also mean that you need to register as a sex offender. Importantly, this is in accordance with the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). SORNA provides guidelines for sex offender registration throughout the United States.
Under SORNA, you must provide the sex offender registry with information about each location where you live, work, or attend school. Plus, you may have to register for life if your sex crime charges were serious. Finally, failure to register may result in a felony conviction.
An experienced sex crime attorney may use several defenses to fight your sex crime charges
Even after being charged with a sex crime, several defenses may help protect your freedom. Knowing the law surrounding sex offenses in Pennsylvania is crucial to fighting charges from the beginning. So, let’s explore some defenses your sex crime lawyer in Pennsylvania may use in your defense.
If you can show that the alleged victim actually consented, you may have a strong defense. Also, and very importantly, it is actually the prosecution’s job to show that the victim did not provide consent.
However, there are some situations in which consent will not help your case. These may include situations where the victim:
- Was incapacitated at the time of the act;
- Suffered from a mental illness such that they could not reasonably provide consent;
- Was a minor at the time of the incident; or
- Was forced to consent.
You are encouraged to speak with an experienced Pennsylvania sex crime lawyer to learn whether this defense may apply to your case.
During the course of your case, your sex crime attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine your accuser. In addition, your lawyer may be able to discover evidence that contradicts your accuser’s version of events. In that situation, you may be able to show that your accuser’s allegations are totally false.
Even with training and experience, police offices, detectives, and investigators can make mistakes. Some common failures include:
- Collecting evidence improperly;
- Not following proper procedures in chain of custody; and
- Deciding not to interview other potential suspects.
When this happens, we may have a case of mistaken identity. Due to law enforcement failures, you have been misidentified and charged with a sex crime. Proving these shortcomings may force the prosecution to drop the charges against you.
You may have wound up under the influence of a substance that impaired your ability to control your actions. Importantly, this must have been due to factors outside of your control. If so, you may be able to claim involuntary intoxication. In this case, it’s possible that you may not be accountable under the law for the charges against you. To find out for sure, you should contact a sex crime lawyer to discuss the details of your case.
In Pennsylvania, showing “insanity” at the time of the act is actually somewhat similar to proving involuntary intoxication. In other words, you must show that you acted without knowing what you were doing and without realizing that your conduct was wrong. If your sex crime attorney in Pennsylvania can show that you could not distinguish right from wrong, you may have a strong defense.
Challenge the DNA Evidence with a Sex Crime Attorney
In many sex crime cases, DNA evidence is highly important to proving the prosecution’s case. However, the complex process of obtaining reliable DNA evidence is subject to many failure points. An experienced Pennsylvania sex crime attorney may look to challenge the following parts of the DNA evidence process:
- Manner and method in which the DNA was collected;
- How the DNA evidence was transported to the testing facility;
- Technique used to isolate parts of the sample to be tested;
- Testing method; and
- How reliable and comprehensive the database is against which the results were compared.
A breakdown in any one of these DNA evidence stages can help your defense.
Mistake of Age
While this defense may only apply if the alleged victim is 14 years or older, you may be able to prove that you did not know the victim was underage. This can be a very hard defense to prove, but you will want to discuss it with your sex crime lawyer in Pennsylvania.
Common sex crime charges defended by a sex crime lawyer in Pennsylvania
While the lawyers at Kitay Law Offices defend clients against all types of sex crime charges, some are more common than others. However, it is important to speak with a Pennsylvania sex crime attorney immediately about any sex crime charges you face.
Here are some of the most common charges our clients face:
Under Pennsylvania law, child pornography can include viewing, downloading, distributing, or producing sexually explicit images or videos of someone under the age of 18. Even a single image or video is against the law, unless you came across it accidentally.
Importantly, child pornography is often transmitted or distributed over the internet. This means it commonly crosses state lines and can result in federal criminal charges. Federal child pornography charges may include the sexual exploitation of children, distributing it across state lines, and having people outside the United States send images or videos to the mainland.
Child solicitation charges involve trying to get someone else, who is a child, to have sex. This includes asking them online or in person. Importantly, your sex crime lawyer in Pennsylvania will be able to discuss the facts of your case to explain the risks and penalties involved with these charges.
Luring a Child
Unless it is readily apparent that a child needs assistance, it is illegal to lure a child into a car or other structure without a parent or guardian’s consent. Importantly, this charge can reach as high as a 2nd degree felony if the child is under 13 years old.
Sexting / Unlawful Contact with a Minor
Unlawful contact with a minor often involves sending explicit pictures or videos to children. The images may include yourself or others engaged in sexual actions.
Further, a conviction does not require any physical meeting or contact. It’s entirely possible for the prosecution to obtain a conviction on the basis of “sexting” alone.
Corruption of Minors
Corruption of Minors charges in Pennsylvania are confusing and wide-ranging. It covers your actions that either “corrupt or tend to corrupt” a minor’s morals. Interestingly, that language is quite vague.
Therefore, the law provides a few examples of situations in which you may corrupt a minor’s morals. These may include:
- Aiding or encouraging a minor to commit a crime;
- Engaging in sexual relations with a minor;
- Helping a minor commit truancy; and
- Assisting a minor to violate parole or a court order.
Charges for corruption of a minor may include misdemeanors and felonies, depending on the specific facts of each case. Therefore, speak with an experienced sex crime attorney to understand your risks and possible defenses.
Can a Pennsylvania sex crime lawyer explain Sexual Assault and Rape charges?
In Pennsylvania, Rape is a 1st degree felony. It carries penalties of up to 25 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. Further, penalties are even more severe if the victim is a minor. Importantly, such a conviction could possibly lead to life imprisonment.
A rape conviction may include vaginal, anal, and oral sex, as well as penetration by objects. In addition, the prosecution must prove that sexual contact with the victim was:
- By force;
- Conducted under a threat of force that prevented the victim from resisting;
- While the victim was unconscious or unaware that sex was occurring;
- After providing the victim with drugs or other intoxicants in order to prevent resistance, without the victim’s knowledge; or
- Illegal because the victim was incapable of consenting due to a mental disability.
Other related charges can include:
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
- Indecent Assault
- Indecent Exposure
Each of the above sex crimes include sex-related acts with various other elements. While rape carries the most severe penalties, each of the above charges include serious consequences. Ensure you discuss your specific case with an experienced sex crime lawyer in Pennsylvania.
Beware of the Pennsylvania Wire Tap Act
Alarmingly, law enforcement frequently uses the Pennsylvania Wire Tap Act to help gather evidence against you. Formally called the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, this law allows police to monitor your communications under certain circumstances.
Police can use this law to track those seeking to travel in order to have prohibited sexual relations. Frequently, officers will go undercover and pretend they are minors online. They may also pretend to sell or distribute child pornography. Finally, the Pennsylvania Wire Tap Act also allows law enforcement to contact Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to track you individually.
Importantly, law enforcement does this in order to gather evidence and catch suspects engaging in these illegal acts. If you have been charged with a sex crime and evidence of your online activity is being used against you, contact an experienced Pennsylvania sex crime lawyer immediately.
Contact a sex crime attorney in Pennsylvania at Kitay Law Offices today
If you are the suspect of a sex crime in Pennsylvania, it is important to speak with an experienced sex crime lawyer as soon as possible. A conviction brings serious consequences, including jail time, fines, and sex offender registration.
At Kitay Law Offices, we will investigate and discuss the specific facts of your case to develop an effective action plan. Fortunately, a number of defenses may apply to your situation. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.