A controversial 1990s rockstar has been the subject of a sexual harassment investigation since earlier in the year when alleged victims came forward with their accusations. The most recent update on the investigation is that the signer’s home in Hollywood has been searched with many items being seized during that search. While that story took place in California and therefore is governed by that state’s law, it is important that everyone in Pennsylvania knows the sexual assault laws in the Commonwealth, as well.
Defining Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania
Sexual assault is a very serious criminal offense and under the law, it is defined as any time a person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person, and without that person’s permission. If the alleged victim was under the age of 16 years old and the defendant was at least four years older, a person may be charged with statutory sexual assault.
The Pennsylvania law defines the crime of indecent assault or an offense similar to sexual assault. Indecent assault occurs when there is indecent contact made with another person, which can include contact with a person’s bodily fluids, for the intention of arousing either the defendant or the alleged victim. Indecent assault also occurs without the permission of the victim, and under force or the threat of force.
Penalties for Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania
The penalties associated with sexual assault will depend on the type of crime and the nature and severity of the offense. Sexual assault is classified as a second degree felony and it carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison. The penalties for a rape conviction are even harsher, as the crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum $25,000 fine, or both.
Indecent assault can be charged as either a first or second degree misdemeanor. The classification will depend on the severity and the nature of the crime. The maximum penalty for indecent assault is up to five years in prison. Still, if a person has been convicted two or more times in the past, the charge is upgraded to a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Lastly, certain individuals convicted of sex crimes in Pennsylvania are required to register as a sex offender, sometimes for the rest of their lives. The registry in the state is a matter of public record and so, anyone can view it. Registered sex offenders are also sometimes prohibited from even living in certain areas, such as in school zones.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Allentown Can Help You Beat the Charges
Sexual assault charges are some of the most serious, and you need the help of an Allentown criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our skilled attorneys know the defenses available to help you beat the charges and retain your freedom. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.