Pennsylvania, like most states, has classified a large number of crimes as “sexual offenses.” This type of offense often comes not only with serious penalties imposed by the court upon conviction but also with a stigma among family, friends, and community. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Several sexual offenses do not require the use of any force or intimidation. One of the most recent additions to that list is “sexting”—which only requires that a person send or receive a sexually explicit photo of someone under the age of 18.
Although the penalties vary greatly for the various crimes that have been classified as sexual offenses in Pennsylvania, one thing is true for all of them: a conviction—or a guilty plea—has lifelong consequences. This is because all of these crimes carry a social stigma that is different than almost any other crime—and because many of them require registration on the state’s sex offender registry (Note: failing to register—or failing to update where you are living—can result in additional criminal charges).
Most sexual offenses in Pennsylvania have been classified as felonies, which generally means that a conviction or plea deal will involve a lengthy prison sentence. Furthermore, some of these offenses are considered to be Felony 1 crimes, which is the most serious felony level in Pennsylvania and can result in life sentences.
Under the original version of Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law, offenders had to register—and report—for either 10 years or life. Those requirements, however, were expanded to 15 years, 25 years, or life by the 2012 enactment of the Sex Offender and Notification Act.
If you or a member of your family has been charged with a sexual offense—or you are concerned that you or a member of your family might be charged with one—call the Skinner Law Firm today at 610-436-1410 for a free consultation or send us an email through our online contact form. The earlier we get involved, the more we can help.