What Is the Penalty for Sexual Assault in PA?

by | Oct 3, 2022

Penalties for PA sexual assault depend on how the Commonwealth grades your charges. A first-degree felony statutory sexual assault conviction could result in up to twenty years in prison and fines of $25,000, while a second-degree sexual assault conviction could result in up to ten years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines.

Convictions could also result in sexual offender registration. However, you could have legal opportunities to get your charges dropped, dismissed, reduced, or won at a jury trial. If you or a loved one face sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania, get legal advice from a sexual assault defense lawyer.

In This Article

Philadelphia sexual assault defense lawyers discuss how the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania defines sexual assault and statutory sexual assault, the penalties for each type of crime, and what to do if you or a loved one face false accusations. Shuttleworth Law wrote this post for people accused of PA sexual assault to get more legal information about their situation.

How PA Defines Sexual Assault

Sexual assault charges in PA result from the Commonwealth believing that you forced someone to have sex without their consent. It is important to note that no one under the age of majority can engage in sexual intercourse voluntarily, even if they give verbal consent.

Pennsylvania’s criminal code recognizes sexual assault and statutory sexual assault violations as outlined below:

Sexual Assault

You commit a second-degree felony if you sexually assault someone by engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse without the alleged victim’s permission under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1.

Statutory Sexual Assault

PA charges you with Statutory Sexual Assault under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1 when you engage in sexual intercourse with someone to whom you are not married and is also:

  • Second-degree felony: Under the age of 16 and is:
    • Four years older but fewer than eight years older than you; or
    • Eight years older but fewer than 11 years older than you.
  • First-degree felony: 11 or more years older than you

If you face sexual assault charges in PA, understanding the legal definitions of these crimes is critical. Prosecutors hold the burden of proof and must prove their accusations beyond a reasonable doubt. As such, when they cannot show that your actions met the definition of sexual assault or statutory sexual assault, you should present a solid defense to avoid a conviction.

Related Article: What Is the Romeo and Juliet law in Pennsylvania?

PA Sexual Assault Penalties By Charge and Grade

The penalties for sexual assault in PA vary according to the facts and circumstances of every case. While the judge has sentencing authority during your hearing, you could face various penalties that do not necessarily incur the maximum amount. Since sexual assault and statutory sexual assault could result in a felony, you could face prison, fines, sex offender registration, and more.

Below, our Philadelphia sexual assault defense lawyers discuss the maximum penalties on the line by charge and grade:

Second-Degree Felony Sexual Assault Penalty

A second-degree felony sexual assault penalty includes up to ten years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines. You may also have to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

First-Degree Felony Statutory Sexual Assault Penalty

A first-degree felony statutory sexual assault penalty includes up to 20 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines. You may also have to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

Second-Degree Felony Statutory Sexual Assault Penalty

A second-degree felony statutory sexual assault penalty includes up to ten years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines. You may also have to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

Collateral Consequences of Sexual Assault Convictions

As defined in the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007, a collateral consequence creates a disadvantage or disability resulting from a felony or misdemeanor conviction. These consequences often extend beyond your prison sentence.

Collateral consequences of a sexual assault conviction in PA could include:

  • Firearms rights loss
  • Housing ineligibility
  • Immigration issues
  • International travel
  • Job loss
  • Loss of driving privileges
  • Loss of standing and reputation
  • Professional license problems
  • And more

The penalties for sexual assault in PA can echo throughout the rest of your life. It is tough to escape background checks, mugshots, sex offender registries, and newspaper articles in today’s digital world. Ensure you mount a legal defense that aims to get your charges dropped, dismissed, reduced, or beaten at trial if you did not commit a crime or when the prosecution does not have enough evidence to convict.

Related Article: What is a Felony in Pennsylvania?

Tips for Defending Against False Sexual Assault Accusations

False accusations of sexual assault negatively impact your personal and professional reputation, regardless of the outcome. Not only is your name associated with such a crime, but you are now forced to challenge the prosecutor’s case against you. People make false sexual assault allegations daily over revenge, custody issues, sexual shame, and intoxication.

Here are a few tips for defending yourself against false sexual assault allegations if you stand accused in PA:

  • Tip #1. Do not make any contact with the victim, their family, or associates
  • Tip #2. Avoid making statements to the police even if clearing up facts
  • Tip #3. Document your version of events and preserve evidence
  • Tip #4. Understand that your charges are defensible in the courtroom
  • Tip #5. Only speak to, by, and through your sexual assault defense lawyer

You should never try to handle sexual assault or statutory sexual assault charges unrepresented. Instead of reluctantly accepting a plea deal, speak with a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling sexual assault matters. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case, prosecutorial and police evidence, and determine what they can and cannot prove.

After that, your legal team can begin approaching your charges from one or multiple angles. The route you take is entirely up to you, whether you accept a plea deal, argue during the pre-trial phase, or clear your name at a jury trial. However, it is reassuring that someone with a complete command of the law and experience is standing by your side in the courtroom when you hire an attorney to represent your case.

Related Article: Are Plea Deals Worth It in Pennsylvania?

Talk to Philadelphia Sexual Assault Defense Lawyers at No-Cost

Our Philadelphia sexual assault defense lawyers invite you or your loved ones to contact our office about your criminal charges at no cost and with no obligation to you. Call Shuttleworth Law now to schedule your Free Case Evaluation at (215) 774-1371 or message us online. We can meet with you by phone, via secure video conferencing, or in person, as you prefer.

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