Being charged with committing a crime is always a stressful event. The process of being fingerprinted, photographed, questioned, and held in a cell is alien and terrifying to most, and the days ahead are full of troubling questions. Will I be sentenced to prison? Will I lose my job? What will my friends and family think of me? When you have are facing criminal allegations, you risk being fined, incarcerated, and losing precious freedoms and privileges in the event of a conviction. When the crime in question is sexual assault, you also risk being placed on the Sex Offender Registry for life. The way you are perceived by your peers could change forever.
A conviction of sexual assault can turn your life upside down, and take away everything you value. You need to act rapidly to protect yourself against the aggressive questioning tactics used by police officers and prosecuting attorneys. At the law offices of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our criminal defense attorneys have over 20 years of experience defending the residents of Quakertown, Pennsylvania from charges of sexual assault. Our stance is that you are innocent until proven guilty, and we will fight aggressively in court to ensure that justice is upheld. If you are facing sexual assault charges, a Philadelphia sexual assault attorney from Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates can help.
What is Sexual Assault? Is Sexual Assault Different From Rape?
The legal definition of sexual assault is outlined by Pa. Cons. Stat. §3124.1. Under §3124.1, a crime is considered to be sexual assault when the actor:
“…engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant without the complainant’s consent.”
Based on this definition, sexual assault appears to be synonymous with rape. However, rape is its own separate offense under Pa. Cons. Stat. §3121. Legally speaking, rape is differentiated from sexual assault in that either:
- Forcible compulsion (or the threat thereof) is used.
- The victim is unconscious.
- The victim has a mental disability which renders them unable to grant consent.
- The actor uses a substance (e.g. drugs, alcohol) to impair the victim’s judgment.
Rape and sexual assault can be committed by persons of any gender.
It should also be noted that from a legal standpoint, there are several different types of sexual assault. For example, if the complainant is younger than 16 years old, sexual assault can be considered statutory sexual assault.
Sexual assault can also be considered institutional sexual assault, depending on the environment in which the crime was committed, and the relationship between the complainant and the actor. For example, it is considered institutional sexual assault when the actor is an employee of any of the following agencies:
- Residential Youth Facilities
- Correctional Facilities
- Facilities for the Developmentally Challenged
- Juvenile Facilities
- Mental Health Institutions
Therefore, if a nurse or doctor were to sexually assault a patient at a mental health institution, it could be considered an instance of institutional sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Penalties in Pennsylvania
The penalties for sexual assault in Pennsylvania vary based on several factors, including:
- Type of sexual assault
- Presence of aggravating factors (e.g. a previous record)
- Emotional and physical damage sustained by the victim
However, all sexual assault convictions are extremely serious. Sexual assault is a felony offense in the state of Pennsylvania.
Rape, Sexual Assault, and Statutory Sexual Assault
Sexual assault and statutory sexual assault are typically 2nd Degree Felonies in Pennsylvania. The penalties for a 2nd Degree Felony include:
- 10 years in prison
- $25,000 in fines
In some cases, statutory sexual assault may be considered a 1st Degree Felony. Rape is also a 1st Degree Felony. The penalties for a 1st Degree Felony include:
- 20 years in prison
- $100,000 in fines
Institutional Sexual Assault
Institutional sexual assault is a 3rd Degree Felony in Pennsylvania. The penalties for a 3rd Degree Felony include:
- 7 years in prison
- $15,000 in fines
Sex Offender Status
Many crimes which are sexual in nature, including sexual assault, subject the offender to mandatory registration with the Sex Offender Registry. Each state has its own Registry, compiled together into the National Registry.
Listings on the Registry website can be viewed by any member of the public. That includes your romantic partners, your friends, your coworkers, your bosses, your neighbors, and your family members. It also includes prospective employers and landlords, which can make finding a job or even place to live exceedingly difficult.
If you are listed on the Sex Offender Registry, much of your privacy will vanish. If you are added to the Registry, all of the following information can be viewed:
- License Plate Number
- Conviction (Date, Description)
Your listing with the Registry will also include a photograph of you, so that you can be identified by anybody. If you have any scars, tattoos, or other physical markings, their descriptions will be included.
Depending on your conviction, you may be required to register for a period of years — or for life.
If you are facing allegations of sexual assault in Quakertown, you need to speak with a Quakertown, Pennsylvania sexual assault lawyer right away. For a free and confidential case evaluation, call the law offices of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania, or contact us online.