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Can a Minor Be a Sex Offender?

Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. July 15, 2022

If you’ve been accused of or arrested for a sex crime, you need to take the charges seriously. In addition to fines and jail time, many sex crime convictions require you to be put on a sex offender registration list, which can severely impact your future. 

Currently, there are 22,095 active registered sex offenders in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania State Police Megan’s Law Section 2021 Annual Report. While many of these offenders are guilty as charged, some may have had inadequate representation or were young when the incident occurred. Pennsylvania law for sex offender registration does require some minors to register, and it’s important to understand the laws around this. 

For help with this or any criminal defense matter, contact me at Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to start discussing your options.

Age as a Factor in Sex Offender Registration

Age is considered when deciding whether a convicted person must register as a sex offender; however, it doesn’t always prevent minors from having to register. In general, if a minor over the age of 14 is convicted of a serious sex crime, they must register for life, but there are certain provisions that can allow them to get off the list. When they turn 25, they are able to petition the court for sex offender registration removal, but only if they haven’t reoffended and if they’ve completed the required treatment programs. 

Does the Severity of the Crime Matter?

Yes, the severity of the crime matters in regards to the sex offender registry. Only those sex crimes that are considered serious will result in a registration. These are typically convictions of ​​rape, aggravated indecent assault, and involuntary deviate sexual assault.

What Is the Law in Pennsylvania?

Currently, the law in Pennsylvania requires anyone over the age of 14 who’s been found guilty of a serious sex crime to register as a sex offender. This information can then be found on the Megan’s Law website, which lists all registered sex offenders in the state. 

However, in the last couple of years, there’s been considerable pushback on this from the courts, including the state Supreme Court, since many people believe that the state requirement violates the rights of minors. However, in the meantime, the law still stands, which is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney representing your rights. A skilled attorney will work to avoid a conviction altogether, but if this is not possible, they may be able to lower the charges to those that don’t require registration. 

Penalties for Failure to Register

Even though there are moral and legal questions about forcing minors to register as sex offenders, the penalties for failing to register can be severe and should be avoided at all costs. It’s always in your best interests to follow the law and fulfill your sentencing requirements if convicted. If you don’t register, you could face jail time and fines which not only affect your life now but could jeopardize your chances of having your name removed from this list in the future. 

Let an Experienced Attorney Help You

If you’re a minor who was recently charged with a sex crime or you’re a family member of a minor who’s facing charges, you need to reach out to skilled attorney immediately to start working on your defense. I opened my practice, Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., over 17 years ago because I’m committed to helping people just like you get through these difficult times. Although my offices are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I’m also able to help clients in the neighboring areas, including Shaler Township, Ross Township, Fox Chapel, O’Hara Township, Penn Hills, Oakmont Borough, Indiana Township, and Aspinwall. Call me today.