Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Laws

When you’ve been accused of sexual assault, you probably feel alone without any hope in sight. After you’re charged, it is key to immediately contact a sex crimes attorney and inform yourself on the subject. Those charged with a sex crime are often given harsh penalties and sentences, so the more informed you are, and the sooner I get involved, the better chance you’ll have at a successful outcome.

Types of Sexual Assault

In the United States and Pennsylvania, there are clear, objective boundaries that are set to state the severity of the sexual assault and the penalties reflecting them. The following are considered sexual assault:

  • Rape: sexual intercourse against the will of another
  • Forcible sodomy: anal or oral sex against the will of another
  • Forcible object penetration: the insertion of an object or body part into someone’s vagina or anus, or causing that person to penetrate themselves, against their will
  • Marital rape: forced sexual intercourse against a spouse
  • Sexual touching against the will of another
  • Sexual contact with minors of any kind
  • Incest: sexual acts between family members
  • Unwanted or coerced sexual contact of any kind

Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment?

When it comes to sex offenses, the only difference between assault and harassment is the relationship between the two people involved. If someone is sexually violated by someone they work with, it is considered sexual harassment. If the violation was not perpetrated by a coworker or for reasons not involving their job, it is sexual assault.

These offenses are both viewed differently in the eyes of the law; sexual harassment is a civil rights issue while sexual assault is a crime and the defendant is punished as such. If you’ve been charged with sexual assault in or near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, contact my law office immediately so I can begin working on your case.

Degrees of Punishment for Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania

Within the category of sex crimes, there are different levels, or degrees, for which someone can be punished. Sexual assaults can either be felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the case. It is your sex crimes attorney’s responsibility to work towards the most favorable outcome possible for you.

  • First-degree charges are the harshest punishment and can be punishable by up to 40 years in prison.
  • Second-degree charges can be punishable by as long as five years and include forced incest and aggravated sexual assault.
  • Third-degree charges for sexual assault can be punished up to seven years in prison.

Other Important Terms & Phrases

  • Statutory sexual assault occurs when someone has sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 16, regardless of whether the child consented or not. This term is also called statutory rape.
  • Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse is defined as rape involving a child that is 15 years old or younger when the defendant is at least four years older than the victim. This first-degree felony is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and $125,000 in fines.
  • Molestation is another word for sexual abuse or assault of younger children. 
  • Sexual violence is forcibly coercing someone to perform sexual acts against their consent.
  • Acquaintance rape occurs when the victim is sexually assaulted by someone they know or trust. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports 45% of sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance. An additional 25% are committed by either a current or former partner.

Aggressive and Strategic Sex Crimes Attorney

There are many different forms of sexual abuse, rape, and sexual assault. If you have been charged with any sex crime, contact my office today so I can get started on your case. I have been a practicing criminal defense attorney since 2001, so I will apply my knowledge of useful strategies to your unique situation in pursuit of acquiring the best possible outcome for you.

Contact my office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, today to schedule a phone consultation that won’t cost you a dime.


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