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Sex Offender Registration in Pennsylvania
When convicted of certain crimes of a sexual nature or crimes against children, you may be required to register as a sex offender in the state of Pennsylvania. In the criminal justice system, we generally refer to the registration requirements as Megan’s Law or SORNA.
The purpose of registration is for the public and police to be able to track where you live, and thereby keep tabs on your daily life. This is primarily due to the severity of sexual crimes and perceived potential for recidivism.
However, for any kinds of punishments or requirements connected to a conviction, these are issues that an experienced attorney can handle. Whether as part of a plea or at a trial, having a lawyer there to zealously advocate for you can make all the difference in reducing charges as well as reducing punishments in criminal cases, including those of a sexual nature and that could result in sex offender registration.
At the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, we are well-versed in the intricacies of this area of law, and will fight for the best deals and outcomes possible. Ms. Snyder successfully challenged the constitutionality of SORNA II and will appear in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to make her argument that the registration requirements should be struck from PA law.
For a free legal consultation, call 215.515.3360
How does sex offender registration work in Pennsylvania?
Under Pennsylvania’s “Megan’s Law,” the state police maintain a registry of people who have been convicted of, entered a guilty plea to, or have been adjudicated delinquent of certain sex offenses.
The registry includes people’s home address, place of employment or school, and areas that they frequent. Basically, if you are required to register, then the state police will continue to monitor where you live your life and do daily activities, like go to school and go to work.
Furthermore, you must notify the Pennsylvania authorities if certain aspects of your life change, like changing your phone number or email, changing where you are working, or changing the car you own.
What is the purpose of this law?
According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly – who created the law – the main reason for the law is public safety. They have an incorrect belief that people who have committed sexually based crimes are more likely than other types of convicts to commit the same time of crime in the future. Therefore public safety is enhanced by making the fact that you were convicted or plead guilty to a crime that is sexual in nature public. It allows the public to make decisions about living near where you live, work, or go to school, based on the idea that you may commit a recidivist act and re-offend. The law also requires you to register in PA if you have been convicted of conduct in another state, that would be a conviction for a registration offense in Pennsylvania.
What kinds of crimes result in sex offender registration in Pennsylvania?
Generally, there are three tiers of offenses in Pennsylvania.
There are a number of offenses, classified as Tier I offenses, that would cause you to register for 15 years. These include crimes like 18 Pa.C.S. § 2902(b) (relating to Unlawful Restraint) and 18 Pa.C.S. § 2910 (relating to Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle or Structure).
Tier II sexual offenses, which require 25 year registration, include 18 Pa.C.S. § 3011(b) (relating to Trafficking in Individuals) and 18 Pa.C.S. § 6320 (relating to Sexual Exploitation of Children).
Finally, Tier III offenses that require lifetime registration are 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 (relating to Rape) and 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126(a)(7) (relating to Indecent Assault). With all of these offenses, they are sexual in nature, and therefore are offenses that could result in registration of different lengths.
Last, it should be noted that juveniles are not required to register as sex offenders in Pennsylvania, unless the court specifically labels the juvenile as a Sexually Violent Delinquent Child.
What happens in Pennsylvania if I fail to register as a sex offender?
You may be required to register every 90 days, six months or annually, depending on the kind of conviction in your case, potentially for the rest of your life.
However, if you fail to register within the timeframe specified in your case, the police could arrest you and you could face new criminal charges. There are a number of ways that you can fail to properly register, including failing to verify the address where you are living, failing to register with the Pennsylvania state police, or failing to give information that is true when you register the first time.
Pennsylvania has strict penalties if you fail to register. Altogether, failing to register will make the situation worse, and you could face additional criminal charges for not doing so.
Find a lawyer that will fight for you
Sex offender registration can be an extremely hard and emotional process. At The Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, we have extensive knowledge of criminal matters, including sex offender registration. From your original criminal case to navigating the registry, we are there as your attorney, providing support and legal guidance along the way to make sure you comply with your mandates. Call us today at 215-515-3360!