When a person engages in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts with another person without their consent, it’s sexual assault. If the victim is a minor, it’s still sexual assault even if the victim gave consent.
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience. Being accused of sexual assault can potentially ruin your reputation and put your freedom at stake. A criminal defense attorney from our firm can explain what sexual assault in Pennsylvania is and build a strong case in your defense.
How Does Pennsylvania Define Sexual Assault?
There are several statutes relating to sexual assault under Pennsylvania law. According to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3122.1, Pennsylvania defines sexual assault as “a person that engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant without the complainant’s consent.”
There are a few specific types of sexual assault outside of the general charge. These include:
Statutory Sexual Assault
The sexual assault of an underage victim is taken seriously in Pennsylvania. Even if the victim consents, it’s still sexual assault when the victim is under the age of 16, and the perpetrator is between four and 11 years older. If the perpetrator is 11 or more years older than the victim, statutory sexual assault will elevate to a first-degree felony.
Any of these charges can seriously damage your reputation, hurt you financially, or put you in jail for years. Our law firm primarily handles criminal defense cases, including clients accused of sexual assault.
Institutional Sexual Assault
Institutional sexual assault involves those working in the Department of Corrections, youth development, probation, or other forms of state-run institutions commit sexual assault on a detainee, inmate, patient, resident, etc.
This will elevate to “instituational sexual assault of a minor” if the victim is under 18.
For a free legal consultation, call 215.515.3360
Is Sexual Assault a Felony in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, sexual assault is always a felony, with a few variations on the degree. “Sexual assault” and “statutory sexual assault” are both second-degree felonies. This will be elevated to a first-degree felony if the victim is under 16 and the accused party is 11 or more years older than the victim.
Cases of insitutional sexual assault are the exception, where the defendant will face a third-degree felony.
What Are the Penalties for Sexual Assault?
In Pennsylvania, sexual assualt punishments depend on the nature of the charge. For example, were drugs and alcohol involved? Was the victim a minor? Was there penetration?
There are a few specific types of sexual assault under Pennsylvania law, so there are a few penalties one can face. These may include:
- 1st-degree felony: Punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines
- 2nd-degree felony: Punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines
- 3rd-degree felony: Punishable by up to 7 years in prison and $15,000 in fines
In general, though, traditional sexual assault is treated as a second-degree felony, so most defendants can expect to face a maximum of 10 years in prison with a fine no more than $25,000.
What Should You Do if You Face Sexual Assault Charges?
Sexual assault allegations are serious with severe penalties that can be imposed if you are convicted. You may decide to obtain the services of a criminal defense attorney who can represent you and defend you at trial.
There are defenses available that can exonerate you, including:
- There was consent
- Mistaken identity
- Close in age if both parties are minors
- Involuntary intoxication or drugging
Our firm will work to build your defense. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible can help us so we can start putting together your case. We believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
Learn More About What Sexual Assault Is in Pennsylvania
Our law firm has handled numerous criminal defense cases over the years for clients facing a range of different charges. Accusations of sexual assault can leave your reputation in tatters and tear your life apart.
We offer free consultations so you can talk to us about your case and learn what sexual assault is in Pennsylvania. We can help you put up a rigorous defense in court against any charges against you. Contact the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC today.