What Constitutes Sex Crimes
The most common sex crime is rape. This happens when a victim is held against their will with the intention to engage in sexual intercourse. Other acts are categorized as sexual assault offenses in Pennsylvania. These include indecent assault, child molestation, sodomy, sexual harassment and any acts that involve sexual contact without the consent of the victim.
Proving Sexual Crimes
The prosecution must employ certain aspects when proving sexual assault. For instance, in the case of rape, a sexual organ must penetrate the victim for this to be considered an offense. If the penetration did not happen, then the charge in this is attempted sexual assault. Lack of consent on the part of the victim weighs in heavily. A sexual assault crime is committed if the act is carried out without voluntary consent. However, this does not apply to victims who are underage. If sexual intercourse happens with a person under the age of 16, then this is considered sexual assault. Persons under the age of 16 are considered mentally incapable of making sound decisions.
Possible Penalties for Sexual Assault
In Pennsylvania, If one is between four to eight years older than the minor, then you are charged with a second-degree class felony. The age bracket can stretch to between 8 and 11 years. A second-degree felony can carry up to 10 years in prison. The fine amount is $25,000.
If the accused person is more than 11 years older than the victim, then they are charged with a first-degree felony. If the person is convicted, then they could face jail time of up to 20 years. The fine amount is also $25,000. The reputation damage and stigma from society is also an emotional penalty that offenders face. If you face a sexual assault charge, you need to treat this charge seriously and consult with a lawyer immediately.
Defenses in Sexual Assault Cases
The first defense in such cases in innocence. If you have an alibi to prove that you were not at the scene where the crime happened, then you can easily prove innocence. If the victim was highly intoxicated, then there is a possibility that they may confuse you with someone else.
Consent is another possible defense. One cannot claim sexual harassment or rape if he or she consented to the act. If you have evidence to prove that the person agreed, then this can be presented in court. It is the work of the prosecutor to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was no consent. While this may be hard in most cases, you must bear in mind that the judge or jury is biased in such cases. What this means is that your defense team will have to work hard to create reasonable doubt.
Trickery can also be used in such cases. If for instance the victim showed you a fake ID and you genuinely believed it was real, then you can use this as a defense.
Obtain Legal Counsel From a Sexual Assault Lawyer
A criminal sex charge has devastating consequences. You may go to prison and lose your family. The courts may also rule that you register yourself as a sex offender. This will affect your job prospects and overall quality of life. Today, most organizations carry out background checks in the recruitment process. You may also be barred from enrolling in a college or university if you are a listed sex offender. An experienced legal team is your best arsenal when faced with sexual assault charges.