Erie, Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Lawyers
Experienced and Resourceful Defense Lawyers Fight Sexual Assault Charges Across Pennsylvania
Very few crimes carry the same stigma that attaches to every single allegation of sexual assault—even in cases where the sex crime alleged does not rise to the level of rape. Even the very accusation that you committed sexual assault must be taken extremely seriously in order to protect your reputation, your freedom and your future.
Sexual assault is a complex criminal accusation and, in many cases, can actually involve a series of charges that include rape. The stakes are always high in sexual assault cases, as your personal and professional reputation is on the line even if you are never convicted and even if you are accused of a lesser sexual assault crime. Regardless of the charge or circumstances, you need a reputable and trustworthy defense lawyer to build the strongest and smartest defense possible in your case.
At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our experienced criminal defense lawyers approach every allegation of sexual assault with every one of our substantial arsenal of available resources in order to uncover every piece of evidence that could help establish your innocence or discredit the prosecution’s evidence. We know what it takes to protect your freedom, and will fight vigorously to obtain the best possible outcome in your case if you have been accused of a sex crime in Erie, Meadville, North East or throughout Western Pennsylvania.
What is Sexual Assault Under Pennsylvania’s Criminal Statutes?
Under Pennsylvania’s criminal laws, sexual assault charges do not always allege a crime that could also be charged as rape. Sexual assault is a second-degree felony offense and includes sexual contact to which the victim does not consent, such as:
- Attempted rape,
- Molestation or child molestation,
- Any unwanted sexual contact or touching,
- Forcing the victim to engage in certain sexual acts, including oral sex on the perpetrator,
- Sexual acts in which the victim engages while under coercion from the perpetrator (for example, because the perpetrator has threatened the victim’s family),
- Statutory sexual assault, which is sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 16, when the perpetrator is either between four and eight years older than the victim, with the severity increasing when the perpetrator is at least eight years older, but less than 11 years older, than the victim,
- Institutional sexual assault, which occurs when the perpetrator engages in sexual contact with an inmate, patient, mental health facility resident, juvenile detainee, and others while employed by certain enumerated agencies and facilities,
- Rape (usually in cases where the prosecution has insufficient evidence to formally charge the accused with rape).
More specifically, a person commits a second-degree felony sexual assault when that person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse without the victim’s consent, except in cases where an actual rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charge can be established.
Sexual Assault Convictions Carry Extreme Consequences in Pennsylvania
Second-degree felonies, such as sexual assault, are punishable by up to ten years in prison and up to $25,000 in monetary fines. This is the penalty for the second-degree felony itself—additional charges often apply in sexual assault cases that can result in even longer jail terms and higher financial penalties. If the assault of a child is involved, a life sentence in prison could be on the line.
Importantly, the conviction for sexual assault can lead to Megan’s Law registration requirements that can require lifetime registration as a sex offender. This means that every time you move, you will be required to register again with the police, and your registration information can be accessed by the public—including family members, friends, potential significant others, employers and landlords. In some cases involving particularly violent sexual assaults, the police will even actively notify members of the community of your offense so that they can take steps to protect themselves.
Our Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyers Put All Resources to Work to Defend Clients Unjustly Accused of Sexual Assault in Erie County, PA
At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., we will fight tirelessly to uncover every possible defense to avoid conviction and all of the severe consequences that a conviction for sexual assault will carry. We have been nationally recognized for the exceptional legal representation that we are dedicated to providing to each and every one of our clients, and stand ready to go to battle in your case today.
Contact an Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney to Discuss Your Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Charges Today
The conviction for sexual assault, or any other sex crime, will undoubtedly carry severe and life-altering repercussions that will continue to follow you around even after you have completed your court-mandated punishment. To schedule a confidential consultation with one of our Erie, PA sexual assault lawyers, call our offices or fill out this online form, or use our online chat feature. For your convenience, we have three office locations located at 2525 W.26th St., Erie, PA 16506, 310 Chestnut St., Suite 111, Meadville, PA 16335 (in the Masonic Building) and 68 East Main Street, North East, PA 16428.
FAQ: What are some of the consequences of a conviction for sexual assault other than jail time, registration and monetary fines?
The conviction for sexual assault can have lasting consequences that can be difficult to anticipate. In some cases, you may be unable to see your children without supervision. You may be unable to purchase a firearm, find suitable housing, obtain employment, qualify for certain professional licenses, gain admission to college or other higher education facilities or even obtain a loan to buy a car.
FAQ: Can a victim of sexual assault file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator?
Yes, the victim of a sex crime has the right to file a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator, or other entities such as the employer if the person who actually committed the crime, for financial compensation. As in other types of civil lawsuits, victims can recover financial compensation for their pain and suffering, ongoing emotional damage, medical expenses generated by the sexual assault, and more. In these cases, the victim is not required to establish that the perpetrator committed the act via the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that applies in criminal cases, so the victim may be able to punish the perpetrator even if the prosecution had insufficient evidence to convict.