Sexual Assault

The crime of sexual assault is a serious charge in Philadelphia that comes with a lifetime of incidental consequences like social stigma, in addition to the presumptive penalties assigned at conviction. While it is possible, as is the risk for all sex crimes, to have false allegations for sexual assault, both the prosecution and the courts have a tendency to favor the alleged victim and do whatever it takes to punish the alleged sexual offender for the crime charged.

This “pro-prosecution” mentality makes it all the more important for you, the defendant, to ensure your rights are thoroughly protected. A qualified Philadelphia sex crime defense lawyer can enforce such rights protection while fighting to achieve a favorable outcome in your case.

Philadelphia Sexual Assault Defense Attorney

Sexual assault, statutory sexual assault and institutional sexual assault are all serious crimes in Pennsylvania that come with hefty penalties. If you have been arrested for sexual assault or a related offense in Philadelphia, Lento Law Firm will work to protect your rights and fight for a favorable outcome in the potentially uphill battle that is your Philadelphia sexual assault case.

Attorney Joseph Lento knows what kind of effect a Philadelphia sexual assault conviction will have on your future, as well as what it takes to defend that future and your rights against a sexual assault charge. He will determine what defense has the best chance of achieving your desired outcome and follow through with it. To find out what Lento Law Firm can do for your Philadelphia sexual assault case, call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free initial case consultation.

Information About Sexual Assault Charges in Philadelphia

Definition of Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania and Penalties

Sexual assault in Pennsylvania is defined in 18 Pa. Cons. Stat § 3124.1 as when a person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant without the complainant's consent. A complainant is the alleged victim of a sex crime. Sexual intercourse is defined by 18 Pa. Cons. Stat § 3101 as the traditional meaning of sex, along with oral sex and anal sex. There must be some penetration, no matter how slight, and emission is not required.

The same statute defines deviate sexual intercourse as oral sex or anal sex between human beings, including penetration of the genitals or anus with a foreign object by another person, no matter how slight, for any purpose other than medical, hygienic, or law enforcement procedures. Sexual assault does not include rape as defined in 18 Pa. Cons. Stat § 3121, or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse as defined in 18 Pa. Cons. Stat § 3123.

Per 18 Pa. Cons. Stat § 3107, resistance of the victim is not required for sexual assault to be charged, provided that evidence of the alleged sex crime victim's actual consent is permitted. Under Pennsylvania law, sexual assault is a second-degree felony, for which a conviction can lead to up to 10 years in prison and/or up to a $25,000 fine. Additionally, there are the social stigma, restrictions on sex offenders, and the loss of civil rights such as the right to vote to consider. An experienced Philadelphia sex crime defense lawyer can fight to protect your rights and your future from such a conviction.

Statutory and Institutional Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania and Penalties

In addition to general sexual assault, there are two specific categories of sexual assault under Pennsylvania law that are defined as separate offenses: statutory sexual assault and institutional sexual assault. Defined by 18 Pa. Cons. Stat § 3122.1, statutory sexual assault is when a person engages in sexual intercourse that does not qualify as rape with a victim who is under 16.The exception to this law is if the defendant is married to the alleged complainant.

Statutory sexual assault is a second-degree felony in Philadelphia, punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, when the defendant is four to 11 years older than the alleged victim. If the defendant exceeds the victim in age by 11 years or more, sexual assault is a first-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Institutional sexual assault is defined by 18 Pa. Cons. Stat § 3124.2 as when certain employees of specific institutions engage in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse or indecent contact with the wards of those institutions. Employees who may be charged with institutional sexual assault include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Department of Corrections officer or other employee
  • Youth development center employee
  • Youth forestry camp employee
  • Juvenile detention officer or other employee
  • Employee of licensed residential facility serving children and youth
  • Mental health/retardation facility or institution employee
  • Teacher, teacher aide or substitute teacher
  • Principal, assistant principal or vice principal
  • School counselor, librarian, nurse or secretary
  • School cafeteria worker or bus driver
  • Other school district employees
  • Child day-care center employee
  • Group and family day-care home employee
  • Employee of boarding home for children

These and other specific institutional employees only commit institutional sexual assault when the sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, or indecent contact occurs with a ward of that particular institution. For instance, institutional sexual assault by a teacher would be on a student, or institutional sexual assault by a Department of Corrections officer would be on an inmate. Institutional sexual assault in Philadelphia is a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or up to a $15,000 fine.

Remember, a conviction for any type of sexual assault also comes with the restrictions of being designated a sex offender, civil penalties like the loss of the right to bear arms, and a strong social stigma. All of these additional sanctions will have even more impact on your future in addition to the presumptive sentences for each individual sexual assault charge. An experienced sex crime attorney in Philadelphia can work with you to find and implement the best defense strategies for your Philadelphia sexual assault case.

Finding the Best Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia

If you have been arrested for and charged with sexual assault or another sex crime in Philadelphia, contact Lento Law Firm and begin your defense today. Joseph Lento is an experienced legal professional and Philadelphia criminal defense attorney who understands how a criminal charge like sexual assault advances through the Pennsylvania legal process.

He will build a solid, customized and comprehensive defense based on this knowledge and fight for a favorable outcome in your sexual assault case. Your first consultation is free, so call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule yours.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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