Every state in the nation has implemented legislation that requires individuals convicted of sex crimes to join a registry, commonly referred to as Megan's Law. Pennsylvania's version of Megan's Law was originally enacted in 1995. A few years later, the federal government enacted the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which upholds basic regulations for states to follow when applying sex offender registry laws. Through the enforcement of SORNA, registration requirements have been extended to multiple jurisdictions, and it has fortified the requirements for registration.
The Pennsylvania State Police - an agency that updates and maintains the registry - strives to safeguard the public, especially children, from being victimized by adult and juvenile sexual offenders. This is achieved by tracking the location of individuals previously convicted of sex crimes and informing the public of the presence of sexual offenders in their communities. Together, SORNA and Megan's Law work to severely limit the freedom of registered sex offenders in the state.
If you have been accused of committing a sexual offense in the state of Pennsylvania, it's important you know what you're up against. For the purposes of this article, we will address, (1) the requirements for registration, (2) and the repercussions of being listed on the statewide sex offender registry.
In Pennsylvania, offenses that require a person to register are categorized into three “tiers.” The tier that is assigned to an offense dictates how long an offender's name will be listed on the state registry. Here is a brief overview of the tier classifications in the state as of now:
Tier I Sexual Offenses - 15 Year Registration
The following offenses shall classify an individual as a Tier I offender:
- Unlawful restraint
- False imprisonment
- Luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure
- Indecent assault
- Coercion and enticement
- Invasion of privacy
- Video voyeurism etc.
Tier II Sexual Offenses - 25 Year Registration
The following offenses shall classify an individual as a Tier II offender:
- Unlawful contact with a minor
- Sexual exploitation of children
- Statutory sexual assault
- Indecent assault
- Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion
- Selling or buying of children
- The production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation etc.
Tier III Sexual Offenses - Lifetime Registration
The following offenses shall classify an individual as a Tier III offender:
- Indecent assault (if the victim is under 13)
- Aggravated indecent assault
- Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse etc.
A conviction generally means that your name, photograph, address and details about your conviction will be available online for anyone with internet access to see. Depending on the crime committed, you may also be barred from living in proximity of certain areas in your city, such as around a school, daycare center or park. A conviction may also affect your relationship with your family, friends and peers. Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services law defines child abuse as leaving a child unsupervised with an individual who is listed in the registry.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a sex offense that would require you to be placed on the sex offender registry, you need a strong defense. Skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento will assess all aspects of your case to help build a solid and effective defense, and to avoid your listing on these registries. Contact him today.