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Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Laws

Overview of Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Laws

Sexual assault is a crime in Pennsylvania and is defined as a person engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. The defendant may have committed statutory sexual assault if the victim was under 16 years of age, and the defendant is more than four years older than the victim, and they were not married to each other at the time of the offense.

Pennsylvania also has a separate charge titled "indecent assault." Indecent assault is similar to sexual assault in some ways. It involves indecent contact with the victim, including the victim's contact with the defendant's seminal fluid, urine, or feces for the purpose of arousing sexual desire in either the victim or defendant, and it is done without the victim's consent, forcibly or under threat of force, or performed under some severe incapacity of the victim (i.e. unconsciousness, mental incapacity, intoxication of the victim, youth of the victim).

Defenses to Sexual Assault Charges

  • Consent was given
  • Age
  • Intoxication
  • Insanity
  • Defendant was the victim's spouse at the time of the offense

Penalties and Sentences

Sexual assault is considered a second degree felony in Pennsylvania. This is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Discretionary fines may also be imposed by the court depending on the nature of the crime and its severity. In the event of insanity, the judge may recommend counseling or psychiatric treatment as necessary.

In the event that the crime is charged as an indecent assault, then the charge will be either a first or second degree misdemeanor depending on the specific nature of the offense. This can be punishable by up to five years in prison. However, if it is the defendant's second offense or there has been a repeated course of this type of conduct, or if the assault was committed by touching the victim's sexual parts with those of the defendant, then it can be a third degree felony. This is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Statute

Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Statute
Pennsylvania Indecent Assault Statute
18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Sections 3124.1 and 3126

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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