Indecent Assault Defense Lawyer | Philadelphia, PA
Our talented Philadelphia criminal lawyers and sex crime attorneys our able to provide a strong defense to Indecent Assault charges. Our lawyers regularly defend clients who are facing all types of sex offenses with great success. We recognize the defenses to these serious, stigmatizing charges and are able to mount a defense which may be able to help you avoid a conviction and registration on Megan's Law.
What is Indecent Assault?
There are a number of different types of Indecent Assault under the Indecent Assault statute. In general, indecent assault occurs when the defendant has "indecent contact" with the complainant, causes the complainant to have "indecent contact" with the defendant, or causes the complainant to come into contact with semen, urine, or feces for the purposes of arousing sexual desire in the defendant or the complainant. Indecent contact is defined as "any touching o the sexual or other intimate parts of the person for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire, in any person." The District Attorney will commonly charge Indecent Assault when there is an allegation that the defendant touched the complainant inappropriately.
Gradation of Indecent Assault
Depending on the circumstances, Indecent Assault could be a misdemeanor or a felony. A conviction for inappropriately touching another adult will typically be graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree, while a conviction for touching someone inappropriately could become a felony if the complainant is under 13 and it is a second or subsequent offense. Generally, however, most charges for Indecent Assault are either a second-degree misdemeanor or a first-degree misdemeanor.
Defenses to Indecent Assault Charges
If you are facing this extremely serious charge, you need to begin planning your defense immediately. Our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers have experience defending against Indecent Assault charges and other sex offenses. Depending on the allegations, there are a number of potential defenses to Indecent Assault.
Typically, Indecent Assault trials will come down to either the credibility of the complainant, consent, or whether the offensive touching was some sort of mistake. Our attorneys can immediately investigate your case and have our investigators look for other witnesses or surveillance footage which may show that the incident did not happen. Likewise, we will cross-examine the complainant in pre-trial hearings and at trial to show whether there are any inconsistencies in the statements made to police and testimony in court. Consent is also a defense to Indecent Assault. Finally, it may be possible to show that there was a misunderstanding or mistake. For example, if you accidentally bumped into someone at a crowded bar and the complainant thought it was intentional, it may be able to defend against these serious charges on that basis.
When you retain one of our criminal defense lawyers for an Indecent Assault case, our lawyers will thoroughly analyze the allegations at you, investigate whether there may be any exculpatory evidence, and help you determine the best options and defenses to these charges. In some cases, it may be best to go to trial and seek an acquittal. In others, we have been able to negotiate pleas to other non-sex offense charges which will not trigger mandatory sex offender registration under Megan's Law.
Sentencing for Indecent Assault
Even though Indecent Assault is a misdemeanor, it is still an extremely serious offense due to the fact that it is a sex offense and triggers mandatory Megan's Law registration. Because of the consequences of sex offender registration, even misdemeanor Indecent Assault is punished extremely severely. Although the actual sentence imposed by the Court could be a sentence of probation or relatively short period of jail time, recent amendments to Pennsylvania's sex offender registration laws (SORNA) now require defendants convicted of Indecent Assault to register under Megan's Law. Depending on the specific Indecent Assault charge, registration could range from 15-years to 25 years or lifetime registration. Therefore, while the actual sentence imposed could be probation or jail time, the subsequent registration as a sex offender could be even more serious than the actual sentence imposed by the Court. The most common type of Indecent Assault, which is simply touching someone inappropriately, typically leads to a 15-year Megan's Law registration requirement depending on the age of the complainant.
Our Sex Offense Lawyers Can Help
If you are facing Indecent Assault or any other charges for a sex offense, you need one of our experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers immediately. Given the serious consequences of a conviction for Indecent Assault, it is important that you move quickly. We offer a free 15 minute criminal defense strategy session to each potential client. Call 267-225-2545 to begin building your defense.
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The Indecent Assault Statute
18 Pa.C.S. § 3126. Indecent assault.
(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of indecent assault if the person has indecent contact with the complainant, causes the complainant to have indecent contact with the person or intentionally causes the complainant to come into contact with seminal fluid, urine or feces for the purpose of arousing sexual desire in the person or the complainant and:
(1) the person does so without the complainant's consent;
(2) the person does so by forcible compulsion;
(3) the person does so by threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution;
(4) the complainant is unconscious or the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the indecent contact is occurring;
(5) the person has substantially impaired the complainant's power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance;
(6) the complainant suffers from a mental disability which renders the complainant incapable of consent;
(7) the complainant is less than 13 years of age; or
(8) the complainant is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other.
(b) Grading.--Indecent assault shall be graded as follows:
(1) An offense under subsection (a)(1) or (8) is a misdemeanor of the second degree.
(2) An offense under subsection (a)(2), (3), (4), (5) or (6) is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(3) An offense under subsection (a)(7) is a misdemeanor of the first degree unless any of the following apply, in which case it is a felony of the third degree:
(i) It is a second or subsequent offense.
(ii) There has been a course of conduct of indecent assault by the person.
(iii) The indecent assault was committed by touching the complainant's sexual or intimate parts with sexual or intimate parts of the person.
(iv) The indecent assault is committed by touching the person's sexual or intimate parts with the complainant's sexual or intimate parts.