What Happens When You Register As A Sex Offender?

In Pennsylvania, people who are convicted of certain types of sex offenses are required to register as sex offenders. The state’s registration laws divides sex offenders into three categories based on the risk of re-offending as determined by a sex offender evaluation that people must undergo after they have been convicted of a qualifying sex offense. Depending on the offense of conviction, people may have to register as sex offenders from 15 years for tier I, 25 years for tier II, or life for tier III. People who are required to register as sex offenders but who fail to follow the registration laws exactly may face severe consequences, including convictions of new criminal offenses. If you are a registered sex offender and have been charged with a sex offender registration crime in Pennsylvania, you should seek help from DiCindio Law in West Chester.

Registered sex offenders

Registered sex offenders include people who have been convicted of sex offenses under state laws or federal laws. This includes people who were convicted of sex offenses in states other than Pennsylvania who have subsequently relocated to the state. In most cases, sex offenders must provide their names, addresses, and other personal information to authorities to be added to government databases that are called sex offender registries. They must also promptly update their information whenever they relocate or remain in different areas beyond a specified length of time such as for work. Sex offenders may also have additional reporting requirements with which they must comply that will depend on their assessed levels of risk. Many different types of criminal offenses require convicted people to register.

Criminal offenses that can lead to sex offender registration in Pennsylvania

People who are convicted of sex crimes in Pennsylvania are required to register as sex offenders. Many different offenses under both state and federal law will require people who are convicted of them to register as sex offenders. Some serious offenses that will require registration include the following:

  • Indecent exposure
  • Child pornography
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Statutory rape
  • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
  • Aggravated indecent assault
  • Sexual exploitation of a child
  • Promoting prostitution of a minor
  • Enticement or coercion

In Pennsylvania, you may be charged with indecent exposure for urinating in public in some cases, which might result in your being required to register as a sex offender. In addition to Pennsylvania’s laws, convictions of certain offenses under federal law can also result in sex offender registration. You may still be required to comply with the sex offender registration requirements long after you have completed your probationary or jail sentence.

Loss of rights

Many sex crimes in Pennsylvania are felonies. This means that if you are convicted of one of these offenses, you may end up having a felony conviction on your record. Convicted felons of violent offenses may not own or possess firearms. Having a conviction of this nature on your record may also prevent you from borrowing student loans to attend college. When you are registered as a sex offender, you may face other restrictions that are related to the crime. You might be restricted from being near anyone who is younger than age 18 and to the victim of the offense. You may also be restricted from working in certain types of jobs. If your offense involved a minor, the court might order that you do not have contact with anyone younger than 18, including your minor children.

Why sex offenders are required to register their names and addresses

States like Pennsylvania have sex offender registries to provide notice to other people in the community of the names and addresses of registered sex offenders who live in their neighborhoods or who work with them. Sex offender registries are intended to protect the public.

The public can access the information on the state’s sex offender registry. The information will include the following types of information:

  • All names used
  • Birth year
  • Street address of where the offender lives
  • Street address where an offender attends school
  • Locations that a transient sex offender regularly sleeps
  • Street address of the offender’s workplace
  • Picture of the offender
  • Physical description of the offender
  • Identifying marks
  • License plate number and type of vehicle the offender drives
  • The offense of conviction and a description of it
  • Information about whether the offense involved a minor
  • The conviction date
  • Laws that apply to registered sex offenders

What Laws Govern Registered Sex Offenders?

Every state has sex offender registration laws, including Pennsylvania. Several federal laws apply to registered sex offenders. The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2007 required sex offenders to register their addresses with law enforcement.

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act or SORNA makes failing to register as a sex offender or to update the registration a crime. If you have been convicted under Pennsylvania’s sex offender registration laws, you can also be prosecuted under federal laws if you fail to register when you travel to other states or countries. Violating SORNA can result in up to 10 years of incarceration and fines.

Megan’s Law is the name that has been given to state sex offender registration laws, including Pennsylvania’s law. The requirements of Megan’s Law may vary from state to state. You can read more about Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania here.

Contact DiCindio Law for help

If you are facing charges of committing a sex crime or have been accused of failing to register as a sex offender or of updating your registration, you should get experienced legal help from DiCindio Law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling us at 610-430-3535 or by filling out our contact form.

What Is Unlawful Contact with a Minor?

Technological advances over the past couple of decades have allowed federal and Pennsylvania authorities to expand the techniques that they can use to catch people who participate in sex crimes on the internet involving children. As these sting operations are depicted on television shows such as “To Catch a Predator,” it is clear to see that the police investigate potential offenses such as unlawful contact with a minor. If you are charged and convicted of this offense, you will face harsh penalties whether you were ensnared by a police sting operation or were caught by a parent. This conviction can expose you to incarceration, fines, sex offender registration requirements, and public stigma. You may lose your coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends and could also lose your job and your marriage. If you have been charged with unlawful contact with a minor in West Chester, contact DiCindio Law to schedule a free consultation so you can learn more about your rights.

What is unlawful contact with a minor in Pennsylvania?

Unlawful contact with a minor is defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6318. Under this statute, unlawful contact with a minor occurs when a person who intentionally contacts a minor or a purported minor who is an undercover police officer to try to engage in the following types of sexual acts:

  • Any sex offense found in Chapter 31 of title 18
  • Prostitution
  • Open lewdness
  • Sexual exploitation of children
  • Sexual abuse of children
  • Sexual or obscene materials and performances

You can be charged with sexual contact with a minor even if you never meet the minor or purported minor in person. For example, if you ask for the minor to send an explicit picture and suggest that you meet to engage in a specific sexual act, you can be charged even if you do not meet. It also does not matter if the person with whom you are communicating is a police officer instead of a minor.

Online solicitation of minors

Online solicitation of minors occurs when adults communicate with minors online in chat rooms, by text messages, or by email for the purpose of meeting them for sex. Police agencies conduct sting operations to try to catch adults who attempt to entice teens online for sex. In these types of operations, an undercover police officer will pose as a minor online and try to engage adults in conversation. The conversations may quickly become suggestive and lead to charges.

Penalties for a conviction of unlawful contact with a minor

In many cases, people are charged with unlawful contact with a minor in addition to the applicable underlying offenses. People who are arrested for this charge are also commonly arrested for other crimes like statutory sexual assault, indecent assault, or other offenses. This crime is charged in the same degree and classification as the most serious offense for which you are accused of contacting a minor. For example, if you are accused of contacting a minor for the purposes of engaging in involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, you could be charged with attempted IDSI even if you did not meet the purported minor. A conviction for this crime is also considered to be a sex offense, which means that you will be required to register as a sex offender.

Other consequences for a conviction of unlawful contact with a minor

Unlawful contact with a minor is a felony offense. If you did follow through and had sexual contact with a minor, you can also be charged with additional crimes. If you are convicted of this offense, you might have to register as a sex offender and to live somewhere that is not close to schools. This type of offense carries a substantial public stigma, making it difficult for you at your job and with your friends, coworkers, employer, and spouse when they learn about your charges.

If you are convicted of this offense, you may suffer ongoing collateral consequences past the completion of your sentence. You might struggle to find a job or to find a home to live in. You might also lose any professional license that you have or be unable to obtain one that you want. Your applications to colleges and universities may also be turned down. If you have been charged with unlawful contact with a minor, it is important for you to work with an experienced sex crimes lawyer so you can mount a vigorous defense.

What to do if you have been charged

If you are facing charges of unlawful contact with a minor, you should get help from an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer. An experienced West Chester sex offense lawyer can review the evidence in your case and provide you with an explanation of your options. Contact DiCindio Law to schedule a free and confidential consultation by calling 610-430-3535.

“SORNA” Act (Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act)

Many sexually related offenses fall under the “SORNA” Act (Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act). SORNA states which offenses create a requirement for a convicted individual to register as a sex offender.  SORNA also provides the length of registration that is required depending on the charge.

Because of the intricacy of the Act as well as the severity of the consequences, there is much litigation in the appellate courts relating to different parts of the Act.  Whenever possible, an experienced criminal defense attorney will make every possible legal effort in order to secure an outcome that does not include registration as a sex offender.   The Act also determines the length of the registration requirements, of which there are three – Annual Registration for 15 years, Semiannual Registration for 25 years; Quarterly for life.

Some of the offenses that fall under the SORNA Act are:





Sexual Assault


Aggravated Indecent Assault

Indecent Assault

Sexual Abuse of Children

Unlawful Contact

Obscene Materials

Statutory Sexual Assault

False Imprisonment

Unlawful Restraint

(Note: this does not include all offenses covered and not every subsection of each above listed offense implicated the SORNA Act)


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale