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.

Sentencing and Penalties For First Degree Murder

Criminal homicides in Pennsylvania involve the unlawful deaths of people and are divided into three murder offenses and two manslaughter crimes. Murder charges are found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2502 and include first-, second-, and third-degree murder. First-degree murder is the most serious murder offense. If you are facing first-degree murder charges or your loved one has been charged with this offense, talk to DiCindio Law for help in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Proving first-degree murder

To be charged and convicted of a murder offense, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you acted with actual malice. Malice is proven by showing that you intended to commit the victim’s killing or that you intended to cause harm. First-degree murder requires an intentional killing, meaning that you intended to kill the victim. First-degree murder charges require the prosecutor to show that you acted with express malice.

The prosecutor must prove that you had a specific intent to cause the victim’s death. Your specific intent to murder may be shown by the state by evaluating your actions, the circumstances, and whether you used a deadly weapon.

First-degree murder vs. other homicide offenses

First-degree murder is an intentional killing that involves planning, premeditation, and deliberate acts. Second-degree murder is charged when a killing happens while the defendant is committing a different felony as a principal or an accomplice. Third-degree murder offenses include all other types of murder and involve malice.

Voluntary manslaughter is a heat of passion killing following provocation by the victim or by a third party or when a person has an unreasonable and mistaken belief that the killing is justified. Finally, involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional homicide that results from grossly negligent or reckless conduct regarding the life of the victim.

Penalties for first-degree murder in Pennsylvania

First-degree murder is the most serious murder crime in Pennsylvania. This means that it may be punished by the most severe possible punishments under the law. Prosecutors have the burden of proving the elements of first-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt before the defendants can be convicted of this offense. To do this, the prosecutors must prove that the defendant committed an unlawful, intentional, and premeditated killing of another person.

First-degree murder is set apart from other homicide and murder offenses by the planning, deliberate acts, and premeditation by the defendant. If the killing was spontaneous or occurred after provocation during a heat of passion, it will likely be charged as a different homicide offense in Pennsylvania.

Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1102, a person who is convicted of first-degree murder in Pennsylvania may face either life imprisonment or a death sentence. However, if the person is convicted for the first-degree murder of an unborn child, he or she will not face the death penalty but will face life in prison.

Defenses to first-degree murder charges in Pennsylvania

First-degree murder cases are complex and carry extremely high stakes. Your attorney will carefully review and analyze all of the evidence that is being held in your case to identify the best defense strategies to follow. Some of the potential defenses that might be raised include the following:

  • You did not have the required mental capacity to have a specific intent to kill;
  • You were voluntarily intoxicated at the time of the offense;
  • You were insane at the time of the offense and could not distinguish between right and wrong;
  • You were acting in self-defense;
  • You had battered women’s syndrome, which caused you to kill your spouse or partner;
  • The killing was accidental and you did not have criminal intent and were engaging in a lawful activity;
  • You were misidentified as the killer;
  • You have an alibi for the time and date of the killing; or
  • You committed the killing while you were under duress.

Imposing the death penalty

If you are convicted of first-degree murder, your case will enter into the sentencing phase. During this phase, the prosecutor and the defense attorney will present arguments about the punishment that you should face. The prosecutor may present evidence of aggravating factors that support a death sentence. The defense attorney may present evidence of mitigating factors to argue against the death penalty.

Talk to DiCindio Law

Facing murder charges can be devastating and could potentially lead to a life behind bars or a death sentence. Getting help from an experienced attorney is crucial for these types of charges. Contact DiCindio Law to learn about your case at 610-430-3535.

Get The Facts About Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSI)

A charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse or IDSI is a serious felony offense. If you are facing this type of charge, you are likely feeling scared about your future. It is important for you to understand this offense and to get help from an experienced Pennsylvania sex crimes attorney. A lawyer at DiCindio Law can review the evidence in your case to determine the best defense strategies to raise in your case. Here is what you need to know about involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charges in Pennsylvania.

What is involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in Pennsylvania?

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse is an extremely serious offense. It is codified at Pa. Stat. Ann. § 3123. Under this statute, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse is a felony of the first degree offense. It can be committed when a defendant engages in deviate sexual intercourse in one of the following ways:

  • Using force to compel sexual intercourse
  • Threatening forcible compulsion
  • When the person is unconscious or unaware that sexual intercourse is happening
  • When the defendant administers intoxicants or substances without the knowledge of the alleged victim so that he or she is unable to consent or resist
  • When the alleged victim has a mental disability that prevents him or her from consenting
  • When the alleged victim is younger than 16 and the defendant is more than four years older, and they are not married

This is a very serious offense. However, being charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse is not a conviction. The prosecutor will have the burden of proof to prove the elements of this offense beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted of IDSI and sentenced. When facing this type of charge, you will need to find an aggressive and experienced sex crimes attorney who will fight to protect your freedom and rights. Attorney Michael DiCindio has experience working as a prosecutor and as a criminal defense lawyer. He has handled criminal matters of all levels, including serious sex crimes. He is dedicated to defending his clients against serious felony offenses, including charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse vs. rape

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse has some similarities to rape but includes more types of sexual acts. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse can include the following types of acts:

  • Penetration with objects
  • Anal sex
  • Oral sex
  • Sex acts with animals
  • Sexual intercourse with one of the previously described victims or circumstances

What are the penalties for a conviction of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse?

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse is a felony of the first degree in Pennsylvania. If you are convicted of this offense, you will face very stiff penalties. This offense carries the potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. You will also face fines of up to $25,000 and be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of your life.

If you are required to register as a sex offender, you will have to comply with the registration and notification mandates and reveal information about yourself and where you live. Being on the sex offender registry can cause ongoing collateral consequences such as trouble finding a job and somewhere to live. The Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act or SORNA requires sex offenders to register in every jurisdiction in which they live, go to school, and work.
If you fail to comply with the registration requirements, it is a felony offense that can result in time in prison and substantial fines.

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child

If you are facing charges of IDSI with a child, you will face even more severe penalties upon a conviction. This offense is also a felony of the first degree that is punishable by up to decades in prison. One important thing to note is that it is not a defense to an IDSI with a child charge that you did not know the child was under the age of 13 or that he or she consented to the act.

Defending against involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charges

You should not take a charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse lightly because of the high stakes involved. You should seek a highly skilled criminal defense and sex crimes attorney. A lawyer at DiCindio Law can thoroughly investigate what occurred and evaluate the credibility of the alleged victim’s claim. Your attorney may also work closely with experts to analyze and challenge forensic evidence.

Simply facing a charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse does not mean that you will be found guilty or that you are guilty. You need to talk to an experienced sex offense lawyer to gain a clear understanding of your rights and the defenses that might be available to you.

If you have been arrested for an IDSI offense, contact DiCindio Law to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Attorney Michael DiCindio will evaluate your case and work to identify every defense that might be raised to fight the charges against you. You need to retain a skilled and dedicated attorney who is willing to fight for your rights when you are facing IDSI charges. Call DiCindio Law today to schedule your consultation at 610-430-3535.

When Someone is Charged with Possession of Child Pornography

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West Chester Child Pornography Attorney

A large amount of law enforcement resources and efforts are spent on investigating and prosecuting those who make, possess or view child pornography.  Child pornography cases are intensely involved criminal matters where not only are the criminal penalties severe but the damage to personal reputation and career are potentially irreversible – even when one is charged unjustly.  Beyond the severe criminal punishment lies the potential of long-term or life registration as a sex offender.  Further, in many cases there is a potential that the federal government will adopt the case and prosecute it in Federal Court – leading to potentially even more serious punishment.

When someone is charged with a child pornography crime there are many investigative avenues that need to be explored.  Most of the time these charges involve computers / the internet – meaning an expert in computer forensics may provide a potential defense.  Mental health and the potential of reoffending is also a concern in many of these cases meaning that mental health professionals may be employed to help mitigate cases / sentences.  It is also important to understand that the age of the children depicted in the child pornography will potentially enhance the punishment one is facing which may become an issue that will be litigated.

Child pornography cases are involved and emotional.  Despite the fear one may feel after being charged it is crucial to hire an attorney experienced in these matters and one who is able to evaluate all potential options to provide the best defense strategy before moving forward.


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes to the law that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments or the most complete legal issues for all cases 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 and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester

Merger of Criminal Offenses

Many times individuals enter a lawyer’s office wondering why they have been charged with numerous counts of the same or similar offense. While it is not always the case, it is important to know what crimes will or may “merge” for sentencing purposes after trial and conviction.  The legal explanation of merger of criminal offenses is detailed below, but the simple way to describe it is that when one crime merges with another, the defendant will only be sentenced on one – showing the obvious necessity of understanding this concept in practice.

To determine whether crimes merge for sentencing purposes, Merger of criminal offenses is governed by 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9765, titled, “Merger of Sentences”, which provides as follows:

No crime shall merge for sentencing purposes unless the crimes arise from a single criminal act and all of the statutory elements of one offense are included in the statutory elements of the other offense.  Where crimes merge for sentencing purposes, the court may sentence the defendant only on the higher graded offense. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9765.

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West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

Each case, crime, and factual scenario must be addressed.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has explained the basis for isolating the particular portion of a statute at issue when determining whether two crimes merge.  The Baldwin Court stated:

“Therefore, while Section 9765 indeed focuses on an examination of “statutory elements,” we cannot ignore the simple legislative reality that individual criminal statutes often overlap, and proscribe in the alternative several different categories of conduct under a single banner. See, e.g., Aggravated Assault, 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702 (defining seven distinct violations of law); Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, 18 Pa.C.S. § 3123 (setting forth eight separate violations). Consequently, in such cases, we caution that trial courts must take care to determine which particular “offenses,” i.e. violations of law, are at issue in a particular case. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Johnson, 874 A.2d 66, 71 n. 2 (Pa.Super.2005) (recognizing that a particular subsection of a criminal statute may merge with another crime as a lesser-included offense even though a different subsection of that same statute may not).  Com. v. Baldwin, 985 A.2d 830, 836 n.6 (Pa. 2009).”

In a criminal case, it is important to have an attorney who understands these concepts and knows when to raise these issues and how to effectively and persuasively argue this to a Court if it is a situation where the Commonwealth does not agree.  If you or a loved one has been accused, charged or convicted of a crime and are in need of legal help contact Mike DiCindio directly.

 


 

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

“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:

 

Rape

IDSI

Kidnapping

Sexual Assault

Incest

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