Indecent assault charges in West Chester, PA, can have lifelong consequences. In addition to possible imprisonment, you might be placed on a sex offender list, which can create various difficulties in terms of employment, housing, and social life. You’ll need a strong criminal defense attorney in your corner to protect your rights and offer your best defense.
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How DiCindio Law, LLC, Can Help If You’re Arrested for Indecent Assault in West Chester
When you’re accused of indecent assault in West Chester, PA, you need a trusted criminal defense lawyer on your side. Our lead attorney, Michael DiCindio, has over a decade of experience practicing law and is a former Chester County prosecutor. He and the rest of our legal team understand how the other side tries its cases, giving us a distinct advantage in offering your defense.
Here’s what our West Chester sex crimes attorney can do for you:
- We’ll conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence that can help your case. This includes interviewing witnesses, examining forensic evidence, and scrutinizing police reports to find any inconsistencies or irregularities.
- We’ll review the accuser’s history to see if there are any motives for false accusations.
- If the evidence against you is overwhelming, we’ll explore the possibility of reaching a plea deal that avoids the harshest consequences, like sex offender registration.
- If a plea deal isn’t possible or desirable, we’ll devise a sound legal defense based on the evidence we gather. We’ll examine all aspects of the prosecution’s case, including the validity of any search and seizure, the chain of custody for forensic evidence, and the reliability of witness testimony.
- If the trial doesn’t go in your favor, we’ll continue fighting on your behalf by exploring the option of appeals.
For help with an indecent assault charge in West Chester, PA, contact DiCindio Law to schedule a free consultation.
Overview of Indecent Assault in Pennsylvania
There are many different crimes in Pennsylvania that fault under the broader category of sexual assault. One of these crimes is indecent assault.
Sexual battery is a term that describes any unwanted sexual contact with another person. This can include touching, groping, or kissing without consent. Some states define this crime specifically. In Pennsylvania, sexual battery falls under the legal definition of indecent assault.
Indecent assault occurs when the defendant does not have consent, uses forcible compulsion or threat of it, the victim is unconscious, drugs or other means are used, or the victim suffers from a mental disability.
Indecent assault is a misdemeanor of the second degree if there is indecent contact with the victim without their consent, the victim is under 16, is at least four years younger than the offender, and they are not married to each other.
In this case, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $5,000.
It is a misdemeanor of the first degree if the offender has indecent contact with the victim through forcible compulsion or threat of forcible compulsion, if they are unconscious or unaware that it is occurring, or if they have been substantially impaired or rendered incapable of consenting.
Penalties include up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $10,000.
A felony of the third degree applies if the victim is under 13 and it is a second/subsequent offense, as part of a course of conduct, or touching sexual parts with sexual parts. Penalties include a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
Aggravated Indecent Assault
Aggravated indecent assault can be charged if there is forced penetration of another’s genitals or anus. This is a second-degree felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
The offense may be elevated to a first-degree felony if the victim is younger than thirteen, which carries a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $25,000.
For all of the above charges, you may also be required to register as a sex offender if convicted.
What Defenses Can Be Raised If I’m Accused of Indecent Assault in West Chester?
When it comes to sex crimes, the consequences can be severe, and the stigma attached to such allegations can be life-altering. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand your legal defenses that can help prove your innocence.
If you can provide evidence that you were somewhere other than the crime scene when the alleged crime took place, you may be able to build a strong defense. This evidence could include eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, credit card receipts, or any other document that can establish your whereabouts.
Guilty but mentally ill
In this defense, the defendant claims that they did not understand the nature of their action or that it was wrong due to mental illness. However, the bar for this defense is high, and it’s not enough to just show that you have a mental illness.
You must prove that you lacked the capacity to understand the nature of your actions or that they were wrong due to your mental illness.
Defendant misidentified/falsely accused
In some cases, the defendant can prove that they were misidentified or falsely accused, which can lead to an acquittal. This defense requires providing evidence that proves that someone else committed the crime or that the accuser has ulterior motives or a history of fabricating stories.
In addition, the prosecution must prove every legal element of your charges “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to convict. This is the highest burden of proof standard in the law and gives an experienced West Chester criminal defense attorney substantial room to fight back.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With Our West Chester Indecent Assault Attorney
If you are facing sex crime accusations, it’s important to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and devise the most effective legal strategy. Contact DiCindio Law today to speak with our West Chester indecent assault attorney about your case.