What is Megan's Law?
Megan's Law is a federal law requiring states to maintain a sex offender registry. It also requires states to notify the community of the presence of a sex offender, where appropriate.
Every state has its own set of laws enacting Megan's Law. The federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) sets out national standards for the registration, monitoring, and notification of sex offenders.
Under Megan's Law, convicted sex offenders in Philadelphia must provide their information to law enforcement authorities in the area where they live, work, or attend school. The authorities can share this information with specific organizations or the wider community, depending on the circumstances.
The purpose of Megan's Law is to protect the public, especially children. It was introduced in 1996 following the rape and murder of a seven-year-old New Jersey girl, Megan Kanka, in New Jersey by a twice-convicted sex offender living near her family home.
What crimes are associated with Megan's Law in Pennsylvania?
Megan's Law applies to certain sex crimes including:
- Indecent exposure
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sex trafficking
- Child pornography
If the allegations involve sexual conduct with an underage victim or the use of force, Meghan's Law usually applies.
What are the repercussions of a Philadelphia conviction associated with Megan's Law?
If you plead guilty to or are convicted of a sex crime subject to Megan's Law in Philadelphia, you face a range of penalties including fines, probation, and lengthy periods of incarceration.
In addition to these penalties, you could also be required to provide your personal details to local law enforcement authorities. The authorities will add a description of the offense to the sex offender registry, as well as your:
- Date of birth
- Residential address
- Employment address
- Physical description
- Vehicle details
After receiving this information, the local prosecution office assesses and classifies your level of risk of reoffending. Your risk level determines how widely your information is shared.
For example, if you're assessed as low-risk, then your details may only be provided to the local police. The information of high-risk offenders can be made public, usually via a website.
Your risk level also determines how long you remain on the registry. Low-risk offenders can remain for a fixed period, starting at ten years. High-risk offenders may be permanently added to the registry.
If you fail to register or regularly update your details with local law enforcement authorities, you can be charged with further offenses.
Why do you need a sex crimes defense attorney?
If you've been charged with a sex crime in Pennsylvania, you should immediately speak to a criminal defense attorney at D'Intino Law Firm, LLC who has experience handling allegations of this nature. These kinds of convictions carry serious repercussions, some extending beyond the term of the sentence itself.
In particular, you may be at risk of becoming a registered sex offender under Megan's Law. This can have serious, long-term consequences on your ability to find work, where you choose to live, and your social well-being.
A criminal defense attorney can explain your rights and options available to you. They can also help you prepare an effective defense against the charges to avoid becoming a registered sex offender. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney at D'Intino Law Firm, LLC, fill out an online contact form or call us today at 267-491-9111.