Any time a person is charged with a crime, it should be taken very seriously by everyone involved. After all, prosecutors, alleged victims and members of the public will typically be quite forceful when it comes to seeking a conviction and penalties; without a similarly aggressive defense, a person facing charges can be at a significant disadvantage.
This can be especially true when someone is facing sex crime charges. The efforts to convict people accused of sex-related crimes are typically extensive, considering the nature of the alleged crime. Additionally, the penalties of a conviction are among the most serious and permanently damaging. For instance, convicted sex offenders may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.
The sex offender registry was initially set up to protect members of the public from people who may be considered a risk to the safety of others, even after serving a criminal sentence. It largely included repeat or violent offenders, which was easy to justify.
Since then, however, it has grown to include people who are at extremely low risk of re-offending and may have been convicted for offenses many people would not consider dangerous. For instance, consider two teenagers in a relationship together. If one just turned 18 and the other is almost 16 and they engage in consensual sex, the older person could be convicted of statutory rape and required to register as a sex offender.
In accordance with Pennsylvania law and Megan’s Law, anyone required to register must provide authorities with information about their residence, employment, physical appearance, contact information and details of their offense. This information is added to the database, which is publicly available.
Considering how easy it is to search these records and find information on the people on this list, it should not be surprising that being a registered sex offender can be ruinous to a person’s employment opportunities, relationships and community reputation.
With all this in mind, it should be clear that significant efforts should be made to defend yourself and avoid being required to register as a sex offender in the first place. With the help of an attorney, any person facing sex charges can work to have the charges reduced or dismissed.