What Are Corruption of a Minor Charges in Pennsylvania?
There are multiple situations in which a person, typically an adult, may be charged with the corruption of a minor. This charge is often included with more severe crimes. In these cases, you will need one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Pittsburgh to protect your rights and help you get charges reduced or dismissed.
What Is Corruption of a Minor?
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (PCS) 6301, the corruption of a minor may be charged against anyone 18 or older who corrupts the morals of a minor under 18. It also applies to an adult who aids, abets, entices, or encourages a minor to commit a crime, violates parole, disregards a court order, or commits truancy — this is a first-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania.
It can also involve certain sexual acts with a minor — this is a third-degree felony.
Since so many different actions can result in the corruption of minor charges, prosecutors often impose additional charges for other offenses simultaneously.
Types of Corruption of Minor Charges
Multiple different actions may be considered the corruption of a minor. In general, if an adult does any of the following, they may be convicted of the crime:
- Convincing a Minor to Commit a Crime
- Convincing a Minor to Violate Parole
- Convincing a Minor to Violate a Court Order
- Convincing a Minor to Commit a Sexual Act
- Encouraging a Minor to Engage in Truancy
In addition to this charge, the adult will likely be charged with more severe related offenses.
What Are the Elements of a Corruption of a Minor Offense?
No matter what type of corruption of a minor charges are assessed, the prosecution must prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecution must prove the following:
- The defendant tried to corrupt the morals of a minor; AND
- The defendant abetted, aided, encouraged, or enticed the minor to commit a crime; OR
- The defendant encouraged the minor to violate parole or a court order; OR
- The defendant encouraged the minor to commit truancy; OR
- The defendant encouraged or enticed the minor to commit a sexual offense.
The minor does not have to be convicted of a crime, violation of probation, truancy, or a sexual offense for the defendant to be convicted.
What Are the Penalties in PA for a Corruption of a Minor Offense?
Penalties for corruption of a minor charges depend on the severity of the offense.
If you are involved in convincing a minor to commit truancy, then you may face a maximum of 90 days in jail.
If you are convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, you will face up to five years in prison and a fine of between $1,500 and $10,000.
Suppose your crime involves sexual acts, and you are convicted of a third-degree felony. In that case, you may face seven years in prison and between $5,000 and $25,000 in fines.
Additionally, if the conviction involves a sexual offense, you will face a 15-year sexual offender registration requirement pursuant to the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Common Defenses for Corruption of a Minor in Pennsylvania
Defenses for corruption of a minor charges are similar to those for any other crime. Your Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney can target the elements of the crime and try to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Mistake of Age
Mistake of the age of the minor is only a defense in limited circumstances. If the minor is over the age of 16 but less than 18, then you must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you believed the minor was 18 or older.
Not Actually a Minor
The prosecution must prove the person who was “morally corrupted” was a minor. They must have evidence of the age of the individual as well. If the individual does not cooperate, this can be difficult for the prosecutor to obtain.
No Criminal Act
If the minor did not commit a criminal act, then it will be difficult for the prosecutor to prove you encouraged, aided, or enticed them to commit the act. Although a conviction of the minor is not required, it can help their case. A lack of conviction can help yours.
No Violation of Probation or Court Order
If the minor did not violate their probation or court order, the prosecution would have an uphill battle proving you attempted to corrupt them.
No Sexual Act
If the minor was not involved in a sexual act, then you can use that as a defense against corruption of a minor involving sexual acts. This will help you avoid the harshest penalties and registration as a sexual offender.
Schools keep detailed records of truancy, and minors can get into serious trouble for these acts. If the minor has not received any notices for truancy, then the prosecution will not likely be able to convict you of the related crime.
Violation of Your Rights
Suppose the police or investigators violated your rights by failing to read your Miranda rights, conducting an illegal search and seizure, or any other method. In that case, you can get evidence suppressed and statements thrown out. This can help you get your case dismissed or charges reduced.
A Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help with Your Charges
If you’re charged with corruption of a minor charges in Pennsylvania, you should immediately reach out to a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer. You will likely be charged with additional crimes as well. Getting ahead of the prosecution and protecting your rights is vital.
Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 281-2146, or reach out online to schedule a case consultation.