What Is Megan’s Law?
Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law is the State Police’s obligation to create and maintain a sex offender registry. Such registry must include persons convicted of Certain Sexual Offenses in Pennsylvania or another jurisdiction.
Anyone who has entered a plea of guilt or has been found guilty of sexual offenses must also appear in this registry. The law applies to anyone who resides, visits, works, carries a vocation, or attends school in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly determined that publicizing information about registered sexual offenders is necessary for public safety. Thus, anyone can access the information on registered sexual offenders through Pennsylvania’s State Police website for Megan’s Law for public protection reasons only.
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Megan’s Law Classifications
Classifications of sexual offenders in the State Police’s registry include three tiers. These tiers determine how long a person will remain in the sex offender registry. A sex offender’s tier classification will depend on the sexual offense they committed.
A comprehensive list of sexual offenses per tier is available on the PA Megan’s Law resource page. Here is an overview of each tier and some major offenses associated with each classification:
Tier I Sexual Offenses
These sexual offenses are for low-risk offenders, meaning a person is unlikely to commit a sex offense. Offenses classified under Tier I will require offenders to register for 15 years. Law enforcement agencies will receive notification of Tier I sexual offenders’ status.
Tier I offenses include:
– Coercion and Enticement
– Corruption of Minors
– Invasion of Privacy
– Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle or Structure
– Misleading Domain Names on the Internet
Tier II Sexual Offenses
These sexual offenses are for people who pose a moderate risk of committing sex crimes. Tier II sexual offenses require offenders to register for 25 years. Law enforcement and child care facilities, including schools, daycares, and children’s camps, will receive notification of a person’s Tier II sex offender status.
Tier II offenses include:
– Abusive Sexual Contact
– Obscene and Other Sexual Materials and Performances
– Production of Sexually Explicit Depictions of a Minor for Importation into the U.S.
– Prostitution and Related Offenses
– Sexual Abuse of a Minor
Tier III Sexual Offenses
These sexual offenses are the most severe classification for high-potential offenders. Tier III sexual offenders will remain in the registry for life. These offenders include those with two or more sex offenses under Tier I or Tier II.
Meanwhile, sex offenses specific to Tier III include:
– Abusive Sexual Contact and Indecent Assault of a Minor (Under 13 Years Old)
– Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
Requirements for Reporting Under Pennsylvania Megan’s Law
Registered sex offenders must regularly report at an approved registration site in person to verify or update their information. A person’s frequency of reporting depends on their classification as a sex offender:
– Tier I Sexual Offenders: Must register at an approved registration site in person annually
– Tier II Sexual Offenders: Must register at an approved registration site in person every six months
– Tier III Sexual Offenders: Must register at an approved registration site in person every three months
Other classifications of sexual offenders outside of the standard tiers have unique requirements for their regular appearances at an approved registration site. These classifications and their required appearances include:
– Transient Offenders: Sexual offenders with no permanent address must register at an approved registration site in person every month.
– Sexually Violent Delinquent Child: Must register at an approved registration site in person every three months.
– Sexually Violent Predator: Must register at an approved registration site in person every three months.
In addition, all sex offenders must update or provide additional information in their in-person registration at an approved registration site within three business days of changing or receiving such information. A person’s informational changes regarding the following details must comply with this requirement:
– Name: A person must report any changes to their name or alias, perhaps due to marriage.
– Residence: A registered offender must update their home address or temporary lodging location during their visitation.
– Communications: Changes to a registrant’s telephone number and online communication tools or channels, including email address and instant message address.
– Employment: A person must update their employment status to match their most recent place of work.
– Education: A person must provide information about their enrollment status as a student.
– Vehicles: A person must report the details about the motor vehicles they own or operate, including aircraft and watercraft.
Megan’s Law Penalties
Registered sexual offenders who refuse to comply with Megan’s Law’s provisions and requirements or provide inaccurate information upon registration may face extreme criminal charges, regardless of their Tier classification. The following chart details possible charges:
|Tier Classification||Refusal to Comply||Provision of Inaccurate Information|
|Tier I Sexual Offender||Third-degree felony||Second-degree felony|
|Tier II Sexual Offender||Second-degree felony||First-degree felony|
|Tier III Sexual Offender||Second-degree felony||First-degree felony|
|Sexually Violent Delinquent Child||Second-degree felony||First-degree felony||Sexually Violent Predator||Second-degree felony||First-degree felony|
Do I Need a Lawyer for Pennsylvania Megan’s Law?
You may need a professional sex crime defense attorney to review your case if you must register as a sex offender. Consider our legal services if you have been charged with failure to comply with Megan’s Law requirements.
Our lawyers have the resources to determine whether your situation warrants any serious felonies. We specialize in representing persons accused of sexual assault crimes in Pennsylvania. Get in touch with our legal experts today for a free consultation.
Conclusion: What Is Megan’s Law?
Megan’s Law requires that the Pennsylvania State Police maintains a sex offender registry to protect the public. It must contain information on registered sex offenders who live or visit an area to notify the public of their presence.
Sexual offenders are persons who have committed sexual crimes that fall under three different tiers. These offenses range between low- and high-risk offenses associated with sexual crimes, including invasion of privacy, abusive sexual contact, and rape.
Registered sexual offenders must periodically update their information within the registry depending on their tier classification. Failure to comply with updating informational changes or provision of inaccurate information may lead to felonies.
Consider getting legal support to review your case and avoid further crimes. Our sex crime experts can answer all your questions regarding Megan’s Law provisions. Call now for a free consultation.