Megan’s Law compliance is not straight-forward or easy. Violations for failure to register or mistakes in registration have extremely life altering consequences including jail, probation and fines. In PA, there are two laws that concern Megan’s Law (SORNA) requirements and issues surrounding them: Failure to comply with registration requirements and Failure to comply with 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. I registration requirements.
Avoid all of the nasty potential outcomes by going with us. When folks ask “Who is the best sex crimes charges attorney near me?” The answer always comes back to “The McShane Firm, of course.” When the government is trying to send you back to jail for a long time in a Failure to comply with registration requirements case, you can’t afford anything but the best.
Indecent Assault dismissed
I have never seen or heard of a more talented group of people and I believe if people really care about their life and future they’ll think real hard about hiring you guys.
Agg Indecent Assault dismissed
Justin, I believe, is the best bar none. Not only just in the courtroom but also for just being a great guy. I’ve always been told not to trust an attorney but Justin I trust along with the whole firm.
Was able to take tension off of the situation, and able to explain what was going on. Also helped put my mind at ease knowing that they were helping me along the way
I called at midnight the night before my hearing and spoke with Attorney Barrouk for almost an hour. He attended my hearing and got my charges dismissed.
I felt your firm had everything under control. you were on top of things and most of all I knew I did not have to worry about anything – which was great.
You can read the exact statutes here:
18 PS § 4915.1. Failure to comply with registration requirements.
18 PS § 4915.2. Failure to comply with 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. I registration requirements.
Stating the obvious
We are not here to bullshit you. Straight talk is all you will ever get from us. The truth is life sucks for someone who is required to register for Megan’s Law, doesn’t it?
You have probably lost a lot. Friends have left you. Jobs gone. Career in shambles.
We’re not going to treat you like a 5 year old and tell you life is fair. It isn’t. And part of being an adult is realizing that just because you are Megan’s Law in PA, life is going to be incredible tough.
What makes it even tougher is that everyone in the system from the police to probation officers to judges and DA’s are looking for any excuse to send you back to prison. By being a Megan’s Law registrant, you will be treated differently. Heck, even finding a defense attorney who is on your side is going to be tough. We believe in you always. We will fight for you.
Understanding the Law
As you know, it is the burden of the government to always prove you guilty. They have to overcome the presumption of innocence and prove all the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
§ 4915.1. Failure to comply with registration requirements-General.
- the accused
- is subject to registration under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.13 (relating to applicability)
- knowingly fails to:
- register with the Pennsylvania State Police as required under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.15 (relating to period of registration), 9799.19 (relating to initial registration) or 9799.25 (relating to verification by sexual offenders and Pennsylvania State Police);
- verify his address or be photographed as required under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.15, 9799.19 or 9799.25; or
- provide accurate information when registering under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.15, 9799.19 or 9799.25.
There are special rules for the homeless that are beyond the scope of this page.
Maximum Penalties for violation of Failure to comply with registration requirements-General
There is currently some debate about sentencing enhancement applicability for this offense. In short, there is an open question as to whether or not this crime can ever be graded above a felony of the third degree based upon what Tier of Megan’s Law you were in.
The issue surrounds whether the enhancement based upon what Tier of Megan’s Law you belong in is a prior conviction or a fact. If it is a prior conviction or equivalent, pursuant to Supreme Court of the United States case law, the government does not have to prove before the jury what Tier you are. If it what Tier you are in is a fact, then they have to put it before a jury to prove. However, because it is not an element in the statute and PA law does not allow for special jury verdict slips or findings, then it is a fact that cannot ever be proven.
This is an ongoing debate. The consequences are extreme as we will see.
One thing is clear, if you have a prior conviction for violation of this particular law, the punishment is enhanced.
In the meantime, here is how the law reads:
(b) Grading for sexual offenders who must register for 15 years or who must register pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.13(7.1).–
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (3), an individual who commits a violation of subsection (a)(1) or (2) commits a felony of the third degree.
(2) An individual who commits a violation of subsection (a)(1) or (2) and who has previously been convicted of an offense under subsection (a)(1) or (2) or (a.1)(1) or (2) or a similar offense commits a felony of the second degree.
(3) An individual who violates subsection (a)(3) commits a felony of the second degree.
(c) Grading for sexual offenders who must register for 25 years or life.–
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (3), an individual subject to registration under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.13 and required to register for a period of 25 years or life who commits a violation of subsection (a)(1) or (2) commits a felony of the second degree.
(2) An individual subject to registration under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.13 and required to register for a period of 25 years or life who commits a violation of subsection (a)(1) or (2) and who has previously been convicted of an offense under subsection (a)(1) or (2) or (a.1)(1) or (2) or a similar offense commits a felony of the first degree.
(3) An individual subject to registration under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.13 and required to register for a period of 25 years or life who violates subsection (a)(3) commits a felony of the first degree.
Felony 1, Felony 2 and Felony 3
There is a large difference between a felony of the third degree and a felony of the first degree. So you have to make sure that your attorney knows how to make the right objection. If not, then you will be stuck with it… for life.
Felony of the first degree has a max jail of 20 years and a max fine of $25,000.
All felony of the second degree carry a maximum term of 10 years in jail and a fine of $25,000
Felony of the third degree has a max term of 7 years in jail and a max fine of $15,000.
Beyond the obvious of jail, probation/parole, costs and fines, there is also the lifelong Felony Conviction Consequences in Pennsylvania that you have to consider as well.
§ 4915.1 (a.2). Failure to comply with registration requirements-Counseling.
In order to gain a conviction for this charge, the government must overcome the presumption of innocence and use competent, admissible and credible evidence to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- the accused
- is designated as a sexually violent predator or sexually violent delinquent child
- knowingly fails to comply with 42 Pa.C.S. § 6404.2(g) (relating to duration of outpatient commitment and review) or 9799.36 (relating to counseling of sexually violent predators).
This law also applies to counseling requirements for those who have similar counseling requirements imposed by other states.
Maximum Penalties for violation of § 4915.1 (a.2). Failure to comply with registration requirements-Counseling
This is a misdemeanor of the first degree. A m1 is punishable by a period of jail not to exceed 5 years and a max fine of up to $10,000.00. You also have to be aware of Misdemeanor Conviction Consequences in Pennsylvania
Why does § 4915.2. Failure to comply with 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. I registration requirements exist?
The elements and the break down for this crime are nearly identical to § 4915.1. The only real difference has to do with the registration length that triggers the violation and the operative statutes that require reporting.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that found the current 3 tier reporting system and length to be unconstitutional when retroactively applied to cases involving events after April 22, 1996, but before December 20, 2012.
So this created a “loophole” that the legislature had to close. They did so by creating this law. As the years go on, fewer and fewer folks are subject to this particular charge. But we have plenty of experience with this law as we have been around since 2001.