Pennsylvania Megan’s Law – Changes in 2013

The beginning of the new year sees many changes in the Pennsylvania Megan’s law.  The law fully went into effect as of December 20, 2012.  The title of the new law is the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

Registering As A Sex Offender – Requirements

SORNA effects some of those under the old Megan’s Law who are still registering as sex offenders.  If you were required to register under the old law as of December 20, 2012 then the new law applies to you.  For instance, if prior to December 20th you were required to register for 10 years, you may now be required to register for an additional five years.

Even if you had completed your registration prior to the effective date you will be required to re-register if, after December 20th you commit an offense listed as a sexually violent offense or you are convicted of a felony.  For instance, if you finished having to register with the State Police but are convicted of a burglary or selling drugs, you will have to register under the new law again.

What if the sex offense happened in another state, outside of PA?

Even if the sex offense happened in another state you have to register in Pennsylvania if you live, work, or are a student in Pennsylvania or move into this state after being convicted in another state.

How Group Based Homes are affected by Megan’s Law

Anyone operating a Group based home may not provide residence to more than 5 people who are required to register as a Sexually Violent Predator.

Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint

Certain crimes such as Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint have been changed under SORNA.  If the crime involves a child under 14 (or 18 in some instances) you will be required to register even if the act did not involve a sexual offense.

Statutory Rape under Megan’s Law

The offense known as Statutory Rape (Statutory Sexual Assault) now requires registration depending on the ages of the victim and defendant.  For instance, if the victim is 14 and the defendant is 22 to 25 there is a mandatory 25 year registration period.  If the defendant were over 25 it would be a lifetime registration.

Certain crimes involving obscene materials of a minor may now include a 25 year registration period.

What Tiers are under Megan’s Law

SORNA now ranks offenses into Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III offenses.  A Tier I offense requires a 15 year registration.  Tier II requires a 25 year registration.  Tier III offenses requires a lifetime registration.

SORNA also has a provision for harsher registration for multiple offenders.

Penalties for failure to register under Megan’s Law

Finally, the penalties for failure to register have been made harsher.  Failing to register for a Tier I offense carries a 3 year mandatory minimum jail sentence and 7 years if you do it again.

Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney Experienced in Dealing with Megan’s Law

If you or a loved one has been arrested or are under suspicion of a Megan’s Law Offense, contact the Pennsylvania criminal defense firm of Lawrence R. Dworkin today to learn how I can help represent your rights. We will advocate for you, keep you informed, advise you on your options and assist you in making the right choice- and we will do it all for an affordable cost. I can be contacted at 610-357-3506 or


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