Incest Attorney in Pennsylvania

Incest, even consensual incest, carries a huge taboo, and being charged with it can ruin lives. Your freedom, your property, your relationships and your reputation could be at stake. It may seem like a good time to withdraw, but the reality is that when you have been charged with incest you need to begin building your defense aggressively. Defending yourself in court means defending your good name, and you will get only one chance to do that.

If you are facing incest charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced incest defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.

Incest in Pennsylvania

As a general rule, it is illegal in Pennsylvania to knowingly marry, cohabit with or have sex with an ancestor, a descendant, a sibling or half sibling, an uncle or aunt, or a niece or nephew. It does not matter whether blood relationships are legitimate or illegitimate, and it does not matter whether parent-child relationships are by blood or by adoption.

In other words, a father having sex with his adopted daughter commits incest even though they are not blood relatives. Breaking this law is a second-degree felony punishable by as many as 10 years in prison.

Where the relative is younger than 13, or where the relative is between 13 and 18 and the offender is four or more years older, a separate crime known as incest of a minor applies. It is also a second-degree felony, with penalties including as many as 10 years in prison.

Incest and Marriage in Pennsylvania

Apart from incest statutes, Pennsylvania marriage licensing laws do not allow for the marriage of close relatives. This includes parents and children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, and aunts/nephews and uncles/nieces. It also includes first cousins, who are barred from marrying under Pennsylvania law. Sexual relations between first cousins are not, however, considered incest in this state.

Consequences of Incest in Pennsylvania

Incest is rated as a severe crime in Pennsylvania. It is a Tier III sex offense, along with such major crimes as rape and aggravated indecent assault. Along with potential prison time, conviction imposes a 10-year placement on the state’s sex-offender registry.

It also bars a defendant from working in the child-care industry and limits custody rights. In the case of a young offender who is aging out of the juvenile correctional system, prosecutors can use an incest conviction as grounds to involuntarily commit the youth as a dangerous sex offender.

Incest and Consent in Pennsylvania

Incest is one of several sex and relationship crimes on the books in Pennsylvania that are often consensual (though not always). These include bigamy, polygamy and prostitution. In other words, consent is not a defense to incest. But it may help soften the blow from prosecutors, and it may help convince a jury or judge that it doesn’t make sense to punish you for an act that hasn’t hurt anyone. This may be especially true if the relative can testify to the fact that no harm was caused.

If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with incest, call Brian Manchester, an experienced incest defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.