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Attorney Stephen Sebald
Attorney Eric Hackwelder

Sex Crime Defense Attorneys in Erie, PA

criminal defense in erie pa

If you've been charged with a crime of sexual nature, your entire life is on the line. Even if it isn't true, once word gets out that you've been involved in a rape, incest, child pornography, or sexual assault incident your reputation, relationships, career, and future are all on the line. With so much at stake, you need to an experienced sex crime defense lawyer who knows the ins and outs of sexually motivated crime laws in Pennsylvania. 

False or exaggerated allegations of sexually motivated crimes cause tremendous fear, embarrassment, and uncertainty. If you are under investigation for any sex offense crime you're probably full of anxiety. And if you have family, most likely they are as well. 

At Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, our sex crime attorneys have been helping individuals charged with sex offenses throughout Erie, Pennsylvania for over 25 years. 

We offer a free case evaluation every time, no matter the crime. Reach out today to have your case reviewed and get started on the path of getting your life back after being accused of a sex crime. 

Free Case Evaluation

Defense Lawyers You Can Rely On

Eric was extremely helpful and actually, you could tell that he took this case personally because of all of the time and effort he put into the case.

Types of Sex Offenses

and their penalties if you are convicted

Child Pornography

Distributing, creating, or being in the possession of child pornography could mean up to 20 years in state prison if convicted.

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If you've been charged for indecency with a child, you could be facing 2-7 years in prison. Could be more past first offense.

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Online solicitation

Solicitation online can mean serious jail time (up to ten years in prison and $10,000 in fines) without a strong defense attorney. 

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Sexual assault

Though the definition of sexual assault is broad, the consequences are harsh. You could be facing a decade in prison and $25,000 in fines.

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As it is one of the most serious sex crime allegations, being convicted of rape could mean the next 20 years in prison (30 if drugs were involved).


Without a strong defense, marrying or having some other type of sexual relationship with a close relative can get you up to 10 years in prison.


Sending pictures of a sexual nature to or receiving them from a minor can result in up to 1 year of jail and $2,500 in fines if you are convicted.

Obscene materials

The distribution, selling, or displaying of materials deemed obscene to minors is punishable in Pennsylvania by up to 5 years in prison and fines.

You Need Strong Defense to Protect Your Future

While there is not much you can do to take back the words or actions of yourself or others that brought you to this situation, you now have the responsibility to protect your future from even more harm than this accusation may have already caused. The best way to do this is to partner with a defense attorney who specializes in these types of serious crimes.

Our sex crimes defense attorneys fight sex crime allegations in both state and federal court.  No matter the circumstances, contact our sex crime attorneys to discuss your charges during a free case consultation.

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have you been charged with sex crimes?

Have Questions about Sex Crimes in PA?

What are the possible penalties for a sex crime in Pennsylvania?

The potential consequences could be severe:

  • Third-degree misdemeanor– Maximum of one year in jail, and fines up to $2,000.
  • Second-degree misdemeanor– Up to two years in jail, and a maximum fine of $5,000.
  • First-degree misdemeanor– Jail for up to five years, and fines reaching $10,000.
  • Third-degree felony– Maximum of seven years imprisonment, and a fine up to $15,000.
  • Second-degree felony– Prison time for up to 10 years, and a fine reaching $25,000.
  • First-degree felony– Up to 20 years in prison, and maximum fines of $25,000.
What happens if you don't register as a sex offender?

If you do not register as a sex offender when you were supposed to, you will be charged with another crime, possibly a felony, and will need additional help with a sex crime lawyer.

What are some common defenses to sex crimes?

Your defense attorney could possibly help using the following defenses to sex crimes:

  • Consent
  • DNA Evidence
  • Mistake of Identity
  • False Allegations

If you've been charged with a sex crime, it's important to immediately contact an experienced sex crime attorney to help you protect your rights and minimize your penalties.

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I just wanna say that I am overly satisfied with Mr Sebald! I recommend if you have any troubles to contact him and his partner Mr Hackwelder. The both did a Great job thank you guys!


I have many good things to say about Mr. Hackwelder and his team. From the beginning he came to our aid last minute and were good at keeping open lines of communication with me and my family. They worked on our case up to the last possible moment and even met with me on weekends. He answered all my questions throughout the whole process, was polite and did not waste time. The case was an extremely hard one, and the legal system was a bear to work with, but Mr. Hackwelder showed up every time with lots of energy and a positive attitude. He never promised what could not be done, but our results were extremely positive, in part to his hard work and constant attention to important details. I highly recommend him and his team. Mr. Hackwelder, I believe, went above and beyond the call of duty in our unique circumstance.


Stephen is a very knowledgeable lawyer! I got a DUI with a BAC of 2.16 and walked away with only 6 months probation and didn't lose my license! I can't thank this man enough! Thank you Stephen for all the hard work you put into my case!


Attorney Sebald did a great job handling my case. I was cited improperly for a traffic accident, and Steve and his partner were able to resolve the situation quickly and with great professionalism.


Stephen Sebald far exceeded my expectations. As a result of trusting in his extensive knowledge of the law & him working diligently on my case, charges were substantially reduced. He was always on call & went above & beyond in my case. Excellent defense attorney!


Eric was great. Very professional and very knowledgeable of the law. Attorney Hackwelder and his partner were able to resolve my particular case quickly and to my benefit. Good job!


Attorney Sebald represented me in 2005 for a DUI. So when I was facing legal problems again in 2015 for getting 3 DUI's in a 5 month period due to an addiction to alcohol I knew I needed him to represent me again. Mr. Sebald truly cares about his clients. I met with him we discussed my case and what I was facing. He guided me on what I should do. He doesn't sugar coat things. Mr. Sebald is honest with you from the beginning and will do...


I hired Eric for someone who was facing serious felony charges. He is a fairly young man with a young child who he absolutely adores. He had made mistakes and I didn't feel he needed to go to jail and be separated from that child. Eric was extremely helpful and actually, you could tell that he took this case personally because of all of the time and effort he put into the case. He was always available to us and his family. When it came time for the sentencing we all thought he was going to jail. When the judge sentenced him to 3 years parole we were all extremely happy. I can not say enough good things to say about Eric.


We were extremely satisfied with Attorney Sebald and Attorney Hackwelder. Highly recommend. You want that piece of mind when you get into legal trouble call these guys. You won't be disappointed.


Steve has helped us numerous times. He has been there for us when ever we call and made himself available in a moments notice when necessary. He knows just what to do and is also great at dealing with the emotional side of the situation. We trust him completely and would highly recommend Steve.