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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. 

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Defense Lawyers You Can Rely On

When my family needed help navigating the juvenile justice system, Steve was our expert.
Erie, PA
Juvenile Criminal Defense

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 received a speeding ticket while traveling through Erie, PA. Steve and his expert team took care of everything while I was 600 miles away in North Carolina. He greatly reduced my conviction and fines. Valerie on his team took the time to hand-hold me through the process. I truly appreciate all that Steve and his team did to resolve this positively for me.

Diane Erie, PATraffic Violation Defense

I was charged with theft by extortion, a 3rd degree felony which carries a possible sentence of 7 years in prison and 15,000 in fines. Against my better judgement, I took the advice of Stephen and pled guilty for a reduced sentence. Because I listened to his expert advice, I will serve NO prison time, NO jail time, and my fine was minimal. Thanks again Stephen for a tough uphill battle, and you never gave up.


I am more than pleased with my experience with attorney Hackwelder. He is knowledgeable and got us a great result. I would highly recommend hiring Attorney Hackwelder.


Because I listened to his expert advice, I will serve NO prison time, NO jail time, and my fine was minimal. Thanks again Stephen for a tough uphill battle, and you never gave up.

JohnErie, PA

Mr. Sebald is honest with you from the beginning and will do everything he can to get the best possible outcome.

MichaelErie, PA

I would highly recommend Attorney Hackwelder. My case was different than most but he went out of his way to do his research to make sure things went my way. He won the case for me and if I ever need another attorney I will call him again.


I was in a rough spot and Attorney Sebald exceeded my expectations while being fair and upfront about the possible outcomes. I was impressed by his knowledge and navigation of the law, but also by his relationships within that community.


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!


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.