Section 3126 of the Crimes Code defines the crime of indecent assault. Indecent assault primarily punishes what the law calls “indecent contact,” defined as “any touching of the sexual or intimate parts of [another] for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire, in any person.”


The crime of indecent assault is the less serious version of aggravated indecent assault, so to speak, as it’s generally graded as a misdemeanor offense and only a third-degree felony under certain circumstances.  The circumstances that affect the grading of indecent assault are outlined in the chart to follow, and the period of registration as a sex offender is also noted.


Subsection Circumstances Degree ML*
(a)(1) Indecent contact without consent M2 15 yrs
(a)(2) Indecent contact by forcible compulsion M1 25 yrs
(a)(3) Indecent contact by threat of forcible compulsion M1 25 yrs
(a)(4) Indecent contact upon complainant who is unconscious M1 25 yrs
(a)(5) Indecent contact where the accused has substantially impaired the complainant’s power to appraise or control their conduct with drugs/intoxicants, without the complainant’s knowledge M1 25 yrs
(a)(6) Indecent contact of complainant with mental disability that renders the complainant incapable of consenting M1 25 yrs
(a)(7) Indecent contact with a child less than 13 years old M1** Life
(a)(8) Indecent contact with a child less than 16, and the accused is four or more years older, and the two are not married M2 25 yrs

*ML=Megan’s Law Registration Period

**Indecent assault under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126(a)(7) is a third-degree felony if any of the following apply:

  • It’s a second or subsequent offense;
  • There has been a course of conduct of indecent assault by the accused;
  • The indecent assault was committed by the touching the complainant’s sexual or intimate parts with the sexual or intimate parts of the accused.


If you or a loved one is charged with indecent assault, call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, Ryan H. James, who has tried and argued these cases with successful results.  Attorney James can be personally reached at 412-977-1827, or by e-mail at ryan@rhjameslaw.com