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The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
AVVO Rating 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Criminal Defense
Nation's Premier | NACDA | Top Ten Ranking 2014
10 Best 2014 | Client Satisfaction Award | American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys
2016 top 100 lawyer ASLA
10 best 2016 client satisfaction| American Institute of personal injury Attorneys
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys
Top 10 Attorneys American Jurist Institute 2017

West Chester Criminal Defense Law Blog

Make sure you follow the law when protesting

Protests and other similar gatherings are a great way to make your political stance and other points known. They are a great way to fight for your cause, as long as you handle the situations the right way.

All protests and similar gatherings must be peaceful. If they start to get violent or begin to disturb the peace, you might find yourself in legal hot water. Interestingly, criminal charges in these cases can come from minor oversights like not paying attention to where the protest is occurring.

Criminal Defense Conspiracy

Issues regarding Criminal Defense and Conspiracy and the extent of what co-defendants can be liable for the various acts of their co-conspirators was addressed in the case of the Commonwealth vs. Barnes. In 2002, Maurice Barnes, Robert Goodine, and L.D. Kruger all chipped in and bought a large amount of cocaine in New York, and brought it down to Scranton, Pennsylvania to sell. Kruger and Goodine had guns, but Barnes did not. cyberbullying After a making a few sales in a parking lot, the men began selling drugs out of an apartment owned by Ron Sanders, a known crack addict. A man named Charles Grant comes to the apartment to buy an eight ball of cocaine (3.5 grams.) Upon arriving at the apartment, Grant and Goodine go in the back bedroom to make the deal. Grant gave Goodine $200 for the drugs and was waiting to receive $50 in change. While Grant was waiting to get change from Goodine, he began complaining about the quality of the cocaine. While Grant was looking down at the drugs, Goodine shot him in the head and killed him. Valerie Kizer, Ron Sanders, Maurice Barnes, and L.D. Kruger all witnessed the killing. Kruger fled immediately after the shot was fired, but Barnes stayed. Barnes and Goodine went through Grant's pockets and took his remaining money, as well as all the drugs they gave him. Mr. Barnes was sentenced to 23 years to 47 years imprisonment after the jury convicted him of criminal conspiracy to commit murder in the third degree, and related charges.

Dui warrantless blood draw

The law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regarding warrantless blood draws where an accused is suspected of DUI is currently in flux. The state of the law regarding DUI and warrantless blood draws was illustrated in a three-judge panel in Commonwealth v. Ennels. On March 12, 2016, in Reading, Pennsylvania, a man named John Amonte Ennels was in a motor vehicle accident. Police were contacted because he was trying to leave the scene. When officers conducted a traffic stop of Ennels, there was an overwhelming smell of marijuana and a partially smoked blunt in the vehicle. DUI checkpoint Ennels was charged with DUI and was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital for a blood test. Ennels was read the "DL-26" form and gave his blood 'voluntarily'. However, the DUI form that the officers read to Ennels said that he would face a minimum of 72 hours in jail and a $1,000.00 fine and a maximum of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine if he refused to consent to the blood draw. The court therefore ruled that Ennels's blood sample consent was involuntary.

Know what to look into if you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint

As the summer months continue to march forward, the parties will continue to roll. This means that the police departments in this area might opt to conduct DUI checkpoints. If you recall, we recently discussed the fact that these checkpoints can't profile drivers. This doesn't mean that you won't get stopped in one just because of who you are. Instead, it means that any driver has the possibility of being pulled over.

We know that you might not have intended to start drinking while you were out with your friends. Things happen sometimes. Now, you find that you are facing drunk driving charges based on the officers determining that you were drunk at the checkpoint.

DUI 2 hour rule

Dui is a serious crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Under PA law, the government must obtain an accused's blood or breath within 2 hours of the accused operating a motor vehicle. Pursuant to 75 PA.C.S. 3802(A), the DUI statute in Pennsylvania, an individual may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after drinking or consuming a sufficient amount of alcohol where the alcohol concentration in the accused's blood or breath is at least 0.08% within two hours after the individual has driven or operated the vehicle.  DUI chemical testing If the government does not obtain a defendant's breath or blood within 2 hours of his operating a vehicle on a roadway, then the results of the breath or blood are not admissible in court. It is important that an individual facing dui charges should consult with an experienced Chester County Criminal lawyer if you have been charged with or is being investigated for the crime of DUI.

Suppression Spoilation of Evidence

Suppression Motion may be filed by defense attorneys in order to keep out evidence.  One type of suppression motion deals with the Spoilation of evidence which deals with the intentional or unintentional destruction of evidence by the government-typically the police. Under Pennsylvania state law, police investigators are not required to keep rough notes from their investigation. This rule differs from Federal Law and the Jencks Act, know your Miranda rights where federal investigators are required to keep much more information that they obtain as a result of their investigations. Currently, in Pennsylvania there is no rule that the police preserve all evidence taken or all notes ever taken during their investigation because there might be some evidence which turns out to be exculpatory (tending to show that the defendant is innocent).

The Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure deal with issues of the spoilation of evidence and/or the turning over of evidence to the accused in a criminal case after the Preliminary Hearing. Specifically, the PA Rules of Criminal Procedure rule 573(B)(f) states in regards to the discovery of evidence by the defense that is in the possession of the government:

DUI checkpoints can't profile drivers

Drunk driving is a problem that can lead to serious crashes. Because of the public safety issue with this, police departments often conduct DUI checkpoints to try to stave off the possibility of drunk driving crashes. These checkpoints must be handled properly if they are going to be effective.

One important thing to know about these checkpoints is that the vehicles that are stopped must follow a pattern. For example, officers might stop every fifth vehicle or every other vehicle. Short of having reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle that doesn't fall in the sequence, officers can't break the sequence.

Defenses to Murder

Murder charges are extremely serious crimes that an accused can be charged with. There are several different types of Murder that an accused might face in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There are also a number of Defenses that can be raised to Murder charges, but lets explore the various types of murder first. First Degree murder, second degree murder, third degree and and then voluntary and involuntary manslaughter are the various types of homicide charges that an accused might face.  Assault crimes With the exception of second degree murder, the various types of murder are frequently determined by the specific intent that an accused possessed during the time of the killing. Specifically, in order for an accused to be found guilty of first degree murder, the government must prove that the accused had the intent to kill. For third degree murder, the government must prove that the accused killed with malice and voluntary manslaughter means that the Jury has found that the accused killed in the heat of passion

Protect yourself while building your defense

We recently discussed how having a defense attorney can help you when you want to work out a plea deal in your criminal justice case. This is only one of the ways that having a lawyer can help you out in these cases. We know that you might have questions about what your charges mean and what you can do to fight them. We can help you answer these and more.

A defense attorney can help you ensure that your rights are protected when you are dealing with the occurrences in the criminal justice system. From the questioning that you might face through the sentencing phase of a jury trial, we are here to protect your interests.

Chester County Mental Health Court

Chester County Mental Health Court offers people accused with a crime a more lenient sentence if they agree to enter Mental Health Court.  The first mental health court was established in 1997 in Florida to address the issue of repeat, non-violent offenders that suffer from serious, chronic mental illness. The judges and prosecutors were seeing the same faces and the same cases every couple of years and they wanted to put an end to this, learn about ARD while helping the offenders straighten out their lives. The idea quickly caught on and spread throughout the country. The Mental Health Recovery Court in Chester County was established in 2008. The Court is run through collaboration between the County Criminal Justice System and the Chester County Department of Mental Health. The sectors involved with the program are the Court, Office of Mental Health, Probation Department, District Attorney, Public Defender, County Prison, Pretrial Services, and Crime Victim Services. Judge William Mahon presides over the Mental Health Court, and his caseload is around 80 individuals.

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