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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

DUI what is a closed roadway

Pennsylvania DUI law applies "upon highways and trafficways throughout this Commonwealth." Accordingly, a criminal defendant may only be convicted of a DUI if he is driving on a roadway or trafficway in Pennsylvania. A highway is defined as "the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. DUI basics The term includes a roadway open to the use of the public for vehicular travel on grounds of a college or university or public or private school or public or historical park." A trafficway is defined as "the entire width between property lines or other boundary lines of every way or place of which any part is open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel as a matter of right or custom." Thus, when considering the issue of a DUI, a criminal defendant may only be convicted of this crime if he is driving within the boundary lines of a roadway.

Take first degree murder charges seriously in Pennsylvania

First degree murder charges must be taken very seriously. Pennsylvania law sets some very harsh penalties on a conviction for first degree murder. If you are facing this charge, you need to think about the criteria that must be present for the charge as well as considering the penalties as you work on your defense.

A charge of first degree murder means that you are accused of killing someone in a way that is considered premeditated. This means that you thought about and planned the murder before you committed it.

Murder Involuntary manslaughter

Involuntary Manslaughter is a very serious crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since it deals with the causing of the death of another person. Although Involuntary Manslaughter is similar to Murder in that it is a criminal charge for the taking of another person's life, it is by far the least serious crime involving the death of another person. Murder In order for an individual to be convicted of the crime of Involuntary Manslaughter, the government must prove the following criminal elements beyond a reasonable doubt: First, that the Defendant acted with either the mind set of recklessness or gross negligence when he committed the act that killed the victim and second, that there was a nexus between the conduct of the defendant (which led to the death) and the actual death of the victim. Accordingly the government must prove more than the fact that the death was probably caused by the acts of the defendant. So the following criminal activity would not be considered serious enough to warrant the charging of Involuntary Manslaughter:

Leaving a drunk friend to sleep it off in a place where the defendant believed that he or she would be safe or receiving numerous traffic tickets as a result of the removal of farm equipment.

Criminal Defense the Castle Doctrine

The Castle Doctrine is a phrase which stands for the legal proposition that a person's home is his castle and he may use force in order to defend it. In terms of Criminal Defense, criminal defendant's may use the Castle Doctrine as a defense if certain factors are present.  learn about date rape chargesSpecifically, the Castle Doctrine creates a statutory presumption (it is presumed) that the use of force or deadly force by a criminal defendant in a criminal defense case was both reasonable and immediately necessary if the following factors exist: First, that the person against who the force was used is trying to unlawfully and forcefully enter a dwelling and second, the defendant knows or has reason to believe that the unlawful forceful entry is occurring or occurred. The significance of this law in Pennsylvania is that when these factors are present a criminal jury must presume that the lethal force used by a criminal defendant was both necessary and reasonable.

Drug charges can be a life changing event in your life

We recently discussed the penalties and options that you have when you are facing marijuana charges in Pennsylvania. This is something that can be life changing. Some people face these charges and decide that they are going to turn their life around right then. Other people just can't seem to shake the addiction. Throwing those people in prison likely isn't going to help.

We want to help people who are facing drug charges find a solution to their conundrum that will help them to remain out of the criminal justice system in the future. We understand that this is a difficult road to follow. However, it is possible for these individuals to get clean and stay that way if they have the proper help and support.

Criminal Defense rearrest after Preliminary Hearing

Many criminal defendants believe that once they win the Preliminary Hearing in a criminal defense case, they no longer have to worry about being charged with the same crimes a second or even third time. However, that simply is not the law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  read about Date RapeThe general rule when dealing with Criminal Defense and preliminary hearings, is that a defendant may be rearrested after charges have been dismissed at a preliminary hearing so long as the statute of limitations has not expired. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has found, however, that in a case in which the Commonwealth has repeatedly rearrested the defendant based on the same conduct with similar charges in order to annoy or harass him or resulting in prejudice, the prosecution may not be permitted to rearrest and recharge a defendant for the same alleged criminal activity. Additionally, under the law in Pennsylvania, the accused who had his charges dismissed by on district justice may have the charges brought against him a second time before another district justice. A second district justice can be chosen by the President Judge at the Court of Common Pleas level.

VIolent Crimes aggravated assault

One issue that comes up in criminal defense is when can an accused be charged with Violent Crimes such as aggravated assault. The obvious scenarios where an accused can be charged with this crime occurs in the event of a violent fight or beating or shooting, when an alleged victim suffers serious bodily injury, however, can an accused by convicted of this crime for giving a victim one too many beers or even heroin?  assault crimes Before we assess this issue, you should be reminded to contact an experienced Violent Crimes attorney if you are being investigated for or have been charged with the crime of aggravated assault. This crime is very serious and can be punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Know the Pennsylvania penalties and options for marijuana charges

There is a lot of debate nationwide about the status of marijuana. Just to be crystal clear, marijuana is still a controlled substance classified as a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no legally accepted benefits and is fully outlawed on a federal level.

Even though some other states have decriminalized the drug, Pennsylvania still has marijuana laws on the books. This means that if you are caught with the drug or selling it, you can face legal consequences.

violent crimes ethnic intimidation

One of the least frequent Violent Crimes that a person can be charged with in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the crime of ethnic intimidation. In order to be convicted of violent crimes such as ethnic intimidation, the government must prove the following criminal elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, the government must prove that the accused committed a crime such as vandalism, criminal trespass, or criminal mischief (the destruction of property.  factors considered by judges for sentencing And second, that the accused committed this crime while he or she possessed malicious intent, meaning the intent to intentionally commit an acted which is brought about and motivated by hatred towards the race, creed or religion of the victim. Accordingly, the crime of Ethnic Intimidation makes it an additional crime for an accused to commit one of the above crimes of criminal trespass, criminal mischief and vandalism for the purpose of harassing or intimidating a person as a result of his ethnicity or religion.

Know what to do when pulled over for drunk driving

There are many different reasons why people get caught drinking and driving. One thing that is universal in all of these cases is that it is possible to prevent these charges by avoiding getting behind the wheel if you've been drinking. If you decide to drive anyway even though you are tipsy, you could find yourself heading to jail.

We understand that you might not be always be able to control how alcohol affects you. Maybe you skipped lunch yet hit happy hour after work. With nothing in your stomach to help absorb the alcohol in your system, you are likely to see those blue flashing lights in your rear view mirror.

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