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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

July 2016 Archives

Turn to us if your child is charged with a DUI

As many young people prepare to go off to college within the next month — many to the numerous prestigious colleges and universities here in Pennsylvania — parents worry about their kids being on their own for the first time. One of those worries involves excessive drinking and, worse, drinking and driving.

Violent Crimes: the Castle Doctrine

There are specific circumstances in which you are legally allowed to use deadly force. In Pennsylvania, you are granted the right to use deadly force if you believe that it is necessary to protect yourself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping, or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat. Deadly force is not to be used as an immediate response, but rather as last resort. You are not authorized to use deadly force in protection to the acts previously stated if you were the initial aggressor of the situation or you are able to retreat safely in response. In Pennsylvania, you are not obligated to retreat from your home and in some circumstances your work. This is known as a Castle Doctrine.

Sex Crimes: Statutory Sexual Assault

Statutory sexual assault is one of the most serious Sex Crimes offenses that an individual can be charged with in Pennsylvania. Not only do Sex Crimes charges such as Statutory Sexual Assault carry a Megan's Law requirement, but they also have very strict penalties. In the state of Pennsylvania, the age of consent regarding sex is 16. If someone is under the age of 16, they are considered legally unable to make a decision regarding sexual conduct. CYS Investigations  It does not matter whether or not the relationship was consensual in order for someone to be charged with statutory sexual assault. There are several different outcomes that someone could face when being charged with statutory sexual assault.

Suppression Motions: Police interaction with Defendants

Defendant's may challenge evidence that is seized by the police by filing a suppression motion.  A suppression motion can be used to suppress evidence that is seized as a result of police interaction with Defendants.  If Police interaction with defendants is too aggressive, then evidence should be suppressed.  It is undisputed that Pennsylvania case law recognizes three categories of interaction between police officers and citizens. Consent and the Police  Evidence seized during an arrest might have to be suppressed by the court, depending upon the type of interaction that the court finds took place between the accused and the police. The first type of interaction is a mere encounter, or request for information, which need not be supported by any level of suspicion by the police, however, this also carries no official compulsion for the accused to stop or to respond to the police. The second is an investigative detention, which must be supported by reasonable suspicion as it subjects a suspect to a stop and a period of detention, but does not involve such coercive conditions as to constitute the functional equivalent of an arrest; and (3) arrest or custodial detention, which must be supported by probable cause.

injuries: soverign immunity

It is important to remember that even incarcerated inmates are entitled to their constitutional rights. People sustaining injuries may have to deal with soverign immunity when it comes to certain lawsuits.  In Pennsylvania, there are many different constitutional protections given to those who are incarcerated. Constitutional issues with Parolees  Some of these rights are the Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment, protection from sexual harassment or sex crimes, rights to complain about prison conditions, medical and mental healthcare, basic First Amendment rights, and protection against discrimination. Unfortunately, these rights are breached on a daily basis for many prisoners across the country. In some instances, it is possible for prisoners to sue and get just compensation for what they have been through. Although that is ideal, it is not unusual for county and state prisons to be protected from liability. This concept is known as sovereign immunity.

Dentist who fought for tough prison sentences facing DUI

A dentist and his wife have fought against short prison sentences in fatal hit-and-run accidents is now facing the criminal justice system for driving drunk. The man and his wife lost a 5-year-old son in 2012 when a driver struck them as they were crossing the street. After learning that the man who struck their son could face only a year in jail, the couple pushed for an increase in the minimum incarceration period for hit-and-run accidents.

Sex Crimes: Corruption of Minors

In terms of Sex Crimes, Corruption of Minors is one of the least serious offenses that you can be charged with.  Sex Crimes charges such as Corruption of Minors is a serious charge when compared to non-sexual criminal charges.   The corruption of minors is serious offense and is not taken lightly in Pennsylvania. Registration of sex offenders  As defined in the PA crimes code, the corruption of minors is whoever, being of the age 18 years and upwards, by any act corrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any minor less than 18 years of age, or who aids, abets, entices or encourages any such minor in the commission of any crime, or who knowingly assists or encourages such minor in violating his or her parole or any order of court. By doing so, they are committing a misdemeanor of the first degree. In addition, whoever, being of the age 18 and upwards, by any course of conduct in violation of Chapter 31 (relating to sexual offenses) corrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any minor less than 18 years of age, or who aids, abets, entices or encourages any such minor in the commission of an offense under Chapter 31 commits a felony of the third degree.

Drug Crimes: contraband

One of the more serious Drug Crimes in the PA crimes code is for the crime of Contraband.  You can be found guilty of drug crimes such as contraband if you aid a convicted person in getting  controlled substances in the prison. A person commits a felony of the second degree if he sells, gives, transmits, or furnishes to any convict in a prison, or inmate in a mental hospital, or gives away in or brings into any prison, mental hospital, or any building appurtenant thereto, read about cocaine crimes here  or on the land granted to or owned or leased by the Commonwealth or the county for the use and benefit of the prisoners or inmates, or puts it in any place where it may be secured by a convict of a prison, inmate of a mental hospital, or employee thereof, any controlled substance included in Schedules I through V of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. There is a mandatory minimum that states the defendant shall be sentenced to no less than two years total confinement. Possession of controlled substance contraband by inmates is prohibited. A prisoner or inmate commits a felony of the second degree if he unlawfully has in his possession or under his control any controlled substance in violation of section 13(a)(16) of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

What is aggravated arson?

Aggravated arson is a fairly new term in Pennsylvania. The law creating it as an official offense only came about back in 2014. It was in response to a string of fires that happened in 2008 and 2009. Authorities said that these were set on purpose, and there were more than 30 of them in that short time period.

Drug Crimes: Drug Delivery resulting in death

one oof the most serious types of Drug Crimes is the charge of Drug Delivery resulting in death.  In order to be convicted of Drug Crimes such as drug delivery resulting in death, the government must meet several burdens.  Heroin  Under the old statute in Pennsylvania for drug delivery resulting in death, a person commits murder of the third degree who administers, dispenses, delivers, gives, prescribes, sells or distributes any controlled substance or counterfeit controlled substance in violation of section 13(a)(14) or (30) of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, and another person dies as a result of using the substance. The mandatory minimum sentence for this offense under the old statute is a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of $15,000, or such a larger amount as is sufficient to exhaust the assets utilized in the proceeds from the illegal activity.

Violent Crimes: Involuntary Manslaughter

In Pennsylvania there are violent crimes such as Involuntary Manslaughter.  Violent Crimes such as Involuntary manslaughter is defined as the unintentional killing of a person as a result of a reckless or negligent act, or as a result of the commission of a non-felony crime. Although it is homicide, there are many factors that separate involuntary manslaughter from the rest. Read about the crime of Murder here  In order for someone to be charged with involuntary manslaughter, there are several elements that must be proven by the prosecution. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone died as a result of the defendant's actions, that the act was done with a reckless indifference for human life or was inherently dangerous to others, and that the defendant should have known his conduct threatened or endangered the lives of others. There are two different categories of involuntary manslaughter. One of the two categories is criminally negligent manslaughter, which is a killing caused by a severely negligent act or omission. The second category is misdemeanor manslaughter, which is a killing cause by or during the commission of a misdemeanor crime.

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Law Offices of Kelly & Conte
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West Chester, PA 19382

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