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September 2016 Archives

Arson is a serious crime with severe penalties

Setting things on fire isn't something that is good to do unless you are having a bonfire or lighting a fireplace or barbecue pit. Setting things, such as building or forests, on fire with a malicious intent or to commit fraud is a criminal act known as arson. This is usually a felony charge because it can lead to death, injury and destruction of personal property.

Criminal Defense and Criminal Mischief

In Pennsylvania concerning Criminal Defense, criminal mischief charges are among some of the most common charges that people face. Criminal mischief charges could arise from situations such as spray painting someone's house or throwing a rock through someone's car window. In such cases, an accused should hire a Criminal Defense Attorney.  There are several different acts that are covered in the PA Crimes Code under the statute criminal mischief. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he damages tangible property of another intentionally, recklessly, or by negligence using fire, explosives, or other dangerous means; intentionally or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property; intentionally or recklessly causes another to suffer pecuniary loss by deception or threat;Disorderly Conduct intentionally defaces or otherwise damages tangible public property or tangible property of another with graffiti by use of any aerosol spray-paint can or similar marking device; intentionally damages real or personal property of another; or intentionally defaces personal, private or public property by discharging a paintball gun or paintball marker at that property.

Theft Crimes: Identity Theft

In Pennsylvania, using someone's information as your own without their consent is a serious Theft Crime. This crime is known as identity theft. According to the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, a person commits the Theft Crime of identity theft of another person if he possesses or uses identifying information of another person without the consent of that person to further any unlawful purpose.  statute of limitations Every single instance where someone unlawfully used another person's identity is considered separate offenses. Identity theft often involves a person's driver's license numbers, bank account information, a person's name, birthday, or a person's social security number.

All violent crime charges demand urgent action

Violent crimes are often viewed as some of the worst on the planet. If you are facing charges related to a violent crime, we need to get started on your defense right away. The penalties that you are facing are much too serious for you to just throw together a hodgepodge defense at the last second before your trial starts.

Sex Crimes Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse is one of several Sex Crimes in Pennsylvania. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (IDSI) is similar to Sex Crimes such as rape, but differs in a few different ways. There are several different acts that are covered by the statute. According to the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, a person commits IDSI when the person engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a person by forcible compulsion or threat of forcible compulsion, unlawful dissemination  who is unconscious or where the person knows the victim is unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring, where the person has substantially impaired the victim's power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the victim, drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance, who suffers from a mental disability which renders him or her incapable of consent, or who is less than 16 years old and the person is four or more years older and not married to the victim.

Sex Crimes Unlawful dissemination of intimate image

After a relationship or marriage comes to an end, it is not uncommon for people to hold onto certain photos and memorabilia which can result in sex crimes such as Unlawful Dissemination of intimate image. Some may find themselves holding onto photos that could be damaging if placed in the wrong hands.  internet sex crimes It is not uncommon for those intimate images to become disseminated and begin circulating around for anyone to see. In Pennsylvania, it is a crime to spread around photos, without consent, of a partner or ex-partner that depicts them nude or engaging in sexual activity. This crime is known as unlawful dissemination of intimate image. Unlawful dissemination of intimate image is commonly referred to as the "revenge porn" law. Although the photos may have been taken with consent, it is also necessary to get consent in order to distribute and disseminate the images.

indiciting grand jury

The Rule of Criminal Procedure newly enacted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court permits the use of indicting grand juries instead of Preliminary Hearings. Before an individual accused of a crime was entitled to a preliminary hearing and the government could not use the indicting grand jury. If a prima facie case was established, the matter was bound over to an indicting grand jury, Indiciting grand jury which would then determine whether a Bill of Indictment should issue. In 1973, the Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to authorize the Courts of Common Pleas to provide for the initiation of criminal proceedings by information "filed in the manner provided by law." Pa. Const. Art. I, § 10. In order to implement the amendment, the Act provided that "[n]o information shall be filed by the district attorney or the special attorney appointed by the Attorney General concerning alleged criminal violations where a preliminary hearing has not been held or properly waived except as prescribed in the rules of criminal procedure." In short, the Pennsylvania Legislature explicitly divested the Courts of Common Pleas of the jurisdiction to provide for initiation of criminal proceedings via an indicting grand jury, and in so doing created a substantive, positive right of an accused to receive a preliminary hearing and to be free from indictment by an indicting grand jury.

Pennsylvania DUI charges are misdemeanors, but serious

Pennsylvania laws take a harsh stance on drunk driving. Anyone who is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher is subject to criminal charges. The exact penalties you are facing depend on your actual BAC and any prior offenses you have on your record.

violent crimes, propulsion of missiles

In Pennsylvania, propulsion of missiles is a serious offense and can lead to severe penalties. The propulsion of missiles into both occupied vehicles and onto roadways is prohibited. A person commits violent crimes such as propulsion of missiles into an occupied vehicle when he or she intentionally throws, shoots or propels a rock, stone, brick, or piece of iron, steel or other like metal, assault by prisoner or any deadly or dangerous missile, or firebomb, into a vehicle or instrumentality of public transportation that is occupied by one or more persons. If you commit this crime you are committing a misdemeanor of the first degree, which could result in up to five years imprisonment and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

Theft Access Deivice Fraud

Taking another person's access device without their knowledge, whether it be a credit or debit card, is a serious crime in Pennsylvania and is a theft crime called access device fraud.  An access device, which triggers the theft crime of access device fraud, could be a credit card, debit card, ATM card, or any card that has an account number printed on it. access device fraud  You may be charged with access device fraud if you use an access device to obtain or in an attempt to obtain property or services with knowledge that the access device is counterfeit, the access device was issued to someone else and they did not authorize its use, or the access device has been revoked or canceled. An example of access device fraud would be if you went out and bought a new television with your friend's credit card without their permission. In addition to the unauthorized use of access devices, it is also access device fraud if you advertise, make, sell, or give someone an access device that you know is counterfeit, altered, or issued for someone else.

Defenses in federal court must be carefully considered

Federal charges are very serious matters that must be handled appropriately. In our previous blog post, we discussed the diversity of people who have been charged with child pornography on a federal level. All of those people had one thing in common -- they had to make decisions about how to handle their cases.

Theft

Depending upon the amount of a theft, Theft by Unlawful Taking can be a very serious crime. The Pennsylvania Crimes Code states that a person is guilty of theft if he intentionally receives, retains, or disposes of movable property of another knowing that it has been stolen, unless the property is received, retained, or disposed with intent to restore it to the owner. Receiving stolen property charges are fairly common in PA. Identity Theft  In order to be found guilty of receiving stolen property, the Commonwealth must prove that you had knowledge that the property was stolen once you received it. Movable property is any property that can be moved from one location to another, such as a laptop or a necklace. If you have received, retained or disposed of the property with the intention of returning it to its owner, then you may have a defense for the charges against you.

sex crimes endangering the welfare of a child

One of the most commone sex crimes is endangering the welfare of a child.  In terms of sex crimes charges in Pennsylvania, there are specific statutes that exist for the sole purpose of protecting the well-being of children. As defined in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code under the charge endangering the welfare of a child, it is a crime for a parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years old, child endangerment  or a person that employs or supervises such a person, commits an offense if he knowingly endangers the welfare of the child by violating a duty of care, protection or support. "Person supervising the welfare of a child" is defined as someone other than a parent or guardian that provides care, education, training or control of a child. In addition, it is a crime to prevent or interfere with a suspected child abuse report if you are a person in an official capacity.

The diversity of those charged with child pornography possession

Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors take child pornography offenses very seriously because those who profit from it exploit and harm children. About half of those prosecuted for possession of child pornography are accused of having images of children under 6 years old being abused. And a quarter allegedly have images involving children two years old or younger.

violent crimes, assault by prisoner

In Pennsylvania, violent crimes such as assault by prisoner are serious.  Violent crimes for a prisoner can occur such as: (assault by prisoner) if the prisoner intentionally or knowingly assaults another with a deadly weapon or by force likely to produce serious bodily injury. In addition, it is a crime for a prisoner to intentionally or knowingly force another person to come in contact with blood, seminal fluid, saliva, urine or feces by throwing, tossing, spitting or expelling such fluid or material when, at the time of the offense, the person knew, had reason to know, should have known or believed such fluid or material to have been obtained from an individual infected by a communicable disease, including, but not limited to, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B. This crime is a felony of the second degree known as assault by prisoner. If found guilty of assault by prisoner, you may face up to ten years in prison and/or fines up to $25,000. The Pennsylvania crimes code defines as a prisoner as a person who is confined in or committed to any local or county detention facility, jail or prison or any State penal or correctional facility located in this Commonwealth.

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