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July 2019 Archives

Criminal Defense Conspiracy

Another serious crime under the category of inchoate crimes and criminal defense is criminal conspiracy. Criminal conspiracy is defined under section 903 of the Pa criminal code. child porn cases Essentially a person is guilty of criminal conspiracy if they agree with another individual or individuals to engage in the commission of a crime. In general, a charge of criminal conspiracy is a separate charge from the crime at the center of the conspiracy. For instance, an individual can be charged with both conspiracy to commit murder and murder at the same time. A charge of criminal conspiracy can still be applicable even if the commission of the crime never actually takes place. The Commonwealth can convict an individual of criminal conspiracy even if the parties were just planning or preparing to commit a crime. Still, there are two elements that are essential for the Commonwealth to prove that a criminal conspiracy took place. There has to be some type of agreement between the parties and anyone who is involved must intend to commit the criminal act.

Sex Crimes Sexual abuse of children

While all sex crimes like sexual abuse of children are by their very nature are serious, sexual crimes involving children often the most serious. Pennsylvania law, as well as the rest of the United States, prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to engage in sexual acts on camera. child endangerment In fact, this is considered child abuse and is defined under section 6312 of the Pa criminal code. Under the first section of the statute, anyone who films, photographs, or depicts underage individuals engaged prohibited sexual acts on a computer or recording device is guilty of child abuse. The next section deals with the distribution of the sexually explicit images. Anyone who sells, transfers, distributes or displays these images would also be guilty of the sexual abuse of children. Finally, the last section of the statute deals with individuals who view these types of images defined as child pornography. Anyone who intentionally views or knowingly possesses child pornography including pictures or videos, has violated the statue.

Charged with underage drinking or DUI in Pennsylvania?

Reasonable people disagree over whether the minimum drinking age is the best way to handle drinking among young people. Many people argue that parents, not the government, should decide when it's appropriate for young people to drink. Others believe that safe, appropriate alcohol consumption is something people learn over time, so having an abrupt start date of 21 puts people at risk for overconsumption. Still others point out that so many young people drink that it's perverse to criminalize the behavior.

Criminal defense solicitation

Another crime in the realm of criminal defense under the inchoate umbrella of crimes is criminal solicitation. Criminal solicitation is defined under section 902 of the Pa criminal code. rape The statute essentially defines criminal solicitation as one individual requesting or commanding another to act in a way that would constitute a crime. For instance, the most readily available example and the one that most people think of when they think of criminal solicitation is, solicitation of a prostitute. In this example, an individual solicits another to engage in criminal behavior in exchange for money. It is important to note that money does not need to exchange hands to be considered solicitation. The statute does not mention anything about a monetary value necessary to prove the crime took place. The Commonwealth only needs to prove that the circumstances surrounding the solicitation were done with the intention of promoting or facilitating the commission of the crime solicited.

DUI Actual Physical Control

It is a commonly held belief that an individual can receive a DUI even though they aren't actually physical control of the vehicle. defending DUI cases While that can be the case, there is actually a very precise legal definition of what can constitute a DUI. The most relevant part of the statute is the part about the driver being in "actual physical control" of the vehicle while intoxicated. In order for a driver to be in actual physical control of the vehicle, the officer at the scene must look at the totality of the circumstances including the following three factors. First the officer should establish whether the engine, ignition, and lights were on at the time. Next, the officer must look at the location of the vehicle. The location of the vehicle is very important. If the vehicle was in the middle of a road (moving or not moving) and not off to the side, that would be a pretty clear indication that the driver was in actual physical control of the vehicle.

Criminal Defense Illegal search

An illegal search can be a huge issue in criminal defense cases. The fourth amendment of the United States constitution protects us citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. child endangerment In order for the police to search an individual's property they need either a warrant or probable cause. A warrant involves going to a judge and listing all the reasons the judge should grant them, the police, the power to search that person's property. However, a lot of searches, especially the ones that are conducted during traffic stops, are based on probable cause. Another way that police can search your property is with your consent because they may not have enough probable cause to search but they have a reason to believe a crime has been committed. If they do not use probable cause, a warrant or consent as the basis for their search, it is considered an illegal search. If the search is illegal, it violates our fourth amendment right. That means that anything that the police uncovered during the search, such as evidence of a crime, would not be admissible in a court of law. This is known as the "fruits of the poisonous tree".

What happens during a criminal interrogation?

Most of us have seen criminal interrogations in movies or on television shows. There's one cop, maybe two. One's grizzled and sarcastic. The other may be young, vibrant and idealistic. They head into a small, dark interrogation chamber and sit across a table from someone who's either scared or defiant. The cops make some small talk and then start pressing for information.

Impaired driving can lead to major penalties in Pennsylvania

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a very serious offense. It often leads to a large fine, a suspended license and jail time, not to mention the dangers others face when sharing the road with a drunk driver. In Pennsylvania, they employ a tiered approach toward DUI’s. This approach determines how they enforce charges and treatment for the offender.

Violent Crimes Aggravated assault

One of the most serious violent crimes, just short of murder, is the offense of aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is defined under section 2702 of the Pa criminal code. assault crimes It states that an individual commits this offense if they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause serious bodily injury under circumstances that manifest as an extreme indifference to the value of human life. This type of assault is much more than what typically takes place during a simple assault case. Past courts have characterized this type of assault as an assault where death was very likely to occur but for whatever reason it did not occur. The circumstances surrounding the assault will determine the penalties for the violation. For example, using a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault will be look at as a mitigating factor when determining the sentence. Prosecutors also look at the individual that was harmed during the assault.

Criminal Defense Motion to suppress due to illegal stop

A defendant caught in criminal defense cases with illegal items can file a motion to suppress the evidence dur to an illegal stop of his vehicle by the police. Rape When an individual who has been charged with a crime as a result of a police stop comes to a defense attorney seeking advice on how to proceed, one of the first things that a defense attorney will do is look for is any reason that they can to file what is called a motion to suppress. A motion to suppress is essentially is a request to exclude certain evidence from being taking into consideration by the judge and or a jury in a trial. There are many reasons that a defense attorney might file a motion to suppress. One of the biggest reasons to file a motion to suppress is because the police illegally stopped the individual and as a result of that illegal stop, they found evidence that indicated a crime took place. If such evidence is found by the police, then the defendant will be charged with crimes associated with the evidence. And if the defendant admits that he possesses the illegal items, then he would be found guilty of the charge unless he can show that the police seized the evidence by illegally stopping his vehicle.

Sex Crimes Tender years

For victims of a sex crimes, going through the criminal justice system and facing their alleged abuser, can expose them to unwanted feelings that would make them very uncomfortable. This is especially true of child victims. child endangerment In order to help alleviate some of the uncomfortable feelings a child might feel when facing their alleged abuser, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will under very specific circumstances allow a child to make statements about the alleged that are outside of the courtroom. This process of having a child make statements that are outside the courtroom is known as the "Tender Years exception to the hearsay rule." First and foremost, it is on the Commonwealth to prove that this exception is even a possibility. It is also important to note that the tender years exception must be used for children under the age of 12 and if the child is cannot testify about the statements in the courtroom, then they cannot be used as a witness at all.

DUI marijuana

DUI charges involving marijuana are very serious. Although marijuana has been legalized both recreationally and medically in a number of different states across the US, it still remains illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of it. As it stands now, in the Commonwealth, driving under the influence of marijuana puts you in the highest tier of penalties. defending DUI This means that because any amount of marijuana was in your system at the time of arrest, even if it was not currently affecting your mental capabilities, you are still subjected to severe penalties if convicted. Once you speak to your attorney who represents you in your case he will lay out your options. The first option typically involves fighting the case and taking it all the way through trial and proving your innocence there. Another way DUI's marijuana related resolve is through this program ARD. Essentially the ARD program entails similar conditions to probation but at the end of the program, and you have fulfilled all the requirements of it, you can file to have your record expunged. While the expungement will allow you to have a clean record, which will not affect your employment opportunities or interfere with you getting an apartment or something to that effect, if you were to receive another DUI, that DUI will count as a second DUI and you will be subjected to the same penalties as if the first one was never taken off of your record.

DUI can police search my car for smelling like marijuana

One question that arises in DUI cases is can the police search my car for smelling like marijuana. defending DUI cases One of the ways that police obtain the necessary standards that are required to search an individual's property is probable cause. One of the most common ways the police obtain probable cause is through the smell of marijuana. While in some states it has been legalized both medically and recreationally, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania however, it is only legalized medically and for those who do not have the license, it remains an illegal drug to possess. The question then becomes, what does it mean for you when a police officer pulls you over and says that he smells marijuana? To start with it, it usually means that the police suspect that there is a presence of marijuana in your vehicle. Because the fourth amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures, the police cannot just outright take you out of your car and search it for no reason. If they smell marijuana they usually can. Luckily, defense attorneys know this and when a stop occurs they look at a number of different factors to determine if the cop was actually smelling marijuana (if marijuana is found during the search, then the officer is usually justified in his probable cause claim) or if the reason for the stop was legitimate in the first place.

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