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Criminal Defense Archives

Criminal Defense the right to Bail

One universal truth is that in Criminal Defense cases Defendants almost always have the right to Bail. Bail becomes the most important topic of discussion when a criminal defendant is arrested and charged with a crime.  juvenile sex offensesA criminal defendant is placed on bail at his Preliminary Arraignment. When talking about setting bail, this means that a set amount of money is set between the court and the person in jail. From time to time bail is set at a high amount so defendants are unable to post the bond and are therefore detained in prison until their case is resolved. The purpose of bail is to give an arrested person their freedom until they are convicted. In some cases, the judge will set a bail amount that is very high, with the intent of keeping the suspect in jail for the duration of his or her trial. A request to lower the bail amount can be made via a motion.

Criminal Defense Police Brutality

One issue that arises in Criminal Defense cases is: Can Police Brutality be a defense in my Criminal Defense case? The answer is it depends. The fact that the police used physical force to beat up a defendant is certainly almost always relevant in a criminal defense case. assault crimes But it might not be enough equate to reasonable doubt. Typically the most important issue in terms of police brutality is when did the police brutality take place. Specifically, police brutality is not relevant when the police used excessive force on a criminal defendant when they arrested him for a crime such as a robbery or burglary that happened several days before. The reason for this is the use of excessive force in that instance does not change the fact that the defendant committed an earlier robbery. Specifically, there might be several eye witnesses who claim that the defendant robbed a pizza delivery man and the pizza delivery man himself might be able to identify the defendant as the man who robbed him. Accordingly, the fact that the defendant was beat up when he was arrested by the police does not change the fact that the witnesses claimed he committed a robbery.

Criminal Defense Furnishing Alcohol to minors

One crime that can have very serious consequences in criminal defense cases is the crime of furnishing alcohol to minors. The crime of furnishing alcohol to minors is fairly self- explanatory.  Firearm charges In order for a criminal defendant to be found guilty of this crime, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania must prove the following criminal elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, that the accused intentionally and knowingly sells or gives or buys alcohol with the intention of giving the liquor or alcohol to someone who is less than 21 years of age. And second, that the accused knew that the person receiving or buying the alcohol was under 21 years of age. This crime is graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree and therefore punishable by a maximum of 1 year in prison and a $2500 fine. However, the significant impact of this crime can occur if one of the minors commits other crimes after he or she received the alcohol from the defendant.

Criminal Defense Should I waive my Preliminary Hearing

One issue that arises with great frequency in Criminal Defense cases is should I waive my Preliminary Hearing? Before we answer and look at that question it is helpful to review just what a Preliminary Hearing is. A Preliminary Hearing is a statutory right that is given to criminal defendants who are accused of committing certain crimes. sex crimes Specifically, individuals charged with having committed crimes that are either misdemeanors or felonies. The purpose of the Preliminary Hearing is to grant the accused due process protection since he is being placed on bail. Accordingly, the accused has the right to challenge the governments case by having his attorney cross-examine the government's witnesses and argue that the government cannot meet their burden that it is more likely than not that the defendant committed the crimes that he is charged with. After a hearing, where the government calls witnesses to testify, the defense can argue that some or all of the charges should be dismissed. Make sure to hire an experienced Chester County Criminal Lawyer if you scheduled for a Preliminary Hearing

Criminal Defense False Swearing

In Criminal Defense work, it is quickly learned that the police have a number of charges, such as False Swearing, to charge individuals with if they make false statements to them while they are in the course of conducting an investigation.   violent crimesThe crime of False Swearing can be found in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code under Title 18 section 4903. False swearing is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree and therefore punishable by a maximum of 2 years in state prison and a $5,000 fine. In order to be found guilty of this crime, the government must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: First, that the accused made a false statement under oath or swears or affirms the truth of such a statement in a written statement to law enforcement, and second that the accused made such a statement when he does not believe the statement to be true. And finally that the false statement was made with the intent mislead a police officer from performing his job.

Criminal Defense Pre-trial motions

One of the most important aspects of Criminal Defense is the filing of Pre-Trial Motions. Pre-Trial motions are essentially requests by the defense that the court make a ruling on the admissibility of certain evidence during the trial. arrest warrants As many people know, in order for the government to win at trial, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty of committing a crime. In order to do this, the prosecution must introduce evidence showing that the defendant is guilty. However, evidence seized by the government is not admissible at trial, if the police seized the evidence illegally. Specifically, if the police violated one of the defendant's constitutional rights , such as the fourth or fifth amendments, then the court will rule that the evidence is not admissible at trial. In certain cases, the prosecution may not be able to bring a case, or meet their burden of proving that the defendant committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, if certain evidence is not admissible in Court.

Criminal Defense Consent

Consent is frequently a defense in a Criminal Defense case. That is particularly true in sex crime cases, where most sex crimes are only criminal if they occur without the victim's consent. senf defense Since consent can be such a big factor in criminal cases, it is frequently import ant for criminal defendants to have a great level of familiarity with when consent can be used as a defense in a criminal case. The general rule with consent is that a victim's consent is a defense if such consent negatives an element of the criminal offense that the defendant is charged with. Consent can exist with more than just sex crime offenses. It can also operate as a defense in cases where a victim is injured. Specifically, consent to assault charges where a victim suffers bodily injury exists when the conduct and the injury are reasonably foreseeable hazards of participating is an athletic contest (such as boxing, martial arts etc.)

Criminal Defense Hearsay

One issue that comes up in Criminal Defense cases is assessing when the government may use hearsay evidence at a Preliminary Hearing. As previously discussed, a preliminary hearing offers the defendant with his first opportunity to challenge the evidence against him. child endangerment At that hearing a district justice must determine whether it is more likely than not that the accused committed the crimes that he is charged with. If the government meets that burden, then the charges are bound over to the Court of Common Pleas. Otherwise the charges are dismissed. Recently, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania found that the government may use hearsay testimony at a Preliminary Hearing. This ruling struck a huge blow to criminal defendants since the admission of hearsay evidence makes it significantly more difficult for a criminal defendant to challenge the case against him and for his defense attorney to cross examine witnesses.

Criminal Defense Tampering with or fabricating physical evidence

One crime of dishonesty which can be found in the realm of criminal defense is the charge of Tampering or fabricating physical evidence. This charge can be found in Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and in section 4910. The crime typically is used by law enforcement to charge individuals who interfere with an investigation in serious crimes such as Murder or Rape. Assault Crimes In order to be found guilty of this crime the government must prove the following criminal elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Criminal Defense Warrantless search of a car

Generally in the realm of Criminal Defense a main issue is the Warrantless search of a car by the police. In these car search cases, the defense is frequently challenging: 1) the initial stop of the vehicle; and/or 2) whether there was probable cause to conduct the search of the car. In these cases the defense argues; there was no probable cause to search the vehicle; and/or a warrant supported by probable cause was required under the circumstances. Indecent assault The law dealing with the government's right to search a car in Pennsylvania has changed drastically. In Commonwealth v. Gary, the PA Supreme Court adopted the federal automobile exception to the warrant requirement, which allows police officers to search a motor vehicle when there is probable cause to do so and does not require any exigency beyond the inherent mobility of a motor vehicle. In that case, the Court found there was probable cause to search because: the officers smelled marijuana, and the defendant attempted to flee the scene. Two pounds of marijuana was found under the hood of the car. This case makes it easier for police to conduct a warrantless search of a motor vehicle.

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