Penalties For Carrying Firearms Without A License In Pennsylvania

Serving South Eastern Pennsylvania and Philadelphia

While Pennsylvania has an open carry policy for firearms, it is illegal to carry a firearm that is concealed on your person or in your vehicle. Certain people are also prohibited from possessing or owning firearms under any circumstances. People who are charged with carrying firearms without licenses can face serious penalties. You can apply for a license to carry a firearm if you are at least 21 years old and are not otherwise disqualified. This license can be obtained by applying to the sheriff in your county. Once you submit an application, the sheriff can take up to 45 days to determine your eligibility. He or she will have the right to deny a license to anyone who has characteristics prohibiting them from possessing or owning firearms. If you have been charged with carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania, you should talk to an attorney at DiCindio Law.

Offense of carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania

Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106, it is illegal to carry a firearm in your vehicle or concealed on your person in Pennsylvania without having a valid license. However, you can carry a firearm without a license in your fixed place of business or in your home. Most people will need to get a license before they can carry a firearm in their cars or carry concealed firearms.

Some people are excepted from the law, including the following:

  • Police officers
  • U.S. military members
  • People who are enrolled in organizations to receive or purchase firearms
  • People at gun ranges or who are driving to and from gun ranges with unloaded firearms
  • Security or bank employees who protect money
  • Licensed gun dealers/manufacturers
  • Carrying securely wrapped, unloaded firearms after buying them, having them repaired, or having them appraised
  • Firearms safety instructors
  • People transporting firearms after being told to relinquish them at a specific location
  • Licensed hunters while hunting or traveling to hunt
  • Dog trainers
  • People with valid licenses from other states
  • People whose concealed carry licenses have expired within six months and are eligible to renew them
  • People who are legally authorized to transport firearms from state to state

Who is prohibited from possessing, owning, or carrying a firearm?

Some people are prohibited from carrying, possessing, or owning a firearm and will not be eligible for a license.

The following people are prohibited from having firearms and will not be eligible for licenses:

  • Illegal drug users
  • People with past drug convictions
  • People convicted of domestic violence offenses
  • People with felony convictions
  • People who have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent
  • People who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • People lawfully present on nonimmigrant visas
  • Fugitives from justice other than for minor traffic violations
  • People who have been dishonorably discharged from the military

What are the penalties for carrying a firearm without a license?

Carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense. You can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if you carried a concealed weapon on your body or in your vehicle and did not have a license when you were otherwise eligible to get a license and did not commit another crime at the same time.

A conviction for this offense will result in the following penalties:

  • First-degree misdemeanor on your record
  • Prison from 30 months to five years
  • Fine of up to $10,000

You can be charged with a third-degree felony if you were caught carrying a concealed weapon on your person or in your vehicle without a license and were either ineligible for a license or you committed another crime while carrying your firearm.

If you are convicted of this offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • Third-degree felony on your record
  • Prison from 42 months up to seven years
  • Fine of up to $15,000

Depending on why you were ineligible to get a license or the other crime you are accused of committing, you could also face other penalties. For example, if you have prior felony convictions, you could also be charged with being a felon in possession of a gun. This offense could result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Defenses to carrying a firearm without a license

A Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer can look at the reports and evidence in your case to identify any defenses that might be available to you.

Some of the potential defenses to a charge of carrying a firearm without a license in Pennsylvania include the following:

  • The police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you or your vehicle.
  • The police officer did not have probable cause to arrest you.
  • The police officer conducted a warrantless search and seized the firearm when an exception to the warrant requirement did not apply.
  • The search warrant affidavit included misleading or false statements.
  • You belonged to one of the groups listed as being excepted from the law.
  • You were charged with a felony but were eligible for a license and did not commit another crime, which could get the charge reduced to a misdemeanor.

Call DiCindio Law

Being charged with carrying a firearm in Pennsylvania without a license does not mean that you will be convicted. Whenever you are charged with a criminal offense, you should retain an experienced attorney to help you to defend against your charges. A lawyer can analyze your case and help you to understand your options. Call DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation at (610) 430-3535.

How To Beat A Gun Charge In PA

While Pennsylvania’s gun laws are relatively lenient, there are multiple firearms charges that could result in serious penalties and felony convictions. In Pennsylvania, gun crimes are normally based on violations of laws prohibiting the possession of firearms by certain people, carrying a concealed weapon without a license, or possessing a firearm with an altered manufacturer’s number. Each of these offenses is a felony crime. If you are facing any of these types of offenses, it is critical for your criminal defense lawyer to raise a strong defense. Below are some of the types of defense strategies that an attorney at DiCindio Law might use to defend against firearms charges.

Using information from the preliminary hearing

At a preliminary hearing, the court will determine whether there is probable cause to support the state’s charges against a defendant. In illegal firearm cases, courts generally find sufficient probable cause, meaning that dismissal at the preliminary hearing is unlikely. However, the burden of proof at a preliminary hearing is much lower than what is required at trial, so just because a case might be bound over for trial after a preliminary hearing does not necessarily mean that a defendant will be convicted of the offense.

Going to a preliminary hearing can still be valuable. Your lawyer can gather information during the preliminary hearing to support motions to suppress evidence or motions to attack any search warrant. A preliminary hearing will allow your attorney to listen to the state’s presentation of evidence to identify potential issues, including actual or constructive possession.

Eyewitness and confidential informant credibility

The credibility of any eyewitness or confidential information in or case can be challenged by your attorney both during the pre-trial stage through motions and at trial. For example, if the police relied on a confidential informant to charge you with a gun crime, your lawyer can file a motion demanding the prosecutor to produce the CI.

This can allow your attorney to gather further information in discovery about the CI, including any payments he or she received from the prosecutor in exchange for providing information and any favorable treatment he or she might have received in his or her own criminal case. These types of issues can be used to demonstrate that the testimony of a confidential informant is unreliable.

Eyewitnesses and confidential informants who are called to testify at trial can be cross-examined. Your attorney will want to analyze their backgrounds to look for any issues that could impact their credibility. While your attorney might not be allowed to attack a witness’s character, he or she is still allowed to impeach a witness using prior statements or to show that he or she has a reason to provide less-than-credible information. For example, if a confidential informant has an agreement with the police department in which he or she is paid a certain amount for providing information about others, the payment agreement could be used to demonstrate his or her motive to provide information that may or may not be true. Similarly, if a confidential informant has an

agreement to secure a dismissal of his or her charges or to receive a plea to a lesser offense based on providing information, that could also be used to challenge his or her credibility.

Constructive possession defenses

In some gun crimes cases, the prosecutor’s theory will be based on the defendant’s constructive possession of a firearm. Constructive possession means that a weapon was found in an area close enough to you to be under your immediate control instead of you having it on your person. For example, if you were pulled over while driving a car, and the police found a gun wedged in between the passenger seat and the console, the prosecutor might argue that you had constructive possession of it.

In constructive possession cases, your attorney will look at other people who were nearby who might have actually owned the gun with which you are charged. He or she might also investigate to learn who had access to the location where the illegal firearm was found. These types of issues might help to create enough reasonable doubt to result in an acquittal.

Lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause

Before a police officer can stop you or your vehicle, he or she must have a reasonable suspicion that you have violated the law. Reasonable suspicion cannot be an inarticulable hunch but must be based on facts that can be articulated by an officer based on his or her training and experience. For example, if you are simply walking on a sidewalk wearing a hoodie, that is not enough to support a finding of reasonable suspicion for an officer to stop you. Similarly, if a police officer thinks you look suspicious when you drive past him or her but does not see you commit any type of traffic offense, that is also not enough to support reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle.

Your attorney will also review whether or not the officer had enough probable cause to support a search of your vehicle or of your person. He or she will also review your arrest to determine whether or not it was supported by probable cause. If the officer lacked reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause, your attorney will file a motion to challenge your stop, search, or arrest and request that the judge suppress the evidence that was unlawfully gathered.

In general, officers must secure a search warrant before they can search your vehicle, person, or home. However, there are certain exceptions to the search warrant requirement that police can use to conduct warrantless searches. If the police conducted an illegal search and found a firearm, your attorney might be able to get the firearm and any mention of it suppressed at trial. In that type of situation, the prosecutor would likely be left with no other option than to dismiss your case.

Talk to an experienced gun crimes attorney

If you are facing illegal gun crime charges, it is important for you to hire an experienced attorney to defend you as soon as possible. Call DiCindio Law at 610-430-3535 to schedule a consultation.

Persons Not To Possess A Firearm

While many people in Pennsylvania own firearms, certain people are prohibited from owning or possessing them under federal or state law. If you have been convicted of certain types of offenses or meet certain other criteria, you could face additional charges if you own or possess a firearm. It is important for you to understand who is prohibited from possessing firearms to avoid additional consequences. People who are facing weapons charges may want to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law for help.

Who is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms in Pennsylvania?

Under Pa.C.S. § 6105, people who are convicted of certain enumerated offenses are prohibited from owning, possessing, using, selling, transferring, manufacturing, or controlling firearms. After a conviction of one of the listed offenses, the person will have up to 60 days to transfer or sell any firearms in his or her possession. If he or she fails to get rid of his or her firearms, he or she can face additional charges.

The enumerated offenses for which a conviction will result in a prohibition on owning or possessing firearms include the following:

  • Prohibited offensive weapons offenses
  • Racketeering/corrupt organization offenses
  • Possession of a weapon on school grounds
  • Murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Involuntary manslaughter involving a firearm
  • Aggravated assault
  • Assault by a prisoner
  • Assault by a life prisoner
  • Stalking
  • Weapons of mass destruction offenses
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful restraint
  • Luring a child into a car or building
  • Rape
  • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
  • Aggravated indecent assault
  • Arson/related offenses
  • Risking/causing a catastrophe
  • Burglary
  • Second-degree felony or higher criminal trespass
  • Robbery
  • Robbery of a motor vehicle
  • Second felony conviction of theft by unlawful taking
  • Theft by extortion with threats of violence
  • Second felony conviction of theft by receiving
  • False reporting of a theft of a firearm
  • Impersonating a law enforcement officer
  • Witness or victim intimidation
  • Victim, witness, or party retaliation
  • Escape
  • Possessing weapons or implements to escape
  • Rioting
  • Paramilitary training
  • Possessing or manufacturing facsimile weapons of mass destruction
  • Possession of a firearm by a minor
  • Corruption of a minor
  • Illegal sales or leases of explosive devices or weapons

In addition, people who have been convicted of similar offenses in other states are also prohibited from possessing or owning firearms under Pennsylvania’s state laws.

Other people who are prohibited from possessing or owning firearms in Pennsylvania

The following people are also prohibited from possessing or using firearms under Pennsylvania law:

  • Fugitives from justice for any offense other than a summary offense for a moving or nonmoving violation
  • Drug crimes with sentences of two or more years
  • People who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution
  • People who have been adjudicated as incompetent
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • People who are the subject of final protection of abuse orders that call for the relinquishment of firearms
  • Certain juvenile adjudications that would have resulted in a conviction for an enumerated offense if the person had been an adult
  • People convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence involving victims with specific relationships to the defendants
  • People who are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms under federal law

Under 18 U.S.C. § 922, the following people are federally prohibited from owning, possessing, manufacturing, controlling, selling, or transferring firearms:

  • People convicted of crimes carrying sentences of more than one year other than certain white-collar crimes
  • Fugitives from justice
  • People who illegally use or are addicted to controlled substances
  • People who have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent or have been committed to a mental institution
  • Undocumented immigrants or people who are present in the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas
  • People who have received dishonorable discharges from the military
  • People who have renounced their U.S. citizenship
  • People who are the subject of restraining orders preventing them from stalking, harassing, threatening, or otherwise placing a partner or child of an intimate partner in fear of bodily injury
  • People who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence

You are also prohibited from transporting or shipping firearms or ammunition in interstate commerce or receiving ammunition or firearms shipped through interstate commerce if you are facing an indictment for a crime carrying a potential punishment of more than one year.

Penalties under state law

The penalties for unlawful possession of a firearm will depend on your underlying offense that led to the prohibition. For example, if you were convicted of an enumerated drug offense involving a controlled substance, a conviction of unlawful possession of a weapon is a second-degree felony. However, if you were convicted of a drug offense as a second offense while possessing or concealing a firearm, it is a first-degree felony.

People who are convicted of possessing or failing to relinquish firearms after being named as the subject of the final protection from abuse orders will face second-degree misdemeanor penalties. Those who knowingly accept possession of firearms while being under a final protection of abuse order will face a third-degree misdemeanor.

Get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney

If you have been charged with illegally possessing or owning a firearm under state or federal law, you should get help from an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Call a lawyer at DiCindio Law today at 610-430-3535.

Can You Have A Firearm In Your House Without A License In PA?

While Pennsylvania is an open-carry state for firearms, carrying a concealed firearm without a license can result in criminal charges and serious penalties. People can avoid these types of charges by applying for a concealed-carry license in the state if they are at least 21 years old and follow the rules for carrying a firearm. If they violate the laws, however, people who carry concealed firearms can face misdemeanor or felony charges. If you are facing gun charges for carrying a concealed firearm without a license, you should talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law about how to defend against your case.

Carrying weapons in Pennsylvania

Under 18 Pa.C.S. §, you are not allowed to carry a concealed firearm on your person or to travel with a firearm in your vehicle without a valid license. However, an exception applies to carrying a firearm in your home or in your regular place of business. if you have a firearm in your business without a license, your place of business must be fixed. This means that if you are a traveling salesman, for example, your vehicle will not qualify for the business exception.

Other exceptions apply to the license requirement, including for the following people:

  • Law enforcement officers
  • Military service members
  • People who are enrolled in an organization to receive or purchase firearms
  • People traveling to and from target practice with unloaded firearms
  • Security and bank employees whose jobs are to protect valuables and money
  • Licensed gun manufacturers or dealers
  • People transporting unloaded, wrapped firearms after purchasing them, having them repaired, or having them appraised
  • Firearms safety instructors
  • People told to relinquish firearms to specific locations
  • Licensed hunters who are going to hunt or returning from hunting
  • Dog trainers
  • People with valid licenses from out-of-state
  • People whose licenses have expired within six months but are eligible for renewals
  • People who are legally authorized to transport firearms in interstate commerce

What are the penalties for carrying a gun without a license?

The penalties you might face if you are convicted of carrying a gun without a license in Pennsylvania will depend on the facts. You could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony.

If you are charged with carrying a concealed gun on your person or with carrying a firearm in your car without a valid license, you will face first-degree misdemeanor charges as long as you would otherwise be eligible for a license to carry, and you did not commit another crime while carrying your gun.

A first-degree misdemeanor conviction for illegally carrying a firearm without a license carries the following potential penalties:

  • First-degree misdemeanor on your record
  • Prison from two-and-one-half to five years
  • Fine of up to $10,000

You can be charged with a third-degree felony if you are caught carrying a concealed firearm without a license or have a firearm in your vehicle and are either ineligible for a license or have committed a crime while carrying the gun.

If you are convicted of a third-degree felony for carrying a firearm without a license, you will face the following potential penalties:

  • Felony on your record
  • Prison from three-and-one-half years to seven years
  • Fine of up to $15,000

If you are convicted of a felony, you will also likely face collateral consequences that could impact other areas of your life even after you have served your sentence. People who have felony convictions may lose their civil rights to serve on juries. They might also lose professional licenses that they hold and be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. In addition, people who have felony convictions on their records might have trouble keeping or finding employment, being approved for leases and credit, and encounter difficulties in their interpersonal relationships. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, you could face ongoing consequences if you are convicted.

What to do if you are facing gun charges

If you are arrested and charged with carrying a firearm without a license, there are several things that you should and should not do. The first thing that you should avoid is talking to the police. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can talk your way out of being charged and arrested. If you agree to be interviewed by the police or make any statements to them beyond

providing your name, driver’s license, and basic information, the police can use anything you say against you. Instead, you should simply tell the police that you wish to remain silent and to have an attorney represent you.

After asserting your rights, you should then contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can carefully review your case to identify issues that could be used in your defense. He or she can also explain the criminal process and help to prepare you for each step.

A lawyer might help to determine whether the police conducted your stop, search, and seizure appropriately or if there were instead any constitutional problems with them. If the officer conducted an illegal stop, search, or seizure, your attorney might file an evidentiary motion to seek the suppression of all illegally gathered evidence. If the court suppresses the firearm, this could result in a dismissal of your case.

An attorney might also determine whether or not you might meet an exception under the law. If you do, he or she might negotiate with the prosecutor to try to get your charges dismissed. Finally, a lawyer might review your case to identify other potential defenses that might be available to you.

Talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer

Gun charges are treated seriously in Pennsylvania. If you are facing these types of charges, you should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call DiCindio Law today at 610-430-3535.

Can A Strangulation Charge Be Dropped In PA?

Many strangulation cases filed in Pennsylvania involve allegations of domestic violence. When the alleged victim of a strangulation offense has a specific relationship with the alleged perpetrator, the case might be considered to be a domestic violence offense. Some people who are charged with strangulation of a domestic partner or another member of their household think that the charges against them can be dismissed by the alleged victims. However, that is not how the law works in Pennsylvania. If you are facing strangulation charges, you should get help from an attorney at DiCindio Law and not rely on the victim in your case being able to dismiss the charges against you.

Can an alleged victim drop strangulation charges?

An alleged victim cannot drop strangulation charges or any other types of criminal charges of which you might be accused. Once a crime is reported to the police, the police will arrive and investigate the case. They will then make any arrests that they believe are supported by probable cause. If you are arrested for strangulation, the prosecutor will make the decision of whether or not you should be criminally charged based on the evidence the police have gathered against you.

Prosecutors have independent discretion about whether or not to bring criminal charges. However, that does not mean that the victim’s reticence to testify will be enough to get your charges dismissed. After strangulation charges have been filed, it is not up to the victim whether to go forward with the case. Instead, the decision is left up to the district attorney in your case.

If you try to coerce or intimidate the alleged victim in your case to try to get your charges dropped or to skip court, you could face additional charges.

Understanding strangulation charges in Pennsylvania

Strangulation is a specifically listed offense under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2718. Under this statute, you can be charged with strangulation when you intentionally or knowingly impede someone else’s blood circulation or breathing ability by covering his or her mouth and nose or by applying pressure to his or her neck.

It does not matter if the other person was physically injured or not. Even if the alleged victim did not have any marks on his or her neck or any other type of injury, you can still be charged with strangulation based on the alleged victim’s accusation.

What are the penalties for strangulation?

The penalties you might face for strangulation will depend on your relationship to the alleged victim and a few other factors. If you are charged with strangling a person who was unrelated to you and with whom you did not live, it is a first-degree misdemeanor carrying up to five years in prison. However, strangulation can be charged as a felony under several different situations.

You can be charged with a second-degree felony strangulation offense if you strangled someone who was a member of your family or household. You can also face a second-degree felony if you strangled a care-dependent person as his or her caretaker or strangled someone during an act of sexual violence, human trafficking, or stalking. Second-degree felony strangulation carries up to 10 years in prison.

You can face first-degree felony charges for strangulation in the following situations:

  • You were the subject of a protection from abuse order when you strangled the victim listed in that order.
  • You used a prohibited weapon during the strangulation.
  • You had a prior conviction for strangulation.

A first-degree felony conviction for strangulation will carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Will a strangulation charge get dismissed if the alleged victim doesn’t appear in court?

Whether or not a case might be dismissed if the alleged victim does not show up in court will depend on several things. If the victim fails to appear at trial, and the prosecutor thinks that he or she might not be able to prove the case without the victim’s testimony, the prosecutor might drop the case.

However, most prosecutors will try to secure the victim’s presence in court to testify.
He or she might tell the victim that he or she must appear and serve him or her with a subpoena. If the victim fails to show up after being properly served, the prosecutor might ask for a material witness warrant for the victim’s arrest. It will be up to the judge to decide whether or not to issue an arrest warrant.

Witness tampering

If you do anything to try to get the alleged victim not to show up in court, the prosecutor might investigate you for witness tampering. Under , you can face felony charges if you try to coerce or intimidate a victim or witness in a criminal case against you. You can face charges if you try to encourage the victim to give false testimony, skip the trial, or withhold information.

Victim’s testimony is not always necessary

The prosecutor also might try to prove the case against you using other evidence. He or she might introduce testimony from others to whom the victim made statements. While these types of statements would normally be considered inadmissible hearsay, they can be admitted if they meet an exception to the hearsay rule. For example, any statement the victim previously made

under oath is not considered to be hearsay. If the alleged victim made a statement that is considered to be an excited utterance about the strangulation while he or she was still under the stress caused by the event, it would also be considered to be an exception to the hearsay rule.

The prosecutor might also bring in evidence of any confession you made or the testimony of independent witnesses who saw what happened. He or she might also introduce the 911 recording and evidence of any visible injuries that the alleged victim suffered.

Consult with a criminal defense lawyer

If you are facing strangulation charges, you should not count on the victim’s ability to get your charges dropped. Instead, you should concentrate on mounting a vigorous defense against your charges with the help of an experienced defense attorney. Call DiCindio Law at (610) 430-3535 to learn about how we might be able to help you.

What Is Considered Simple Assault?

Simple assault is a common criminal charge filed in Pennsylvania. You can be charged with simple assault in several different situations. If you are charged with this offense, you should talk to a criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law to learn about the options you might have.

What is simple assault?

Simple assault is defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2701.

Under this statute, you can be charged with simple assault if you do one of the following things:

  • You intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury to another person.
  • You negligently injure someone else with a deadly weapon.
  • You try to physically intimidate someone to cause him or her to fear that you will cause imminent bodily injury.
  • You conceal a hypodermic needle on your person and intentionally or knowingly cause a corrections officer, police officer, or mental institution employee to be penetrated with the needle.

Penalties for simple assault

Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor in most situations. However, if you are charged with simple assault after getting into a physical fight with someone else by mutual consent, it is a third-degree misdemeanor. Finally, if you are 18 or older and commit a simple assault on a child ages 12 or under, it is a first-degree misdemeanor.

A conviction of second-degree misdemeanor simple assault can result in up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. A conviction of third-degree misdemeanor simple assault can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Finally, a conviction of first-degree misdemeanor simple assault can result in a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Elements of simple assault

The prosecutor has the burden of proving each of the elements of simple assault beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted. He or she will need to prove your required mental state and the fact that the victim either had a real fear of being imminently seriously injured or was injured. For simple assault, you can be convicted if you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury. It is important to note that you can be convicted even if you attempted to harm someone else but were not successful. For example, if you swung at someone else and missed him or her, that could still be charged as a simple assault.

The threat must also have been imminent. For example, if you threaten to cause physical injury to a victim at some distant point in the future, that will not be enough to be charged with simple assault. Similarly, if the victim did not hear you make a threat that you did not follow through with, you also would be unlikely to be charged with simple assault.

Defending against simple assault

Several defenses might be available against simple assault charges, depending on what happened in your case.

Some of the potential defenses you might raise include the following:

  • Self-defense/Defense of others
  • Defense of property
  • False identification
  • Accident
  • Consent
  • Lack of a required element

Self-defense and defense of others are commonly asserted affirmative defenses in simple assault cases. You can raise one of these defenses if you acted to prevent the alleged victim from trying to harm you or someone else when your reaction was reasonable and proportionate.

You might also defend against a simple assault case by arguing that you acted to defend your property. However, it is typically more difficult to assert this defense than it might be to assert that you acted in self-defense.

If the assault involved a stranger, the police might have used an eyewitness identification procedure to charge you. If that occurred, your attorney might carefully review the lineup procedure to determine whether it was flawed. Mistaken identification cases might involve challenging the identification procedure used through an evidentiary motion.

If you accidentally injured someone without intending to do so, you might be able to defend against a simple assault charge. For example, if you tripped over a rock and fell into someone else, you could likely argue that you did not intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly cause or attempt to cause injury.

If the victim consented to what you did, you might also be able to argue that you are not guilty of simple assault or that you should only be charged with third-degree misdemeanor assault instead of second-degree misdemeanor assault. For example, if you struck the alleged victim during an MMA tournament, you should not be charged with assaulting him or her. Similarly, if you mutually agreed to a bar fight, you should only face third-degree misdemeanor charges instead of second-degree misdemeanor charges.

Finally, if the prosecutor cannot prove one of the elements of simple assault, your attorney might secure a dismissal of the charges against you.

Simple assault vs. aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is found in and is a more serious offense than simple assault. Aggravated assault can be charged as a first-degree or second-degree felony, depending on the specific actions and the victim. The aggravated assault might be charged if you cause or attempt to cause serious bodily injury to someone else, if you use a deadly weapon during an assault, or if you assault someone with a specific type of job, including a police officer, corrections officer, teacher, another school employee, and etc. If you are convicted of second-degree felony aggravated assault, you can face a prison sentence of five to 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000. If you are convicted of first-degree felony aggravated assault, you can face a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000.

Contact a criminal defense attorney

Even though you might consider a simple assault charge to be relatively minor, you should still treat it seriously. A conviction could result in a lengthy jail sentence and stiff fines. Call DiCindio Law today at (610) 430-3535 for help.

Drug Delivery Resulting In Death

In Pennsylvania, some people believe that if they sell drugs, the worst thing that could happen is that they might be prosecuted with possession with the intent to distribute drugs. While drug sales and possession with the intent to distribute drugs carry harsh penalties, people can also face an even more serious charge. Depending on the type of drug, people can face charges of drug delivery resulting in death. This crime is charged much more frequently in Pennsylvania than in other states. If you are facing this type of charge, you should talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney at DiCindio Law as soon as possible.

What is drug delivery resulting in death?

Drug delivery resulting in death is defined in Pa.C.S. § 2506 Under this statute, you can be charged with delivering drugs resulting in death if you intentionally give, administer, sell, deliver, distribute, or prescribe a controlled substance to others, and someone dies after using the drug.

Medical professionals are occasionally charged with this crime when they overprescribe opiates. However, this crime is much more frequently charged against people who are not in the medical field but who are suspected of selling or administering drugs to others that result in an overdose and death. In some cases, a person who is addicted to drugs will share them with a friend. The friend might then overdose and die, leading to his or her friend being charged with this crime.

What are the penalties for delivering drugs resulting in death?

Delivering drugs resulting in death is a first-degree felony in Pennsylvania with severe penalties.

If you are convicted of this offense, you might face the following penalties:

  • Prison for up to a maximum of 40 years
  • Fine of up to a maximum of $25,000
  • Civil forfeiture of property
  • Criminal restitution to the family of the victim

What does the prosecutor have to prove?

The prosecutor must prove the elements of drug delivery resulting in death beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. He or she will have to prove that you intentionally supplied the drug to another person and that you recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally caused the victim’s death. Pennsylvania courts have held that simply selling heroin to someone else is sufficient evidence to prove that the seller recklessly caused the person’s death if he or she overdoses and dies.

Can you defend against a charge of drug delivery resulting in death?

It can be terrifying to be charged with drug delivery resulting in death. However, it is still possible to defend against this type of charge. Anyone who is accused of this crime should retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after the charges are filed. A defense attorney can work closely with experts to defend against these types of allegations. It is never a good idea to try to defend yourself against serious felony charges without the help of an experienced attorney.

Two potential defenses that might be available in a drug delivery resulting in a death case are described below.

  • Joint user defense – A joint user defense might apply when two people jointly decide to purchase a drug to use only with each other. In this type of scenario, the two drug users should only be guilty of drug possession as they had not intended to further distribute the drug. For example, the first conviction of possession of heroin will carry up to a maximum of one year in jail and a driver’s license suspension of up to six months. While these penalties are harsh, they are much better than facing 40 years in prison for a drug delivery resulting in a death conviction. The legal basis for charging joint users of drugs is that they each are in actual or constructive possession of the drugs, so one person cannot be charged with distributing a drug to the other user since they both had possession of it.

If you assert this defense, the court will consider a number of factors, including the following:

  • The relationship between you and the alleged victim
  • Any statements or actions by you and the alleged victim before he or she died
  • How much control you or the alleged victim had over each other
  • Whether you and the alleged victim traveled and purchased the drug together
  • How much drugs were involved
  • Whether you or the alleged victim had sole possession of the drug for any substantial length of time

Since this involves a factual analysis, the jury will make the determination unless you decide to request a bench trial instead of a jury trial.

  • Causation defense – While the prosecutor does not have to prove that the specific drug caused the victim’s death through an overdose, he or she must still prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you sold, delivered, or gave away the drug to the other person. This can be more difficult in cases in which long-time drug users die and are found with paraphernalia that do not have distinctive stamps or markings.

Your defense attorney will consider both a causation defense and a joint user defense. He or she will also explore other potential defenses that might be available to you, including challenging the toxicological reports and others.

Get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney

If you have been charged with drug delivery resulting in death, or your loved one is facing this type of charge, you should retain an experienced drug defense lawyer as soon as possible. Michael DiCindio at DiCindio Law is a former prosecutor who understands how prosecutors build their cases. This background provides him with a unique insight into how to defend his clients against serious drug charges. Contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation and learn about your legal options by calling us at (610) 430-3535.

What Is Strangulation Law?

In Pennsylvania, a strangulation charge is very serious. If you are charged with strangulation, the penalties you might face will depend on the situation, your relationship to the alleged victim, and any other offense with which you might also be charged. People who are charged with strangulation offenses should retain defense attorneys for help with defending against the cases against them. An attorney at DiCindio Law can help you to understand your charges and the potential defenses that might be available to you.

Strangulation defined

The crime of strangulation is found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2718. Under this statute, you can be charged with strangulation if you intentionally or knowingly impede another person’s ability to breathe or his or her blood circulation by blocking his or her mouth and nose or applying pressure to his or her neck. It is not a defense to this crime that the victim was not physically injured.

Penalties for strangulation

The penalties you might face for a strangulation conviction will depend on the facts and circumstances and your relationship to the other person. If you are convicted of this offense when the victim was not a member of your household, and the act occurred when you were not using a weapon, and you were not engaged in stalking, human trafficking, or sexual violence, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

If you are convicted of misdemeanor strangulation as a first offense, you will face the following potential penalties:

  • Misdemeanor on your record
  • Prison from one to two years
  • Fine of up to $5,000

Strangulation is a felony of the second degree if the victim was a member of your household with one of the following relationships to you:

  • Spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Intimate partner/Former intimate partner
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Sibling
  • Another blood relative
  • Child of an intimate partner

It is also a second-degree felony if you strangled a person for whom you served as a caretaker or if you strangled a person you were stalking, trafficking, or engaged in an act of sexual violence.

If you are convicted of second-degree felony strangulation, you will face the following penalties:

  • Felony on your record
  • Prison from five to 10 years
  • Fine of up to $25,000

Strangulation can also be charged as a first-degree felony if you strangled a victim who had active protection against an abuse order, protection against sexual violence order, or protection against intimidation order against you. You can similarly be charged with the first-degree felony strangulation if you used a weapon or illegal body armor to commit the crime or if you have a prior conviction for strangling a household member or a care-dependent person.

If you are convicted of strangulation as a first-degree felony offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • Felony on your record
  • Prison from 10 to 20 years
  • Fine of up to $25,000

Strangulation might also be charged together with other crimes, depending on the facts and circumstances of what happened. For example, if you strangled someone you were stalking, you could also be charged with stalking. If you strangled someone with the intent to cause his or her death, but he or she did not die, you could be charged with attempted murder and strangulation. Finally, if you strangled someone with the intent to murder him or her, and he or she died, you could also face murder charges.

Defenses to strangulation charges

While strangulation charges are serious, it is possible to defend against them. The strangulation statute lists an affirmative defense that applies when the alleged victim consented to the conduct. To raise an affirmative defense, you will have to present evidence at trial to show that the victim consented to be strangled. This type of situation might occur when two people consensually engage in rough sex that includes choking.

Some strangulation cases that do not involve physical injuries might only consist of the victim’s statements against the defendant without any witnesses. In this type of situation, a defense lawyer might carefully examine the alleged victim’s credibility and challenge it in court. For example, if the alleged victim is your estranged spouse, he or she might falsely accuse you of strangulation to try to get the upper hand in a divorce or custody case. If that applies in your case, your attorney might want to look at your family court documents to try to identify the alleged victim’s motivation to lie.

In the case of a stranger attack, eyewitness identification procedures might be used by the police to try to identify a suspect. If the police used a lineup procedure to identify you, your attorney might carefully analyze the procedure that was used to identify any flaws. False eyewitness identifications have resulted in wrongful convictions, and your attorney might file a motion to challenge the lineup procedure used to identify you in court. A flawed identification procedure might result in a dismissal of the charges against you.

Another potential defense is an alibi defense. If you can present evidence that you were somewhere else at the time of the crime and could not possibly have committed it, you might be able to win a dismissal of your charges. The evidence will need to be trustworthy and reliable. For example, you might present surveillance video of you shopping in a store, plane tickets, hotel receipts, and credible witnesses who can attest that you were elsewhere when the alleged victim was strangled.

Talk to a criminal defense lawyer

Strangulation charges are very serious. If you are facing this type of charge, you should talk to a criminal defense attorney at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. Call our office today at (610) 430-3535 to learn about the defenses that might be available in your case.

First Offense Gun Charge in PA

In Pennsylvania, it is legal for adults to openly carry firearms without having to get a permit. All citizens have a constitutional right to carry arms to defend themselves. However, not everyone in Pennsylvania is allowed to own, possess, or carry guns and may not be able to carry guns wherever they might like. People must also obtain a special license to carry concealed weapons outside of their homes or businesses. If you are facing gun charges, you should contact an attorney at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. We might help you by explaining your charges and the potential defenses that might be available to you.

Common types of gun charges in Pennsylvania

Some of the common types of gun charges that you might face in Pennsylvania are detailed below.

  • Illegally possessing a firearm – While you are not required to register your guns in Pennsylvania, you must obtain them legally. You also cannot possess prohibited firearms, including sawed-off shotguns or machine guns. If you possess a prohibited gun, you can face criminal charges.
  • Possessing a deadly weapon – You can be charged with possessing a deadly weapon when you are facing other charges in which a weapon was involved. For example, the prosecutor might charge you with this offense when you possessed a gun while committing an assault, manslaughter, or other offense.
  • Carrying a concealed gun without a license – It is illegal for people to carry concealed handguns without a license in Pennsylvania. To carry a concealed gun, you must be at least 21 years old and secure a permit. If you don’t meet the requirements, you can be charged for carrying a concealed gun in your vehicle or on your person.
  • Possessing an unregistered gun – While Pennsylvania residents are generally not required to register their guns, there are some laws governing when guns are transferred between owners. These types of transactions are required to be reported to the state. If you fail to report this type of transaction, you could face criminal charges.
  • Unlawfully using a firearm – There are laws that prohibit firing a weapon in certain areas and at certain times. If you violate this law, the police can charge you with a crime.
  • Possessing a weapon on school grounds – You are prohibited from carrying a gun or other weapon on the grounds of a school. This includes private and public K-12 schools and parochial schools. You can be charged with this offense if you possess a firearm, rifle, shotgun, knife, nunchucks, or other weapons capable of inflicting serious injuries on school property.
  • Gun thefts or sales of stolen guns – Stealing a gun or selling a stolen gun is treated seriously in Pennsylvania. These offenses are felonies carrying harsh penalties.
  • Guns as sentence enhancers – Possessing or using a firearm while committing certain other offenses can aggravate your sentence. You can face harsher penalties if a gun was present and involved in committing such offenses as theft, rape, robbery, and others.

Penalties for first-offense gun charges in Pennsylvania

The penalties you might face for a first conviction of a gun crime in Pennsylvania will depend on which crime you are convicted of committing.

Some of the penalties for various gun charges include the following:

  • Concealed carry without a permit – Third-degree felony carrying up to a maximum seven-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $15,000
  • Carrying a gun while intending to commit a crime – First-degree misdemeanor carrying up to a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Unlawfully providing a minor with a firearm – Third-degree felony carrying up to a maximum of seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
  • Altering or removing identification numbers from a gun – Second-degree felony carrying up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000

Persons prohibited from carrying firearms in Pennsylvania

Some people are prohibited from carrying firearms in Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons.

Some of the people who are prohibited from carrying firearms include the following:

  • People convicted of offenses that are deemed dangerous to the public
  • People convicted of certain drug offenses
  • People who have been adjudicated as incompetent or who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution
  • People convicted of felony offenses
  • Fugitives from justice
  • People who are convicted of escape
  • People convicted of domestic violence crimes, including misdemeanors
  • People who are the subject of protection from abuse orders
  • People convicted of certain DUI offense

If you are unsure whether or not you are legally allowed to own, purchase, or possess a gun because of your record, you should talk to an attorney before you buy or possess a firearm.

How can a criminal defense lawyer help?

Regardless of what type of gun charge you might be facing, it is possible to defend against it. An experienced criminal defense attorney can carefully review the evidence and facts in your case to identify the best defense strategies to use.

The gun laws in Pennsylvania are complex and frequently change. It is rarely a good idea for someone to try to defend himself or herself against gun crime allegations. An attorney might be much more familiar with the laws and rules governing gun offenses, equipping him or her to build a stronger defense to the allegations against you.

An attorney might also identify constitutional problems with how the police stopped you, searched you, your home, or your vehicle, or seized you or the evidence. In these types of situations, your lawyer might be able to secure a much more favorable plea agreement or an outright dismissal by filing a motion to suppress some or all of the evidence. To learn more about your legal options, contact DiCindio Law at 610-430-3535.

Is PWID a Felony In PA?

While all drug charges are treated seriously in Pennsylvania, those involving sales or the intent to distribute carry more severe penalties. Possession with intent to deliver or PWID differs from simple possession offenses since the police must suspect that you intended to distribute the drugs in your possession to others instead of using them yourself. You can be charged with PWID involving any type of illegal drug, and you can also face charges of PWID for possessing prescription drugs for which you have no valid prescription. If you are charged with possession with intent to deliver drugs, you should talk to a criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law to learn about your options and the potential defenses that you might raise.

What is possession with intent to deliver drugs?

Under 35 Pa.C.S. § 780-113, you can be charged with possession with the intent to deliver drugs if you manufacture, cultivate, distribute, sell, deliver, or possess drugs with the intent to deliver them. This can include any of the following types of activities:

  • Cultivating marijuana
  • Manufacturing illegal drugs such as LSD, crack cocaine, or methamphetamine
  • Distributing or selling drugs
  • Trafficking drugs
  • Possession with intent to deliver is more serious than simple drug possession and normally will be a felony offense if you are convicted.
  • Penalties for PWID

The penalties you might face for possession with intent to deliver will depend on the type of substance, its amount, and your criminal record as described below.

  • PWID involving marijuana – If you are convicted of cultivating marijuana, you will face different penalties based on the number of plants with which you are caught.

For a first offense involving 10 to 21 plants, you will face the following potential penalties:

  • Felony
  • Prison Time
  • Fine of up to $5,000

For a first offense involving 22 to 51 plants, you will face the following potential penalties:

  • Felony
  • Prison Time
  • Fine of up to $15,000

For manufacturing hash or marijuana concentrates, you will face the following potential penalties:

  • Felony
  • Prison time
  • Fine of up to $15,000

 

  • PWID involving cocaine – For the first conviction of PWID involving cocaine, the penalties you might face will depend on the amount and your criminal record. An offense involving from two to 10 grams of cocaine is a felony carrying potential prison time. A first offense involving between 11 and 99 grams is a felony carrying potential prison time, and a first offense involving 100 or more grams is a felony carrying potential prison time.

PWID involving heroin – The minimum penalties for a first conviction of possessing heroin with the intent to deliver include the following:

  • Between one and five grams – Felony carrying potential prison time
  • Between six and 50 grams – Felony carrying potential prison time
  • More than 50 grams – Felony carrying potential prison time
  • PWID involving illegal prescription drugs

The penalties you might face for possessing illegal prescription drugs with the intent to deliver depend on their drug schedule as follows:

  • Schedules I, II, or III – Felony carrying up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
  • Schedule IV – Prison for up to three years and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Schedule V – Misdemeanor carrying up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000

The penalties you might face could also be aggravated if you are caught with drugs with the intent to deliver in a school zone, sold drugs to a minor, or carried a firearm while you were selling drugs.

How prosecutors prove PWID cases

Prosecutors are required to prove all of the elements of a PWID offense before defendants can be found guilty. To prove that you intended to sell the drugs in your possession, a prosecutor might rely on witnesses to testify about actions you took or statements you made that indicated your intent to deliver. A second approach to proving the intent to deliver element is to rely on the amount of the substances you had in your possession to create an inference that you intended to sell them instead of using them yourself.

Defenses to PWID charges

Your defense attorney might raise a number of defenses against PWID charges. The particular defenses that might be available will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.

Some of the potential defenses might include the following:

  • Lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to support a stop and search
  • Lack of knowledge that the drugs were in your possession
  • Inaccurate drug weights
  • Witnesses’ lack of credibility/motive to lie
  • You only intended to use the drugs yourself

Other defenses might also be available. Your attorney will explain the types of strategies that might be the most appropriate under the particular facts of your case.

Talk to a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer

If you are facing charges of possession with the intent to deliver drugs, you should talk to a drug defense attorney at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. Contact us to schedule a consultation by calling 610-430-3535.