Robbery or Burglary in Pennsylvania

 

Chester County Criminal Lawyer

Chester County Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael D. DiCindio, Esq.

Many people commonly describe their home being broken into as “them getting robbed.” What many do not know is that, generally, this scenario in Pennsylvania is legally a Burglary.   Whether a crime is a robbery or a burglary in Pennsylvania boils down to the specific facts involved. A burglary in Pennsylvania occurs when an individual enters a building without permission and with the intent to commit a crime within. A robbery in Pennsylvania is able to be boiled down to a person using some level of force, or threat of force, during the course of committing a theft. Therefore, if your home is broken into, and your things are stolen, but you are not there or involved – you were not “robbed.”

There, of course, are different factual scenarios that would fit each crime depending on the circumstances, further, there are different variations within the statutes for each (the statutes can be found below). In the end, it is important to know that whether you or someone you love has been charged with robbery or burglary in Pennsylvania and the differences between each.  The defenses differ for both, but there is no doubt they are facing heavy potential penalties and a felony being on their record. Contact DiCindio Law, LLC to speak to Mike DiCindio directly and begin preparing your defense today.

 

18 Pa.C.S § 3701.  Robbery.

(a)  Offense defined.

(1)  A person is guilty of robbery if, in the course of committing a theft, he:

(i)  inflicts serious bodily injury upon another;

(ii)  threatens another with or intentionally puts him in fear of immediate serious bodily injury;

(iii)  commits or threatens immediately to commit any felony of the first or second degree;

(iv)  inflicts bodily injury upon another or threatens another with or intentionally puts him in fear of immediate bodily injury;

(v)  physically takes or removes property from the person of another by force however slight; or

(vi)  takes or removes the money of a financial institution without the permission of the financial institution by making a demand of an employee of the financial institution orally or in writing with the intent to deprive the financial institution thereof.

(2)  An act shall be deemed “in the course of committing a theft” if it occurs in an attempt to commit theft or in flight after the attempt or commission.

(3)  For purposes of this subsection, a “financial institution” means a bank, trust company, savings trust, credit union or similar institution.

 

18 Pa.C.S. § 3502.  Burglary.

(a)  Offense defined.–A person commits the offense of burglary if, with the intent to commit a crime therein, the person:

(1)  enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof that is adapted for overnight accommodations in which at the time of the offense any person is present;

(2)  enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof that is adapted for overnight accommodations in which at the time of the offense no person is present;

(3)  enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof that is not adapted for overnight accommodations in which at the time of the offense any person is present; or

(4)  enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof that is not adapted for overnight accommodations in which at the time of the offense no person is present.

(b)  Defense.–It is a defense to prosecution for burglary if any of the following exists at the time of the commission of the offense:

(1)  The building or structure was abandoned.

(2)  The premises are open to the public.

(3)  The actor is licensed or privileged to enter.


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

 

Chester County Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP)

In our culture today one of the most common criminal charges, one that fills county dockets across state of Pennsylvania, is Driving Under the Influence (DUI). While many first-time offenders may be eligible for the ARD program (read more by clicking the link) there are many times where this is not offered or an individual is not eligible – possibly due to the facts and circumstances surrounding the DUI charge, possibly because of a prior criminal offenses or possibly it is not a first offense driving on the influence charge for the accused. In all of these cases, individuals who have been charged with a Driving Under the Influence / DUI offense face the potential of harsh mandatory incarceration sentences, potential supervision and conditions.

Mike DiCindio West Chester, PA Attorney

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

In these circumstances in Chester County, the Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP) is set up in a manner that allows first, second and potentially third offense Driving Under the Influence / DUI offenders to apply and, if deemed eligible and accepted by the court, receive a much less harsh imprisonment sentence mixed with electronic home confinement and community service.

While this Chester County Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP)  does not reduce the potential license suspension in these matters, it is a beneficial program when there are no legal arguments of merit that can be viewed as likely to win the case either before or at trial. In these matters, a skilled criminal lawyer may recommend this as the most beneficial potential outcome for a client.

It should be noted, in Chester County there are more offenses that may be eligible for the IPP program – still, the vast majority are DUI and DUI related suspension matters.

To read more about the IPP program or to see Chester County’s IPP chart go to the Chester County IPP website or contact DiCindio Law, LLC to speak to Mike DiCindio about your case today.


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

 

 

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. Awarded the 2015 Top 10 Under 40

DiCindio Law, LLC attorney Michael D. DiCindio, Esq.  was recently awarded the 2015 Top 10 Under 40 in Pennsylvania Award for criminal defense lawyers by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

criminal defense and personal injury

West Chester Criminal Defense and Personal Injury lawyer Michael D. DiCindio, Esq.

Michael DiCindio, Esq. handles all types of criminal defense matters and represents people in West Chester, Chester County, Montgomery County and throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area.  Michael also is actively involved in representing individuals who have been injured by the negligence of others in personal injury matters.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a criminal offense, contact DiCindio Law, LLC to speak directly with attorney Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. and discuss your case today.

Heroin Overdose Cases

A major focus of law-enforcement recent years and especially in recent months has been in preventing heroin overdose deaths from occurring. Heroin overdose cases have become an epidemic that law-enforcement, legislators and the communities at large are trying to combat. With the vicious effects of a heroin overdose, people must act fast. It is not uncommon to have two users together when one of them overdoses. Many times, people would be fearful to report the overdoses for fear of prosecution in the matter – and people would lose their lives. Recently, legislation has been enacted which is aimed at ending these types of situations and deaths and stopping the risk of certain criminal charges in these situations.

Chester County criminal defense

Contact Chester County Criminal Lawyer Mike DiCindio to discuss your case today

The recently enacted law permits individuals to call law-enforcement, emergency medical services or 911 and report a heroin overdose. If they provide their name and identifying information and stay with the individual who is overdosing they will be immune for prosecution for certain minor offenses (those are enumerated in the amended law) and the individual who overdoses is also immune. It should not be viewed and is not intended to be viewed as a license to commit illegal conduct, instead, it is aimed at helping to minimize the frequency of deaths from heroin overdoses.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or prosecuted in the circumstance that seems similar to the one described above contact criminal defense lawyer DiCindio Law, LLC today law speak in detail to Mike DiCindio about the facts and circumstances and determine whether or not the amended legislation applies to your specific situation.


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

Underage Drinking Expungement

Underage Drinking Expungement

When someone has been convicted of an Underage Drinking offense it may have harmful consequences their future, their job prospects, their educational prospects and/or any licenses and certifications they may seek to obtain.

What many people do not know is that upon turning 21, if the sentence has been completed in full, including the license suspension, they are entitled to an expungement of the Underage Drinking conviction under Pennsylvania law.

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer Mike DiCindio

Expungements are very commonly misunderstood. Many people believe that expungement’s are done immediately and automatically – they believe that as soon as the case is closed it is expunged. Instead, while they may be entitled or eligible for an expungement, a petition for expungement still must be filed.

Other people often mistakenly believe that upon turning 21 the case is immediately and automatically expunged – also not true.

Anyone who is now 21 has was charged and convicted with underage drinking offense is now entitled to an expungement in Pennsylvania if all conditions of their sentence/punishment have been fulfilled.

Contact DiCindio Law to begin the process of clearing your record today.


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

Entrapment – I know the word, but what does it really mean?

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer Mike DiCindio

 

It is not uncommon for someone who as been arrested to believe that they were entrapped. It is a word that is generally known, but not generally understood by those who are not involved in the criminal justice system.

 

In order for an entrapment defense to succeed, the person being prosecuted must prove by a preponderance of evidence that his conduct occurred in response to entrapment. That begs the question . . . what is entrapment?

 

Under the Pennsylvania Crimes code, entrapment is clearly defined and requires the following (Taken from Pennsylvania Criminal Code § 313):

  • A public law enforcement official or a person acting in cooperation with public law enforcement.
  • Acting for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of an offense
  • He induces or encourages another to engage in conduct constituting such an offense by either of the following:

1.  Making a knowingly false representation designed to induce the belief that such conduct is not prohibited

OR

  1. employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such an offense will be committed by persons other than those who are ready to commit it.

There are numerous considerations that must go into the decision to argue the entrapment defense. Again, while it is generally a known word – the understanding and applicability of it should be analyzed by a criminal defense lawyer before deciding to further the defense.

 


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

 

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

 

 

Search Warrant – What is required and how is one challenged

West Chester Criminal Lawyer

Contact Chester County Criminal Defense and DUI lawyer Mike DiCindio today.

Drug cases, gun cases and many other countless cases in the criminal system begin with a search warrant. At times, some of these cases also end with a search warrant. If a search warrant is involved in a criminal case, a criminal defense attorney should review the warrant in depth and with a fine tooth comb for all potential flaws and/or legal deficiencies.

Before a search warrant is approved, a law enforcement officer must allege facts in an affidavit of probable cause. The evidence and facts in support of a warrant must lead to the conclusion that probable cause exists to believe the items the officers are looking for are connected with criminal activity and that the items will be found in the place that to be searched under the warrant. If a neutral judge finds that probable cause exists – the search warrant will be approved.

Within the request in the warrant – the items/person being sought and the place to be searched must be described with particularity. Meaning, there should be nothing left to the discretion of the officers when they are describing the “things” to be seized AND it should give the officers ample information and description in order to allow them to identify the things and places to be searched and seized. “General” warrants are frowned upon in our system.

As a criminal defense attorney, it is important that whenever a warrant is involved in a matter, all portions and documents of the warrant must be obtain and reviewed thoroughly. If any of the requirements of the rules and constitutional protections governing the issuance of warrants seem to be lacking a motion should be filed to address this matter before the Court. If the warrant is found to be legally deficient or defective and no exception to the warrant requirement is present – the remedy may be suppression of the evidence seized.

If you or a loved one has a criminal case involving a search warrant, call West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer Mike DiCindio to schedule your free consultation.


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  Please contact DiCindio Law for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case.

Mike DiCindio is a criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale as well as in Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Berks County.

Drug Paraphernalia..Do they have to prove it was to be used with drugs?

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer Mike DiCindio

Under Pennsylvania law, there is a statute that prohibits possessing anything for:

 

“The use of, or possession with intent to use, drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this act.”

 

It may seem like a statute that encompasses a lot of circumstances and items – and it does. Still, what must be understood is that while many different items may seemingly “fit” under the statutes verbiage – the Commonwealth still has the burden to prove that the alleged drug paraphernalia was exactly that – drug paraphernalia.

 

How do they do that and what does it really mean? There is case law that states the Commonwealth must prove a specific intent that the item possessed or delivered was to be used with controlled substances.

 

Now, what does this mean – practically speaking?

 

The Commonwealth must provide more than the item itself. They must prove that there was the intent to use the item with/for/etc. a controlled substance. Further, a skilled criminal defense attorney should cross-examine the Commonwealth witnesses and potentially point out legal uses for the items claimed to be drug paraphernalia.

 

While there are many cases where there is other circumstantial or corroborative evidence that the item claimed to be drug paraphernalia was in fact just that – the law must be understood, and a knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense attorney will be aware of what the law requires and make sure the Commonwealth is made to meet its burden fully and completely.

 

Are they credible? IMPEACH THE WITNESS! Prior Convictions and credibility…

West Chester criminal defense

Contact West Chester criminal lawyer Michael DiCindio, Esq. to discuss your case today

The trial binder is complete, the opening ready, the closing prepped and the jurors are in the jury box.  It is time now to go through the process our justice system calls a trial.  Both sides have a chance to present evidence – through the form of documents, exhibits and most importantly and commonly – witness testimony.  But how are we able to show the jury that certain witnesses may not be credible? That some witnesses just shouldn’t be believed?  Among many other things, one great way to attack a witness’s credibility is to elicit evidence of their prior convictions. But is it all of their prior convictions that we should/could introduce?  No.  Why?  Because the crimes that Pennsylvania law permits for impeachment directly correspond with honesty.  A good trial attorney will not miss a chance to attack a witness with an applicable conviction when they take the stand.

Under Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 609(a) an attorney may attack the credibility of any witness, including the defendant with evidence that the witness has been convicted of a crime if it involved dishonesty or false statement. Pa. R. Evid 609(a). Therefore, under Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 609(a) they shall be admitted to impeach the credibility when a witness chooses to, or does, testify at trial. See, Pa. R. Evid. 609(a

A prior crimen falsi conviction is per se admissible for impeachment purposes if the later of either the conviction date or the last day of confinement falls within 10 years of trial. See, Pa. R. Evid. 609; see also, Commonwealth v. Trippett, 932 A.2d 188 (Pa. Super. 2007).

When a prior conviction is older than 10 years old, that does not end the inquiry as to admissibility.  They are per se admissible when the last date of confinement was within the past ten years.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that a crimen falsi conviction may be used to impeach the credibility of a witness if he has been confined for that conviction within ten years, even if the incarceration was due to recommitment for a parole violation. Commonwealth v. Jackson, 585 A.2d 1001 (Pa. 1991) (emphasis added).

Further, when there is confinement within the past ten years, it is not necessary for the trial court to engage in a case specific balancing inquiry as to admissibility. See, Commonwealth v. Jackson, 561 A.2d 335 (Pa. Super. 1989) affirmed, 585 A.2d 1001 (Pa. 1991).

Being a trial attorney takes skill, common sense, determination, and knowledge of the law.  Being effective on cross examination is no different.  When a witness has a crime of dishonesty on their record – a skilled trial attorney will know how and when to properly impeach their credibility.


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

 

I finished the ARD program, is my expungement finished too?

Many people who are charged with first offense DUI cases are accepted into the ARD program in the county in which they were arrested. While they may be aware of it, often times upon completion of the program, these individuals do not proceed to have the records expunged. In turn, they are left with records of their DUI arrest and entry into the ARD program on their criminal record. A successful expungement would erase that, leaving only limited agencies who are permitted to retain them.

Common occurrences – individuals either believe that the records of their ARD participation and completion were automatically expunged, or they believe their previous attorney expunged it for them. When often times neither is the case.

When Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney

An expungement should be filed on DUI / ARD cases that are successfully completed.

The expungement procedure/process involves filing required documents, a petition and a proposed order with the Court. As a part of the proposed order, a list of agencies and departments is included. Usually including all of the Courts involved in the case, the central repository, the police departments involved and any other agencies that may have access to the records or case information. If the expungement is granted by the Court, the agencies will be sent the certified order and will be directed to expunge the records. (In some counties the clerk of courts sends the orders, in others the individual or his/her attorney does).   Depending on the Court dockets, the number of petitions submitted, and the procedure of the county in which the petition is filed, expungement orders may take many months to be presented to the Court and signed.  Making it crucial to prepare and file the expungement quickly after successful completion of the ARD program.

Expungement of an DUI ARD is something that should be taken seriously and followed through on. Any chance someone has to clear their criminal history of arrests or prosecutions will be beneficial to them in their future searches for employment, housing and many other vital portions of their life.

If you have an outstanding DUI ARD case that has yet to be expunged. Contact West Chester criminal lawyer Michael DiCindio to discuss your options today.


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.