Possessing Instruments of Crimes

When an object or weapon is involved in the commission of a criminal offense, a common charge that will be levied against an individual is that of “Possessing Instruments of Crimes.” This charge is found in title 18 section 907 of the Pennsylvania Criminal Code.

What must be evaluated in these cases is whether or not the person intended to employ any instrument of crime in a criminal manner. Importantly, there need not be what is generally termed as a “weapon” in order to be found guilty of this offense. Unlike what most may generally think – a knife or a gun, an instrument of crime is defined as anything that fits with in the following definitions. First, anything specifically made or specifically adapted for criminal use. Second, anything used for criminal purposes and possessed by the actor under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful uses that it may have.  Finally, anything commonly used for criminal purposes and possessed by the actor under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful uses it may have.

An example of a situation where a normal everyday object may be viewed as an instrument of crime would be when a crowbar is used to break into somebody’s home or vehicle. That is not the lawful and intended purpose of a crowbar therefore it would fit under the definition of this crime.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or are the subject of a case where Possession of an Instrument of Crime is charged contact Mike DiCindio, Esq. and DiCindio Law, LLC directly today.

 

  • 907.  Possessing instruments of crime.

(a)  Criminal instruments generally.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses any instrument of crime with intent to employ it criminally.

(b)  Possession of weapon.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a firearm or other weapon concealed upon his person with intent to employ it criminally.

(c)  Unlawful body armor.–A person commits a felony of the third degree if in the course of the commission of a felony or in the attempt to commit a felony he uses or wears body armor or has in his control, custody or possession any body armor.

(d)  Definitions.–As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

“Body armor.”  Any protective covering for the body, or parts thereof, made of any polyaramid fiber or any resin-treated glass fiber cloth or any material or combination of materials made or designed to prevent, resist, deflect or deter the penetration thereof by ammunition, knife, cutting or piercing instrument or any other weapon.

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“Instrument of crime.”  Any of the following:

(1)  Anything specially made or specially adapted for criminal use.

(2)  Anything used for criminal purposes and possessed by the actor under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful uses it may have.

“Weapon.”  Anything readily capable of lethal use and possessed under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful uses which it may have. The term includes a firearm which is not loaded or lacks a clip or other component to render it immediately operable, and components which can readily be assembled into a weapon.


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 and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others 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

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

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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