Types of Drug Crimes

There are a variety of different types of drug crimes that can be charged in Pennsylvania. The various drug offenses are penalized differently by the courts and depend on several factors, including your intent, the type of drug, the amount, your criminal history, and other factors. Knowing the potential consequences and the different types of drug crimes can help you to understand what you might expect if you are charged. The legal team at DiCindio Law can help you to understand your charges and the options that are available to you. Here is an overview of the different types of drug crimes in Pennsylvania.

Simple possession of drugs

It is illegal to possess controlled substances in Pennsylvania under both state and federal laws. However, if you have a valid prescription for a scheduled drug, you are exempt from prosecution. Many substances are illegal under the law, including LSD, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Pennsylvania does allow the possession of small amounts of marijuana for medical purposes for people who have medical licenses, but the recreational use of marijuana is illegal in the state. You can also be charged with simple possession if you are found to possess a controlled prescription drug without a valid prescription.

If you are found to have a small amount of illegal drugs for your personal use, you might face misdemeanor charges and the potential for a fine and jail time. To prove that you illegally possessed a drug, the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew that you had the drug in your possession and that it was illegal. The penalties for simple possession of drugs are much lower than the penalties for possession of drugs with the intent to deliver or distribute them.

Possession with the intent to sell or distribute drugs

Possessing drugs with the intent to sell or distribute them carries more serious penalties than simple possession. The police might charge you with this offense if you are found with a large amount of drugs, have scales or baggies, or observed you loitering in an area that is known for drug sales. Possession with the intent to distribute is commonly charged as a felony carrying the potential for a prison sentence and a substantial fine.

Possession of drug paraphernalia

You can be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if you are found with the tools needed to sell, store, create, or consume drugs even if you are not found with the actual drugs. If you are found with drugs and with paraphernalia, you can be charged with two offenses, including the possession offense and the drug paraphernalia offend. Some examples of drug paraphernalia that can result in charges include the following:

  • Bongs
  • Syringes
  • Scales
  • Pipes
  • Spoons
  • Baggies

Normally, a combination of these items will result in charges. For example, if you are found with a package of baggies, that would not be enough to charge you with a crime. However, if you are found with small baggies together with a scale and other indicators of drug use or sales, you could be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Manufacturing or cultivating drugs

Drug manufacturing or cultivation can result in serious felony charges. If you are caught with the materials and equipment to manufacture drugs, you can face these types of charges. A conviction will typically result in a prison sentence, stiff fines, and a felony on your record. If you are found guilty of manufacturing or cultivating drugs near a school, your sentence can be doubled.

Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is among the most serious drug charges that can be charged. If you are caught importing, selling, smuggling, or transporting illegal drugs, the punishment can be severe. Drug trafficking is a serious felony. The penalties that you might face will depend on the quantity of drugs that are found by the police, the location of where they are distributed, the type of drugs, and whether you targeted minors. Drug trafficking can be prosecuted under both state and federal laws.

Factors influencing the penalties for drug crimes

Typically, the penalties for different drug convictions increase with the number of prior drug convictions. Courts consider several factors when determining the penalties to impose, including the following:

  • Whether it is your first, second, or subsequent conviction
  • The nature of your prior drug convictions
  • How much time has elapsed between your current charge and your past drug conviction
  • The weight or amount of the drug in your possession
  • The type of drug that you possessed
  • How the drugs were packaged
  • Whether the amount of drugs was small or large

If you had large quantities of drugs in your possession, you will likely face felony charges and the potential for a long prison sentence regardless of whether it is your first or subsequent offense. If it is your first offense for simple possession, the penalties will be less severe and might allow you to avoid jail time.

Get help from DiCindio Law for drug crimes

Regardless of the severity of your drug charges, you should get help from an experienced drug crimes attorney. An experienced attorney might have a better chance of mitigating the penalties that you might face. At DiCindio Law, Michael DiCindio is a skilled defense lawyer who used to work as a prosecuting attorney. He understands how the state prosecutes drug offenses and can work to develop a strong defensive approach. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535.

Understanding Broadside Collisions and the Damage They Cause

Understanding Broadside Collisions and the Damage They Cause

Understanding broadside collisions and the damage they cause is our topic for today. Broadside collisions are among the most dangerous types of car accidents in Pennsylvania. If you have been injured in a broadside collision, you might remember the moment in which you realized another char was about to slam into the side of your car, and you probably could not do anything about it. These types of accidents often happen in intersections, and they can result in serious injuries or fatalities for people who are occupying the vehicles that are hit. If you have suffered serious injuries in this type of accident or have lost your loved one, the legal team at DiCindio Law can help you to recover the compensation to which you should be entitled.

What is a broadside collision?

There are three main types of car accidents, including rear-end accidents, head-on accidents, and broadside accidents. Of the three, rear-end accidents are the most common. While they can result in serious injuries, many people are also able to escape with minor injuries from rear-end collisions. Head-on collisions are the most dangerous and cause the greatest number of fatalities. This is because of the speed of the involved vehicles and the physical forces that are released by the impact. Broadside collisions are the second-most dangerous type of car accident and cause the second-highest number of deaths.

Broadside collisions are also known as side-impact crashes or T-bone accidents. These accidents happen when one vehicle strikes another car, SUV, or truck on its side. Many of these accidents happen in intersections and might result when the at-fault driver fails to obey a traffic control device or runs a stop sign, crashing into a vehicle that is traveling through the intersection.

Many vehicles have fewer safety features on their sides as compared to the front and rear areas. This means that the buffer between the people sitting in the passenger or driver seats is minimal. Side-impact airbags have helped to reduce the risk, but they have not eliminated it. By contrast, rear-end accidents have the trunk area to absorb some of the forces in a collision, and head-on accidents have the engine compartment to absorb some of the forces. When a vehicle strikes another one on its side, the physical forces do not have anything else to absorb them, and they travel inside of the passenger compartment. In many of these accidents, the vehicle that collides with the other car is traveling at a high rate of speed. This can cause the car that is struck to collide into an object or a third vehicle.

Common injuries in a broadside collision

People who are in vehicles that are hit on the side can suffer serious injuries, including the following:

  • Fractures
  • Serious lacerations
  • Severe abrasions
  • Damage to the organs
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Crush injuries
  • Amputations

Broadside collisions can cause lifelong injuries and disabilities. The injuries can be worse when the vehicle that broadsides the other car is a larger vehicle, including a truck, tractor-trailer, van, or SUV.

Causes of broadside collisions

Broadside collisions are nearly always caused by driver negligence. Some of the common causes of broadside accidents include the following:

  • Driving through a four-way intersection without stopping
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way at a four-way intersection
  • Speeding up to try to beat a red light
  • Crossing turn lanes without waiting for oncoming cars
  • Distracted driving
  • Reckless or aggressive driving
  • Racing
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Mechanical problems like failed brakes
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Road rage

Dangers of side-impact collisions

When a vehicle is struck on the side, it absorbs the full impact of the crash at whatever speed the other vehicle is traveling. Even if your vehicle has side airbags, some of these collisions happen at such a great speed that the airbags cannot adequately protect you. Most drivers do not see the oncoming vehicle in time to take any evasive actions to avoid a side-impact crash, making the impact even greater. Drivers who strike other vehicles also may not engage the brakes and might be traveling at high rates of speed.

Proving a side-impact accident claim

To prove a side-impact collision claim, plaintiffs must show that the other driver was negligent and caused the accident and injuries. To prove negligence in this type of crash, attorneys might work with accident reconstruction experts to show what happened in the moments leading up to the accident. They might also have investigators contact all of the witnesses and interview them. Attorneys may gather any video evidence that might be available and review phone records, photographs, witness statements, police reports, and medical records to show the extent of the injuries suffered by the victims.

Many people who are seriously injured in broadside collisions face a staggering amount of medical expenses for their medical care and long-term rehabilitation and treatment. People who are injured in these types of collisions also may be unable to return to their jobs and face lifelong disabilities. Filing a personal injury claim after a side-impact collision might allow people to recover compensation for all of their pecuniary losses as well as their non-economic losses. Some of the recoverable damages in a side-impact collision claim might include the following:

  • Past, current, and future medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Past lost wages
  • Future reduction in your earnings capacity
  • Property losses
  • Funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death claims
  • Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death claims
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life
  • Loss of consortium and guidance

Get help from DiCindio Law

If you have suffered serious injuries or have lost your loved one in a broadside collision, you may be entitled to recover damages. Contact DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help by calling us at 610.430.3535.

Driving Under the Influence and Prescription Drugs

Many people in Pennsylvania are surprised to learn that they can be charged with DUI offenses for driving while they are impaired by prescription medications. People can be arrested and convicted of a DUI offense when they drive after taking certain prescription drugs. Even if you are taking legal medications that have been prescribed to you, you can be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs if your driving is affected. If you are facing a driving under the influence of drugs charge, DiCindio Law is available to help.

What are the elements of a DUI charge?

To be convicted of a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements:

  • The defendant drove, operated, or had actual physical control of a vehicle.
  • The defendant’s ability to drive was impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Impairment means that a driver’s ability to drive was impacted enough to prevent him or her from driving safely. People can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They can also be charged when they are impaired by a combination of alcohol and drugs.

Driving under the influence of legal drugs

Some drugs that are prescribed by doctors or purchased over-the-counter can cause people to be impaired and result in a DUI charge. People should read the warning labels of the drugs that they are prescribed or that they purchase over-the-counter to understand whether they might cause impairment.

Some common types of over-the-counter and prescription drugs that can cause impairment include the following:

  • Antidepressants with a sedating effect
  • Valium and other anti-anxiety drugs
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl
  • Decongestants
  • Sleeping pills
  • Hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other opioid drugs

Many medications can affect people’s motor skills, cognitive functioning, and coordination. Some of the types of side effects that can impair your driving ability include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Slowed movement and reaction times
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Fainting

People are affected by prescription and over-the-counter drugs in different ways. Medications that impair people’s judgment, concentration, motor skills, or alertness are just as dangerous to take before driving as alcohol.

In addition to prescription medications, some herbal supplements can also impact your ability to drive safely. For example, kombucha tea and some herbal supplements can impair your driving ability. If you drink kombucha tea, it can cause you to register a BAC reading on a breathalyzer test because it contains a small amount of alcohol.

Penalties for driving under the influence of prescription drugs

In Pennsylvania, people who are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs are prosecuted at the highest DUI tier. Unlike alcohol, there is not a set limit that is established for different levels of impairment. For a first DUI involving drugs, you can face from three days up to six months in jail, a fine from $1,000 to $5,000, a one-year license suspension, possible court-mandated treatment, and attendance at an alcohol highway safety program. The penalties are substantially worse for second or subsequent offenses.

Defenses to a DUI-D charge

When you meet with your attorney, he or she will evaluate your case to identify the defenses that might be raised. The defenses will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. For example, your attorney might challenge your stop if the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. He or she might review any field sobriety tests that you performed to check to see if they were properly administered by the officer. In some cases, people who are charged with driving under the influence of prescription drugs may be able to argue that they were not impaired.

If an officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you, your attorney might be able to get all of the evidence against you suppressed at a motion hearing. This could result in the dismissal of the charges against you. If the officer arrested you without sufficient probable cause, your arrest and subsequent evidence that was obtained might be suppressed. When evidence is suppressed, it means that the prosecutor cannot use it against you at trial. This makes the state’s case weaker and can result in a dismissal or a plea offer to reduced charges or non-DUI offenses.

Get help from DiCindio Law

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter drugs, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Michael DiCindio at DiCindio Law is experienced with handling DUI cases involving legal and illegal drugs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by filling out our contact form or calling us at 610.430.3535.

What is reasonable suspicion for a DUI stop?

Except for DUI checkpoints and roadblocks, police officers in Pennsylvania are only allowed to stop motorists when they have a reasonable suspicion that the motorists have committed violations or have engaged in criminal activities. If an officer has a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime or a traffic violation, the officer can stop and briefly detain you to conduct a limited investigation. If the officer suspects that you might be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs after stopping you, the officer might then ask you to perform field sobriety tests and submit to a preliminary breath test. If you are unsure whether the officer had a reasonable suspicion to support your stop, the legal team at DiCindio Law can review the evidence and provide you with some guidance.

What is reasonable suspicion?

Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard that requires officers to have an objectively reasonable basis for believing that you might have committed a violation or crime. It cannot be an inarticulable hunch. In other words, an officer can’t pull you over simply because he or she thinks that you look suspicious without other objective indicators that you have committed a traffic offense or crime. An officer can stop you for nearly any type of violation, including faulty equipment, speeding, erratic driving, or others.

Reasonable suspicion for performing a DUI stop might be based on any of the following types of observations:

  • Crossing the center line
  • Making an illegal turn
  • Weaving in and out of your lane
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Driving very slowly or erratically
  • Almost hitting other vehicles or objects
  • Braking frequently
  • Stopping in the road for no reason

An officer can pull you over for anything that the officer reasonably believes is a sign that you might be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An officer can also pull you over based on a reasonable suspicion that you committed a different offense and subsequently investigate further if he or she makes observations that lead him or her to suspect impairment.

An officer can sometimes form a reasonable suspicion that you were driving drunk even if he or she did not see you driving. For example, an officer might ask you to perform field sobriety tests after an accident or if you were found asleep behind the wheel of your car.

How does reasonable suspicion compare with probable cause?

Having reasonable suspicion allows a police officer to stop and detain a motorist temporarily so that the officer can investigate whether the motorist committed a traffic offense or crime. The officer must have more evidence to develop probable cause before he or she can place the motorist under arrest. Probable cause means that the officer has sufficient evidence to believe that the person has likely committed a crime, justifying an arrest. During a DUI stop, an officer might develop probable cause through his or her observations of the driver and the driver’s performance on field sobriety tests or the results from a preliminary breath test.

Probable cause is a standard used by judges when they evaluate arrests. If the facts support a reasonably objective belief that the person committed a crime, probable cause will be found. After an officer has a reasonable suspicion that a motorist has committed a traffic offense, he or she will work to develop additional evidence to support probable cause to arrest the driver for a DUI.

How to argue the officer lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause

It can be challenging to argue that an officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you or probable cause to arrest you. However, police officers sometimes make mistakes. If an officer made mistakes in how you were pulled over or in his or her investigation, your charges might be dismissed.

Your attorney will carefully analyze the reason why the officer stopped your vehicle to determine whether he or she had a reasonable suspicion that you committed a traffic offense or other crime. If the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion, all of the evidence that the officer gathered following the stop will be inadmissible. This means that your charges will be dismissed.

After an officer stops you, he or she will likely make observations to determine whether you might be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some of the things that an officer might look for include the following:

  • Acting suspiciously
  • Having trouble getting your license or registration
  • Odor of alcohol on your breath
  • Bloodshot, watery eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Statements that you make

If the officer makes observations that lead him or her to believe that you might be intoxicated, he or she will include all of the observations that he or she makes in the police report. For example, if an officer pulls you over after seeing you weave in and out of your lane, the officer might ask you if you have had any alcohol. He or she might then develop probable cause based on the observations that are made, your statements, your performance on the field sobriety tests, and results on the preliminary breath test.

If you are arrested for a DUI, you cannot refuse to submit to a post-arrest breath or blood test under Pennsylvania’s implied consent law. If you refuse to submit to a test, you will face civil penalties. If you are convicted of a DUI offense, a refusal will result in harsher penalties.

Get help from an experienced DUI attorney at DiCindio Law

When you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, it is a good idea to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer at DiCindio law can review your stop and determine whether the officer had a reasonable suspicion that you had committed a traffic offense. Your attorney can also review how the investigation was conducted to see if the officer had probable cause to support your arrest. Contact us today by filling out our contact form or calling us at 610.430.3535.

What does “BAC” stand for?

If you drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in any U.S. state, including Pennsylvania, you can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. If your BAC is significantly higher than that level, you can face more serious DUI penalties. While you might understand that the legal limit in Pennsylvania is 0.08%, you might wonder what that means, how much you can safely consume before driving, and how the police test your BAC level. At DiCindio Law, we defend people who have been charged with DUI offenses and believe that it is important for you to understand the following about your BAC.

What is your BAC?

BAC is an acronym that stands for blood alcohol concentration. This is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in your blood. As you drink, your BAC increases, and your level of impairment goes up. This means that your BAC is correlated with your impairment level, which is why the law uses it as a determining factor of whether people are under the influence of alcohol when they drive.
Common myths about BAC levels

To properly understand your BAC, you need to understand some of the common myths that people have about their BAC levels. Some people believe that they can drink coffee or eat food to sober up and lower their BAC levels. However, the only thing that you can do to reduce your BAC is to wait. Eating food after you have ingested alcohol or drinking coffee will not dilute the amount of alcohol in your blood. However, if you drink alcohol after you have a full stomach, the rate at which you absorb alcohol can be slowed. For this to work, however, you will need to eat before you drink alcohol and then limit the number of drinks that you consume.

Factors that affect a person’s BAC

The BAC level is affected by a person’s weight, gender, medication use, metabolism, and the rate at which the alcohol is consumed. You need to understand how all of these factors work together to understand your BAC level. We will take a quick look at each factor below.

Weight and your BAC level

People who do not weigh very much have less water in their bodies. This means that it will not take very much alcohol for their BAC levels to rise. By contrast, the bodies of heavier people contain more water, so they can drink more alcohol before their BACs reach the legal limit.

Gender and your BAC level

Men tend to weigh more than women, and their bodies contain more water than the bodies of women. Because of their extra water levels and added weights, men can consume more alcohol than women before they become impaired.

Medications and your BAC level

While certain types of medications might not increase your BAC level, they can interact with the alcohol in your blood and enhance its effects. You should avoid mixing medications with alcohol. Read your medication labels for all of the drugs that you take before you drink alcohol. Some medications, including certain cold medicines, contain alcohol. If you drink alcohol after you take medications that also contain alcohol, your BAC might be higher than you realize.

Your metabolism and your BAC

Your metabolism is the rate that your body metabolizes food, including alcohol. It varies between people and depends on genetic factors, the types of alcohol and food that are metabolized, and your body temperature. If you have a slower metabolism, you will have a higher BAC level than someone who drinks the same amount of alcohol but has a higher metabolism.

Your consumption rate and BAC

If you drink several drinks very quickly, your BAC will be higher. Drinking the same number of drinks over a long period will result in a lower BAC because your body will have more time to metabolize the alcohol.

What is the legal limit in Pennsylvania?

Under 75 Pa.C.S. 3802(a)(2), the legal limit for a general impairment DUI is 0.08%. However, if you are impaired by alcohol and have a lower BAC level, you can still be charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania. If your BAC is higher than 0.10%, you will face stiffer penalties. If it is higher than 0.16%, you will face the most severe penalties in the state.

How do the police measure BAC levels?

To determine the BAC levels of people who have been arrested on suspicion of committing DUI offenses, the police may use breath, blood, or urine tests. Urine tests are not used very often because of their unreliability. Blood tests can be difficult because some people are afraid of needles, and it can take weeks for the results to come back. This means that the police most frequently use breathalyzer tests to test the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. The police used to use partition ratios to determine how much alcohol was in the person’s blood based on their breath alcohol concentrations. Under the state’s DUI statute, it is unlawful to drive with a concentration of 0.08% of alcohol on your blood or breath. By including breath and blood alcohol concentrations in the DUI statute, the state has prevented litigation over the partition rates that were previously used to determine the blood alcohol concentration from the breath alcohol concentration.

How much you can drink before driving

As was previously explained, the amount that you can drink before reaching a 0.08% BAC will depend on multiple factors. Some people can drink more than others. Since every person is different, you should not compare how much you can drink to someone else’s rate of consumption. You should plan for a ride home when you are going out for drinks.

Get help from an experienced DUI defense lawyer

If you are facing DUI charges after submitting to a chemical test, you should get help from an experienced DUI defense lawyer. An attorney at DiCindio Law can review the evidence in your case and explain the defenses that might be available to you. Contact us today by filling out our contact form or calling us at 610.430.3535.

Charged With Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle or Structure In Pennsylvania

Luring a child into a structure or a motor vehicle is a serious crime in Pennsylvania and is considered to be a kidnapping offense. If you are convicted of this offense, it can have life-altering negative impacts that continue long after you have completed your sentence and your case has been closed. This type of offense is treated harshly by courts and prosecutors because it deals with children. This might mean that the prosecutor may be overzealous in his or her prosecution of you.

When you are charged with luring a child into a structure or motor vehicle, you should retain a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling both misdemeanors and serious felony cases. Michael DiCindio at DiCindio Law in West Chester is a highly-skilled former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney who has years of experience defending people who have been accused of all types of crimes, including luring. He can review your case and the evidence that is being used against you to identify the potential defenses that might be raised to your charges. Here is some information about luring a child into a structure or motor vehicle in Pennsylvania.

What is the crime of luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure?

Luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure is codified at 18 Pa.C.S. § 2910. Under this statute, luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure occurs when someone attempts to lure or lures a child into a structure or motor vehicle without having the implied or expressed consent of the parent of the child. When the child is younger than age 13, this offense is charged as a second-degree felony. If the child was 13 or older, this offense is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. In the plain language of the statute, it is not a defense to the felony charge that you had a mistaken belief that the child was 13 or older.

Depending on the reason that you allegedly lured or attempted to lure the child into your car or structure, you may also be charged with other crimes. For example, if you lured a child younger than age 13 and subsequently engaged in involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with him or her, you can be charged with both a first-degree felony for the sex offense and a second-degree felony for the luring offense, which could expose you to a very lengthy prison sentence.

Relevant definitions

To understand this statute, you need to understand the relevant definitions that apply to it under the law. A motor vehicle includes any device that is self-propelled and that allows you to transport yourself, including trucks, cars, SUVs, motorcycles, vans, buses, recreational vehicles, and others.

A structure includes any enclosed structure that is not open to the public and that is large enough to hold the child such as an apartment, house, barn, building, vessel, cargo container, and others. A child includes anyone younger than age 18.

What is luring?

In Pennsylvania, it is important to understand how luring is interpreted. Luring does not mean that you simply offered to give a child a lift to his or her house. Instead, it typically means that you used some type of inducement or enticement to try to get the child to get into your vehicle or to come inside of your structure.

An enticement could include many things, including the following examples:

  • Telling the child to get into your car to see your puppy
  • Telling the child that you will give him or her candy if he or she will get in your car
  • Telling the child that you will take him or her to an arcade if he or she gets into your vehicle
  • Telling the child that if he or she comes into your home, you will let him or her swim in your pool or play video games

An inducement is more similar to a command or threat and includes the following types of conduct:

  • Telling the child that you will harm him or her or his or her family if he or she does not get in your car or enter your structure
  • Telling the child that a parent is hurt to try to get him or her to get in your vehicle

What are the penalties for luring a child into a structure or motor vehicle

If you are convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor offense of luring a child who is 13 or older into your car or structure, you will face the following maximum penalties:

  • Prison for up to five years
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • Sex offender registration for 15 years

If you are convicted of luring a child who was younger than age 13, you will have a second-degree felony on your record. The maximum penalties will include the following:

  • Prison for up to 10 years
  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • Sex offender registration for 15 years

A felony conviction for luring will also cause you to lose some of your civil rights such as the right to possess and own a firearm, the right to perform jury duty, and the right to vote. The severity of the consequences for a luring conviction means that you should not take your charges lightly.

Collateral consequences of a luring conviction

Collateral consequences are other consequences that you might suffer outside of the court and penal system. A conviction for luring a child can lead to several collateral consequences that can have severe negative consequences beyond a prison sentence and fine.

People who are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony luring of a child will likely lose their jobs. They may also have problems securing employment in the future. If they have a professional license, a luring conviction can cause the loss of the license. Having a luring conviction can also cause you to lose your family and friends, and it can cause lasting harm to your reputation in the community. You can also have trouble finding a place to live or being approved for certain types of loans.

Potential defenses to luring

When you meet with Michael DiCindio at DiCindio Law, he will review the police reports, witness interviews, forensic interviews, and other evidence to identify potential problems with the state’s case against you and the potential defenses that might be raised in your case. One important fact to recognize is the prosecutor has the burden to prove that you committed the luring offense beyond a reasonable doubt. You do not have the burden of proving that you are innocent.

While it is true that the burden of proof is on the prosecutor, raising a strong defense is still important. Your attorney might identify constitutional problems with how the investigation was conducted and file evidentiary motions to try to suppress some of the evidence. For example, if it appears that a flawed identification procedure was used, your lawyer might file a motion to challenge the eyewitness identification of you as the person who lured the child.

Your lawyer may also review any videos that might exist of the child’s forensic interview by a trained clinical interviewer or a detective. Forensic interviews with children must be conducted in specific ways. Your lawyer might look to see if the child was led by the officer or interviewer into accusing you. If you were interrogated, the lawyer may review the custodial interrogation to see if your Miranda rights were violated or if any inculpatory statements that you made were coerced.

In addition to constitutional problems, your defense attorney will also review your case to see if one of the following types of defenses might be raised:

  • You didn’t lure the child and were instead trying to protect his safety or health
  • Other circumstances existed that made you believe that the child needed help
  • You were not the person who lured the child into a motor vehicle or structure
  • You were somewhere else when the offense occurred and have an alibi
  • You had the consent of the child’s parents to invite him or her into your home

The particular defenses that might apply in your case will depend on what happened. Your attorney may identify other defenses beyond these that can be raised.

What to do if you are arrested on suspicion of luring

If you are arrested and charged with luring a child into a structure or motor vehicle, do not resist the officer. You do not have to make any statements, and you should avoid making them. Do not think that you can talk your way out of an arrest or charge. You have the right to remain silent, and you should use that right.

If the officers try to question you about the alleged offense, tell them that you want to remain silent and that you want to talk to an attorney. When you assert your rights, the questioning must end. If you are held in jail, don’t talk about why you were arrested, and do not discuss anything about what happened to your friends or loved ones over the phone from the jail. Jail calls are recorded and can be used against you by the prosecutor.

You should never talk to the prosecutors or police without a lawyer being present. The things that you say can be used against you, and your statements may be taken out of context.

Once you retain an attorney, he or she will see if there is enough evidence for the prosecutor to be able to prove his or her case against you. If the reason for luring the child was lawful, your attorney will look for evidence showing that you asked the child to get into your car or to enter your structure for a lawful reason. If you had the parent’s consent, your attorney will try to find witnesses who can confirm that.

Get help from an experienced defense lawyer at DiCindio Law

Crimes against children and kidnapping offenses are viewed harshly in Pennsylvania. When you are facing a luring charge, you should anticipate that the prosecutor will be determined to secure a conviction and a harsh sentence. You should choose an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands how prosecutors build their cases so that he or she can anticipate the arguments that the prosecutor might raise and effectively counter them.

As a former prosecutor, Michael DiCindio at DiCindio Law clearly understands how prosecutors approach their cases. He has experience working on both sides and knows how to challenge evidence and build strong defense cases. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation by filling out our online contact form.

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office building.

Located in downtown West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania and built in 1900 – the firm’s building has undergone a top to bottom renovation/restoration with the idea of preserving and repairing the building to the beauty it once was and providing Mike’s client’s with a comfortable and accessible office location and atmosphere.

Mike DiCindio looks forward to continuing to serve his current and future client’s for years to come at this new location.

West Chester Criminal Lawyer and West Chester Personal Injury Lawyer

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What do I do when I am charged with a DUI

One of the first things that people call and ask is, “What do I do when I am charged  with a DUI”

The crime of Driving Under the Influence or “DUI” is likely the most commonly charged crime in Pennsylvania. With law enforcement targeting DUI offenders – people from all walks of life are being arrested and prosecuted.

Anyone who is arrested and charged with a DUI is going to have concerns about what they will be facing moving forward. Will I go to jail? How much is this going to cost? Will my employer find out? How long will I lose my license for? All of these are normal concerns of a first offender or of someone who has prior driving under the influence convictions or arrest. Further, not only are these normal . . . they are questions that are important for you to have answers to. Some things you can do.

1. Write down as much as you can about what you remember from the evening of the arrest. When determining what the best course of action or litigation strategy is for your case every detail may matter and may impact your case or the way in which your criminal defense lawyer proceeds. Nothing is insignificant.

2. Contact and hire an attorney. DUI cases may be common but they still impact your livelihood, reputation, finances and liberty. Now is the time to find an attorney who you trust to protect your interests and defend you in your case. There are no guarantees in criminal law.  Now is the time that you need to have your questions answered and understand what the different potential outcomes may be. While a strategy should be put in place quickly it is important to still understand that we as criminal defense lawyers do not always have all the information needed immeidately in order to properly decide how is best to proceed this early on.

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense - Conspiracy Cases

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

3. Ask questions. There is no question that you have that shouldn’t be asked. This is a significant event for you and the outcome very well may impact you in some manner for the remainder of your life. You do not want to look back in a few years and question what you did and/or why you didn’t do something with your case. No attorney worth hiring will make you uncomfortable or be bothered by your questions. Some things to think about:

a. Cost
b. Punishment
c. Trial issues
d. Time Frames/Length of the case
e. Pre-Trial Motions
f. Diversionary Courts/First Offender Programs and options
g. Things you can begin to do to help your case

These are just a few of the many things that you should be thinking about and doing when you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DUI. If you have any questions or are facing DUI charges call Mike DiCindio directly today.

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The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes to the law that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments or the most complete legal issues for all cases 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

When Someone is Charged with Possession of Child Pornography

Criminal Defense Chester County

West Chester Child Pornography Attorney

A large amount of law enforcement resources and efforts are spent on investigating and prosecuting those who make, possess or view child pornography.  Child pornography cases are intensely involved criminal matters where not only are the criminal penalties severe but the damage to personal reputation and career are potentially irreversible – even when one is charged unjustly.  Beyond the severe criminal punishment lies the potential of long-term or life registration as a sex offender.  Further, in many cases there is a potential that the federal government will adopt the case and prosecute it in Federal Court – leading to potentially even more serious punishment.

When someone is charged with a child pornography crime there are many investigative avenues that need to be explored.  Most of the time these charges involve computers / the internet – meaning an expert in computer forensics may provide a potential defense.  Mental health and the potential of reoffending is also a concern in many of these cases meaning that mental health professionals may be employed to help mitigate cases / sentences.  It is also important to understand that the age of the children depicted in the child pornography will potentially enhance the punishment one is facing which may become an issue that will be litigated.

Child pornography cases are involved and emotional.  Despite the fear one may feel after being charged it is crucial to hire an attorney experienced in these matters and one who is able to evaluate all potential options to provide the best defense strategy before moving forward.


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes to the law that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments or the most complete legal issues for all cases 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

Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana – Other forms

Sentencing guidelines provide Courts in Pennsylvania with the ability to have a standard range of sentences that are imposed for certain similarly situated offenders and crimes.  One of the major aims of these guidelines is to have a level of consistency in sentencing.  Each crime is assigned an offense gravity score which when combined with an offender’s prior record score on a sentencing grid provides the sentencing guidelines (all established by the legislature).

One common drug charge in Pennsylvania is distribution of marijuana.  Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana is a crime that is common but has also become more complicated in recent years.  In the past the only substance that was typically being sold or possessed was the actual marijuana / seeds or the plant alone.  Recently, possessing oils and other forms of THC outside of the plant and seeds creates enhanced potential sentencing penalties – and is being seen more often.  In a case where only marijuana is possessed and/or sold the sentencing guidelines may not be as high as they would be in the event that THC oil was possessed and/or sold.  This is because the THC oil is not included in the definition of marijuana in the controlled substance act of Pennsylvania. Therefore, it would be treated as a general schedule I/II controlled substance which has a higher offense gravity score under PA law.

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense - Conspiracy Cases

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

Despite the recent decriminalization talks throughout the country and the state it is important to remember that marijuana is illegal in Pennsylvania and possessing different forms of it may create complications or higher potential penalties.

 “Marihuana” consists of all forms, species and/or varieties of the genus Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not;  the seeds thereof;  the resin extracted from any part of such plant;  and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin;  but shall not include tetrahydrocannabinols, the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination. (See, Pennsylvania Statutes Title 35 P.S. Health and Safety § 780-102 § 780-102. Definitions


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes to the law that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments or the most complete legal issues for all cases 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