What is manslaughter

What is manslaughter?

 

In Pennsylvania, two types of manslaughter are recognized in the law, including voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. While these crimes are criminal homicides, they are less serious than murder charges. If you have been charged with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, you should talk to Michael DiCindio at DiCindio Law to learn about your rights and the defenses that might be raised.

Definition of voluntary manslaughter in Pennsylvania

Voluntary manslaughter is defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2503. According to this statute, a defendant is guilty of voluntary manslaughter when he or she kills someone else without legal justification and he or she was acting under the heat of passion that results from serious provocation by the following people:

  • the victim who is killed; or
  • A third person that the defendant tries to kill but accidentally kills the victim instead

A second way in which voluntary manslaughter can be committed is when the defendant kills someone when he or she has an unreasonable belief that the killing is legally justified. To determine whether a killing happened in the heat of passion because of provocation by the victim or a third person, the provoking circumstances will be reviewed objectively. The provoking act must be of such a nature that it would have caused an emotional or passionate reaction in a reasonable person.

If you had time to cool down after the provocation and when you committed the killing, you will not be eligible for a voluntary manslaughter charge and will likely be charged with murder instead. To determine whether you had enough time to calm down between the provoking act and the killing, the state will look at all of the events leading up to the homicide. If enough time passed, the prosecutor may charge the defendant with murder instead.

The unreasonable belief form of voluntary manslaughter refers to a mistaken belief that you needed to use deadly force to protect yourself or someone else from the victim. If the prosecutor can prove that you escalated or created a dangerous situation, the prosecutor may charge you with murder.

Defenses to voluntary manslaughter charges

The defenses that might be raised to voluntary manslaughter charges will depend on the facts and circumstances of how the killing occurred. Some of the defenses might include the following:

  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others
  • Battered women’s syndrome
  • Accidental death with no criminal intent when you were engaged in a lawful action

Penalties for voluntary manslaughter in Pennsylvania

Voluntary manslaughter is a felony in Pennsylvania. If you are convicted of this offense, you can face up to 20 years in prison.

Involuntary manslaughter in Pennsylvania

Involuntary manslaughter is codified at 18 Pa.C.S. § 2504. Unlike other types of criminal homicide in Pennsylvania, involuntary manslaughter does not require that you had an intent to kill the victim. Instead, involuntary manslaughter is reserved for situations in which the killings were unintentional. Involuntary manslaughter is punished by the state to try to prevent activities that are performed with gross negligence or in reckless disregard for human life.

Prosecutors are required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendants who are charged with involuntary manslaughter caused the deaths by engaging in grossly negligent or reckless conduct while they were engaging in unlawful or lawful activity. For example, a person may be charged with involuntary manslaughter if he or she recklessly drove a car and caused the death of the victim. The prosecutor must be able to show the link between the defendant’s negligent or reckless conduct and the death of the victim. If the defendant’s conduct cannot be directly or substantially linked to the victim’s death, the prosecutor may not be able to prove a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Gross negligence or reckless disregard can be proven by the prosecutor by using a reasonable person standard. This involves a comparison between the defendant’s actions to the standard of care that would be expected of a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances. The prosecutor may also analyze whether the defendant ignored an existing danger or continued with his or her activity after substantial risks were obvious.

Defenses to involuntary manslaughter charges

Some of the possible defenses to charges of involuntary manslaughter include the following:

  • The defendant’s actions were not a direct or substantial cause of the death of the victim
  • The killing was accidental and occurred while the defendant was engaged in lawful activity and was not acting with criminal intent, gross negligence, or reckless disregard

It is important to note that Pennsylvania does not allow defendants to raise a defense of voluntary intoxication to involuntary manslaughter charges.

Penalties for involuntary manslaughter

Pennsylvania classifies involuntary manslaughter as a first-degree misdemeanor offense in most cases. A conviction for this offense carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

However, if you committed involuntary manslaughter of a child who was younger than age 12 while serving as the child’s custodian, caregiver, or parent, the offense is charged as a second-degree felony. A conviction for felony involuntary manslaughter can include from five to 10 years in prison.

Some examples of activities that can lead to a charge of involuntary manslaughter include the following:

  • Reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Speeding or other traffic offenses
  • Child neglect
  • The improper withholding of medical care from a person who dies

Get help from DiCindio Law

If you are facing voluntary or involuntary manslaughter charges, contact DiCindio Law to schedule a free consultation. We can be reached at 610-430-3535 24 hours per day and seven days per week.

What Is a Motion to Dismiss?

In a personal injury case, either party may file a motion asking the court to dismiss the case. In general, the party that most often files a motion to dismiss is the defendant to the lawsuit. Commonly, defendants will file motions to dismiss in the early stages of a case. Plaintiffs may file a motion to dismiss when they have reached a settlement, when there is a procedural defect, or when they want to voluntarily withdraw their claims. If you have filed a personal injury claim, the defendant may file a motion to dismiss called a motion for summary judgment. At DiCindio Law, we can explain how these types of motions are handled so that you can understand what to expect.

Applicable rules of procedure

Under USCS Fed Rules Civ. Proc. R. 41, a plaintiff in a federal case is allowed to voluntarily dismiss his or her own case. To do this, a plaintiff can file a notice of dismissal with the court before the defendant has filed his or her response. Alternatively, a plaintiff can file a stipulation of the dismissal that is signed by all of the parties that have appeared in the case. Unless it is included in the stipulation, the dismissal will be without prejudice, which means that the plaintiff could refile the claim at a later date.

A defendant may raise preliminary objections to a complaint by filing a motion to dismiss in which one of the defenses that are found in USCS Fed Rules Civ. Proc. R. 12(b) applies. These defenses include the following:

  • No personal jurisdiction
  • No subject-matter jurisdiction
  • Insufficient service of process
  • Insufficient process
  • Improper venue
  • The plaintiff failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted
  • The plaintiff failed to join an indispensable party

It is common for defendants to file motions to dismiss for the plaintiff’s failure to state a claim. When this type of motion to dismiss is filed, the defendant claims that even if everything that the plaintiff has alleged is true, it does not amount to something that supports the legal grounds for a claim for which relief can be granted.

In personal injury cases that are filed in the Court of Common Pleas, defendants can file motions to dismiss based on preliminary objections under 231 Pa. Code R. 1028. Under this rule, the preliminary objections that can be raised are limited to the following defenses:

  • Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter or over the person
  • Improper venue
  • Improper service
  • Failure of the pleading to conform to the law or the inclusion of impertinent or scandalous material
  • Insufficient specificity
  • Demurrer
  • Nonjoinder of an essential party or a lack of capacity to sue
  • Agreement for an alternative dispute resolution procedure or the pendency of a prior action

Similar to federal court, a plaintiff can also file a motion to dismiss a case at any time.

When a motion to dismiss is filed

Defendants normally file motions to dismiss based on the preliminary objections at the start of a lawsuit. These are commonly filed as a demurrer, which is a motion to dismiss based on the legal insufficiency of a claim. The motion may focus on the allegations that are contained in the complaint together with any exhibits that have been submitted in support of it.

A party may file a motion to dismiss when he or she believes the complaint is not legally valid. One famous example of this occurred when Bill Cosby’s defense lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him before his retrial because they believed that the criminal conduct occurred outside of the limitations period. The judge ruled against the motion because the date of the assault was a matter to be decided at the trial and not at the time of the motion.

Understanding the grounds for filing a motion to dismiss

The grounds for a motion to dismiss are claims of legal deficiencies. Here is a brief description of each of the previously listed grounds.

A motion to dismiss for insufficient or improper service of process claims that the complaint and summons were not properly served. A motion to dismiss based on the expiration of the statute of limitations is filed when a complaint is filed outside of the limitations period. A motion to dismiss based on a lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be filed when a court does not have the jurisdiction to hear a particular type of case. A similar motion to dismiss for a lack of personal jurisdiction may be filed when the court does not have personal or in personam jurisdiction over the defendant. For a Pennsylvania court to have personal jurisdiction over a party, the party must be a resident of the jurisdiction or must have a sufficient number of contacts with it.

Even in cases in which a court may have personal jurisdiction, it might not be the proper venue. This can form the basis for a motion to dismiss based on an improper venue. There are a number of different requirements that a complaint must follow when it is filed. The court may grant a motion to dismiss for the plaintiff’s failure to state a claim when the complaint does not allege all of the required elements of a legal claim or if it does not allege an injury that is measurable.

Motion for summary judgment

Another type of motion that may be filed is called a motion for summary judgment. This type of motion may be filed by any party, but it is commonly filed by defendants. Summary judgment motions are filed after the pleadings are closed. Under 231 Pa. Code R. 1035.2, this motion may be filed when there is no triable issue of material fact for a specific element. It might also be filed after discovery as been completed when the plaintiff has failed to produce any evidence of an essential fact.

How a motion to dismiss is filed

Defendants normally file motions to dismiss based on preliminary objections after the complaint has been filed but before they have responded to it with their answers. If the court denies a motion to dismiss based on preliminary objections, the defendant will still be required to file an answer within a specific time period. If the reasons for the dismissal are not included in the first filing, they will be considered to be waived.

Like other pleadings and motions, a motion to dismiss has to be filed with the court, and the other party must be properly served. If you are a plaintiff and you receive a motion to dismiss based on preliminary objections, you will be given a chance to respond to it. The court will review the competing motions and will make a ruling at a hearing.

How courts rule on motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment

In general, judges view the facts and allegations as true and view them in a light that is most favorable to the plaintiffs. This makes it hard for defendants to win motions to dismiss or summary judgment motions. If a court rules in favor of the defendant on a motion to dismiss, the case may be dismissed with or without prejudice. If the court dismisses it with prejudice, the plaintiff will not be allowed to refile the case.

If the court grants a defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff can file an appeal of the decision. If the Court of Appeals reverses the ruling, the case will be returned to the Court of Common Pleas for further proceedings.

The court is allowed to issue a sua sponte dismissal on its own without either party asking it to do so. The court can dismiss a case on its own when there are grounds to dismiss the case. For example, if the parties did not raise an objection to the venue at the time the case was filed, the court can still dismiss it if the venue is improper.

Why getting help from an experienced personal injury attorney is important

In Pennsylvania, you are allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit on your own without the help of an attorney. However, it is a better idea for you to seek help from an experienced lawyer instead of filing a lawsuit on your own. People who file lawsuits on their own are called pro se plaintiffs. Even if you do not have a legal background, you will be expected to know and to follow the same procedural rules as attorneys do. You will also need to understand the different types of pleadings, the various filing deadlines, and how to properly state a legal claim. If you file a legally insufficient complaint, you run the risk of the case being dismissed.

An attorney can review what happened in your case and explain whether or not you have a winnable claim. If legal grounds do not exist, an attorney will explain that to you. If an attorney agrees to accept representation, he or she can draft the complaint for you in a manner that complies with the legal requirements and to make certain that it is properly served on the defendant. A lawyer may be better able to identify all of the potential defendants who should be named in the case as well as all of the parties that are indispensable.

Getting help from an experienced personal injury litigator can help you to avoid making potentially costly errors. It can also help you to make certain that you meet all of the required deadlines and follow the rules. An attorney can also help to preserve your rights by making timely objections so that the record will be preserved if you need to file an appeal at a later date.

Contact the DiCindio Law office for help

If you have been injured because of the actions or omissions of another person or entity. you may have legal rights to recover compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against those who are responsible. However, it is important for you to make certain that your pleadings are drafted correctly and that they present valid legal grounds to state a claim for which relief can be granted under the law. Michael DiCindio is an experienced litigator, former prosecutor, personal injury lawyer, and criminal defense attorney who has a deep understanding of the law and the rules of procedure. To learn more about your potential claim, contact DiCindio Law today by calling us at 610.430.3535 to schedule a free consultation.

Pennsylvania Points System: What You Need To Know

Getting a traffic ticket in West Chester, Pennsylvania can be more than a minor annoyance. When you are found guilty of committing a moving violation, you will receive points on your record from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The point system that is used in the state keeps track of your behavior while you drive. If you accumulate too many points, your insurance rates will increase. You can also have your driver’s license suspended when you have too many points or immediately for certain offenses. Getting help from an experienced traffic lawyer at DiCindio Law may help you to avoid accumulating too many points and getting a license suspension. If you depend on your ability to drive to get to work, to run errands, or to go to school, getting too many points on your driving record can cause major disruptions in your life.

Points and license suspensions in Pennsylvania

When you reach six points or more on your Pennsylvania driving record, you will be in danger of having your driving privileges suspended. The number of points that can cause you to lose your license will depend on your age and on the type of license that you have. If you have a commercial driver’s license, you may receive higher points and face an immediate suspension of your license for certain types of traffic citations.

Points for young drivers

If you are under the age of 18, PennDOT will issue a license suspension if you accumulate six points on your record or if you are ticketed for and convicted of driving more than 26 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. If it is your first license suspension, it will last for 90 days. If it is a second or subsequent suspension, it will last for 120 days.

Points for adult drivers

If you are an adult driver, your license will not necessarily be suspended when you accumulate six points on your driving record. Instead, you may have some alternatives available to you that depend on the number of times that you have accumulated six points on your record.

If it is the first time that you have accumulated six or more points, you will have the option of taking a written exam. As long as you take it and pass it within 30 days, your license will not be suspended, and two points will be removed from your record. If you fail to take the test and to pass it within 30 days of receiving the notice from PennDOT, your license will be suspended.

If you accumulate six or more points on your record for the second time, you will have to attend a hearing. A PennDOT hearing officer will decide whether your license should be suspended for 15 days or whether you will be allowed to take an on-the-road test to remove two points. If your license is suspended for 15 days, two points will be subtracted from your record after it is completed. Finally, the hearing officer can also choose not to take any action against you.

If you accumulate six or more points for the third time, you will have to go to a hearing at the department. The examiner will decide whether your license should be suspended for 30 days.

Several traffic tickets may result in an immediate suspension of your license, including the following:

  • DUI – Can result in a license suspension of up to 18 months
  • Driving 31 miles per hour over the speed limit – Can result in a 15-day suspension of your license
  • Accumulating 11 or more points on your driving record

If you accumulate 11 or more points, the length of your suspension will be determined by the number of times you have previously been suspended. If it is your first suspension, you will receive a suspension of five days per point. If it is your second suspension, it will last for 10 days per point. If it is your third suspension, it will last for 15 days per point. For all subsequent license suspensions, they will last for one year.

If you have received tickets in the past, you need to know how many points you have on your driving record. You can check with PennDOT to find out.

The point schedule

Traffic offenses have point penalties that depend on their seriousness. We have included some common types of moving violations and their point penalties below. To see a complete schedule, you can look at the Pennsylvania point system fact sheet.

Low-point violations

Low-point violations add fewer points to your record. Some examples of low-point violations include the following:

  • Not yielding to a pedestrian at a crosswalk – two points
  • Driving too fast for the conditions – two points
  • Failing to stop at a red light – three points
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign – three points
  • Tailgating – three points
  • Careless driving – three points
  • Speeding by six to 10 miles per hour above the speed limit – two points
  • Illegal u-turn – three points
  • Speeding by 11 to 15 miles per hour above the speed limit – three points

high-point traffic violations

Some violations are considered to be serious and add higher point penalties to your record. Some examples of high-point traffic violations include the following:

  • Not stopping at a railroad crossing – four points
  • Hit-and-run accident that causes property damage – four points
  • Speeding 16 to 25 miles per hour above the speed limit – four points
  • Speeding 26 to 30 miles per hour above the speed limit – five points
  • Speeding 31 miles per hour or more above the speed limit – five points
  • Not stopping for a school bus with flashing red lights – five points

If you receive a citation for a serious traffic offense, you will likely need to go to court to fight it.

Good drivers enjoy lower auto insurance rates

Accumulating points on your driving record can cause your insurance rates to go up. You can drop points from your record. If you drive for 12 consecutive months without having your license suspended and without committing another moving violation, three points will be removed from your driving record. If you can keep zero points on your record for 12 or more months, you will be treated as if you have never accumulated points.

Contact the DiCindio Law Firm

Most moving violations in Pennsylvania add points to your record if you plead guilty to them. Getting help from an experienced traffic law attorney at the DiCindio Law Firm might help you to secure a plea offer for a non-moving violation so that you do not add points to your record. An attorney may also help you to fight serious traffic offense charges to protect your driving privileges. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

How to beat a DUI

How to Beat a Driving Under the Influence (DUI)  Case

     DUI/driving under the influence offenses are some of the most frequently charged criminal offenses in the Pennsylvania. When someone is charged with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense they may immediately feel a sense of hopelessness because their liberty, driving privileges and reputation may be impacted.  This article is not meant to highlight some of the main ways someone can challenge a DUI case.

     There are programs that may permit you to avoid conviction if you are a first offender. For second or third (plus) offenders there may be treatment court options or intermediate punishment programs. This article is solely meant as an overview of the  litigation points of attack that need to be evaluated in every DUI case. Also, this is not to say that there will ALWAYS be legitimate issues in the following categories – these are the issues that a defense attorney (any worth his/her fee) MUST evaluate before making a recommendation to his client in any DUI case.

     First – the legality of the of the stop: Before any law-enforcement officer may stop a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania they must possess either reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Therefore, the first battle ground in any DUI case is whether or not the arresting officer possessed the needed legal justification to pull over and/or come into contact with the driver of the vehicle.  In these situations if the stop is found to be illegal/unconstitutional then all of the evidence that flows from it will be suppressed. If the stop is suppressed than the case must be dismissed.

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

     Second –  whether the officer possessed the requisite legal justification to take the driver individual for a chemical test of their breath or blood: Observations, field sobriety tests, defendant admissions, portable breath tests and more play into this evaluation. There are times where there is not the requisite legal justification to take an individual for further/formal chemical test of their breath or blood.  When that is the case the results of the chemical test are suppressed and not permitted into evidence.

     Finally – issues that may present themselves at trial: These issues typically involve two main categories outside of what has already been addressed.  One of the main issues at trial is the factual argument that an individual was not driving. That is not always a defense that is available to him/her for obvious reasons.  Another argument is based upon the scientific accuracy of the chemical tests of the breath/ blood.

     There are many other arguments and defenses that may present themselves in DUI case.  Each and every factual scenario is unique and this is not an exhaustive list by any means.  Before making any decision in any criminal DUI / driving under the influence case – at a very minimum, these issues should be examined, evaluated and understood before deciding on a strategy.


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.

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

Rule 600 in Pennsylvania

The wheels of justice turn slowly. An old saying that we who practice in the criminal defense field think about weekly – if not daily. Even though the slow crawl that criminal cases sometimes take is to be expected at times, it is important to understand that as an individual charged with a crime in the state of Pennsylvania, you have a right to a prompt trial and resolution to your case.

Criminal Defense Chester County

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

First, it must be noted that the prompt trial rule or “Rule 600” is different than the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the amount of time that the government has to CHARGE an individual with a crime or forever be barred from doing so. Rule 600 and the prompt trial requirements instead deal with the amount of time the government has to prosecute a person once they have been charged.

There are two main portions of Rule 600. First, that the government has 365 days to commence trial once charges have been brought. If they do not do that, a motion must be filed by the defense and the charges will be dismissed with prejudice if a violation of this time limit has been found by the Court. Second, no person may be held in custody on bail for longer than 180 from the commencement of the prosecution. If this occurs the defense must file a motion and if a violation is found by the Court the defendant will be placed on nominal bail.

Obviously, this is subject to limitations and the unique circumstances of each case dictate the strength of a Rule 600 motion. For example, one of the main limitations is that time extensions requested by the defense or not attributable to the prosecution are not counted in the 365 or 180 day time period – among other things.

If you or a loved one believe that you may have a prompt trial issue or if you have been charged with a criminal offense at all, contact Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. at DiCindio Law, LLC for all of your criminal needs and begin preparing your defense 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, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

Endangering the Welfare of a Child due to a DUI

If you are caught driving under the influence / DUI and have a child in the vehicle who is under the age of 18, you may be charged with the crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child carries severe penalties under the state’s sentencing guidelines.  These penalties are above and beyond what you would be facing for the DUI itself.  While there are different elements for the crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child offense, case law has supported the proposition that driving DUI with a child in the vehicle is enough to prove those added elements of the Endangering the Welfare of a Child offense.

Being convicted of Endangering the Welfare of a Child based on a DUI charge can create irreparable consequences to you – personally and professionally – act fast.

As with any case, specific arguments based on the circumstances and factual scenario dictate the likelihood of conviction.  This makes it crucial to thoroughly investigate your case and formulate a strong defense strategy if you are charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child due to a DUI / driving under the influence offense.  Having an Endangering the Welfare of a Child offense on your record can create irreparable consequences to your reputation and can potentially create clearance issues if you are an individual who works with children professionally.

If you have been charged with a DUI / driving under the influence offense or any other crime, contact Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. at DiCindio Law, LLC today.

The language of Section 4304 the Endangering Welfare of Children statute

  • 4304. Endangering welfare of children.
    (a) Offense defined.–
    (1) A parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years of age, or a person that employs or supervises such a person, commits an offense if he knowingly endangers the welfare of the child by violating a duty of care, protection or support.
    (2) A person commits an offense if the person, in an official capacity, prevents or interferes with the making of a report of suspected child abuse under 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to child protective services).
    (3) As used in this subsection, the term “person supervising the welfare of a child” means a person other than a parent or guardian that provides care, education, training or control of a child.
    (b) Grading.–
    (1) Except as provided under paragraph (2), the following apply:
    (i) An offense under this section constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree.
    (ii) If the actor engaged in a course of conduct of endangering the welfare of a child, the offense constitutes a felony of the third degree.
    (iii) If, in the commission of the offense under subsection (a)(1), the actor created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, the offense constitutes a felony of the third degree.
    (iv) If the actor’s conduct under subsection (a)(1) created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury and was part of a course of conduct, the offense constitutes a felony of the second degree.
    (2) The grading of an offense under this section shall be increased one grade if, at the time of the commission of the offense, the child was under six years of age.

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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