Were you recently accused of committing a violent crime in West Chester? DiCindio Law, LLC has years of experience representing clients in complex criminal cases like yours. Call us at (610) 430-3535 to schedule a free consultation today with an experienced West Chester violent crimes lawyer.
The state of Pennsylvania prosecutes violent crimes harshly. You need an attorney who will aggressively fight to help you avoid prison time, monetary penalties, and a permanent criminal record. Prosecutors know that we don’t back down from a fight–and we’re ready to fight for you.
Call our law firm, located in Chester County, Pennsylvania or contact us here.
How DiCindio Law, LLC Can Help Me if I’m Being Arrested for a Violent Crime in Chester County, PA?
If you’re accused of a violent crime, you should expect police and prosecutors to throw the full weight of their resources into convicting you. You deserve an experienced West Chester criminal defense attorney who can stand up for your rights.
At DiCindio Law, LLC, our team is led by a former prosecutor who knows the ropes. We understand the scare tactics that prosecutors often use to convince people to accept unfair plea bargains. We also know how to fight back.
When you hire us to protect you, you can expect a lawyer to:
- Conduct a full and independent investigation into the allegations
- Hire respected experts to challenge forensic evidence and help with other aspects of your case
- Help you understand all of your legal options, including available plea bargains
- Negotiate with the prosecution to get the best deal possible
- Stand up for your rights before a judge and jury in court if necessary
To learn more about how we’ll use our experience to help you, call our West Chester criminal defense attorneys for legal advice today.
Overview of Violent Crimes in Pennsylvania
If you’re facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania, you need a lawyer who knows how to defend your rights aggressively.
At DiCindio Law, LLC, we handle all types of criminal cases, including those alleging:
- Murder and homicide
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse
- Criminal trespass
- Terroristic threats
- Weapons offenses
If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s important to understand the elements of the crime. State prosecutors are required to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you. Our West Chester violent crimes attorneys are here to make that as difficult as possible.
Some of the most commonly charged violent crimes in Chester County include:
Criminal homicide is the primary criminal statute that punishes defendants who cause the death of another person.
Criminal homicide is classified as either:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Involuntary manslaughter
Generally speaking, Pennsylvania law defines criminal homicide as intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently causes the death of another human being.
Homicide, or murder, is one of the most serious crimes a person can commit. In Pennsylvania, it’s possible to be convicted of:
- Murder of the first degree
- Murder of the second degree
- Murder of the third degree
Murder of the first degree is defined to include intentional killing. Criminal homicide is classified as murder of the second degree if the defendant causes someone else’s death while committing another felony. Murder of the third degree is any other type of murder.
While the name of the offense can be confusing, murder of the third degree is punishable as a first-degree felony. If convicted of murder of the first degree, you could face a life sentence in prison if it’s not a death penalty case.
Voluntary manslaughter is the unjustified killing of another human being. Under Pennsylvania state law, the prosecution may charge you with voluntary manslaughter in situations where:
- Someone provoked you and you killed that person in the heat of passion
- You were provoked and accidentally killed someone who didn’t provoke you
- You intentionally or knowingly killed someone and believed that the killing was justified, but your belief was unreasonable
Voluntary manslaughter is a first-degree felony.
State prosecutors usually charge people with involuntary manslaughter in situations where:
- Your actions are grossly negligent or reckless
- You cause someone else’s death while acting negligently or recklessly
Typically, involuntary manslaughter is a first-degree misdemeanor. However, the charges can be elevated to a second-degree felony if the victim was under age 12 and in your care or custody at the time of death.
Assault and Aggravated Assault
Assault in Pennsylvania is classified as simple or aggravated assault.
You can be charged with simple assault for:
- Attempting to cause bodily injury
- Knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person
- Negligently causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon
- Threatening serious bodily injury using “physical menace”
You can be charged with simple assault even if you don’t actually cause someone physical harm. Instead, police and prosecutors often focus on the threat of harm or the intent to cause harm. Simple assault is usually a second-degree misdemeanor. In cases involving a mutual fight, the charges are downgraded to a third-degree misdemeanor.
Aggravated assault is a much more serious violent crime. You can be charged with aggravated assault for causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury. Under Pennsylvania criminal laws, a serious bodily injury is one that puts someone at high risk of death or permanent injury.
Prosecutors can also charge you with aggravated assault if you use a deadly weapon or firearm while committing assault.
Robbery is a type of theft accomplished through the use of violence or force. State prosecutors can convict you for robbery if they can prove that you did one of the following while you were committing another type of theft crime:
- Inflicted serious bodily injury on another person
- Threatened someone with serious bodily injury or intentionally put someone in fear of immediate serious bodily injury
- Commited or threatened to commit another first or second-degree felony
- Inflicted or threatened to inflict bodily injury
- Physically took or removed the property through use of force
- Took or demanded money from a financial institution, if you demanded that an employee hand over the money
Depending on the circumstances, robbery can be classified as a first, second, or third-degree felony under Pennsylvania state law.
Rape and Sexual Assault
Sex crimes are often extremely violent in nature. Unsurprisingly, Pennsylvania law enforcement officials prosecute these cases harshly.
Rape is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with a victim:
- Using force or threats of force that would prevent a reasonable person from resisting
- When the victim is unconscious
- When the assailant knows the victim is unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring
- Where the assailant has used the date rape drug, alcohol or another substance to prevent the victim from resisting
- When the victim is incapable of consenting because of a mental disability
- When the victim is a child who is under age 13
Pennsylvania defines sexual assault as engaging in sexual intercourse without the other person’s consent. Whereas rape is a first-degree felony, sexual assault is a second-degree felony under Pennsylvania law.
What are the Penalties for Violent Crimes in Chester County, Pennsylvania?
The penalties for committing a violent crime are harsh. However, the exact penalties depend on how your offense is graded.
Under Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines, the following general guidelines apply:
- Third-degree misdemeanor: one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
- Second-degree misdemeanor: two years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines
- First-degree misdemeanor: five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines
- Third-degree felony: seven years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines
- Second-degree felony: ten years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
- First-degree felony: a potential for life in prison or the death penalty, in addition to monetary penalties
Judges do have leeway in assigning penalties. In other cases, mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines will apply. Often, the skill of your lawyer is extremely important in reducing your penalties during the sentencing process.
To learn more about our practice areas and how our violent crimes defense lawyers can help, call for a free initial consultation today.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of a Violent Crime?
If you were charged with a criminal offense, it may be possible to have your charges downgraded or even dismissed. However, you’ll need a strong defense strategy.
Some of the most effective defense strategies in cases involving violent crimes include:
- Lack of evidence
- Challenges to witness credibility
- Mistaken identity
- Police bias
- False allegations
- Constitutional violations
At DiCindio Law, LLC, we build a custom-tailored defense strategy for every client we represent. Would you like to have an experienced lawyer recommend a defense strategy in your case? Call our law offices to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a West Chester Violent Crimes Lawyer
Were you or a loved one accused of a violent crime in Chester County, Delaware County, or the surrounding areas? Your future and freedom are on the line.
Call an experienced West Chester violent crimes lawyer at DiCindio Law, LLC for a free case review today. We’re ready to get started fighting for you.