Violent Crimes

Generally, when an average citizen thinks of crime, it is a violent crime that comes to mind first. This is because violent crime is a category that covers a wide range of offenses involving some sort of violence, from misdemeanors like simple assault to felonies such as murder. Understandably, law enforcement officers take alleged violations of these offenses very seriously – so it is imperative to begin your defense immediately upon investigation or arrest to ensure that your rights are protected.

Philadelphia Violent Crime Defense Attorney

With nearly a decade of experience working in various roles in the Pennsylvania justice system, Joseph Lento is a qualified Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of how a criminal case operates from start to finish, and beyond.

If you have been charged with a violent crime in Philadelphia and need a comprehensive, customized defense, contact the attorneys at Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento built his practice on the ideals of customer service and justice and he will fight for your rights and freedom. Call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do to clear your name.

An Overview of Pennsylvania's Laws on Violent Crimes

Common Violent Crimes and Their Penalties

A violent crime is as it sounds – any offense against Pennsylvania code that involves violence. This does not necessarily mean a weapon must be involved, though that is frequently the case in Pennsylvania. A violent crime conviction is a serious offense that can prevent you from certain educational and occupational opportunities, as well as disqualify you from specific rights like owning a gun.

Violent crimes and their penalties are defined in Title § 18 of Pennsylvania, and include:

Simple Assault

  • When a person causes bodily injury to another negligently, recklessly, or knowingly with a deadly weapon or causes him or her to believe such bodily injury will occur
  • Misdemeanor of the second or third degree
  • Up to 1 or 2 years of prison, depending on degree of offense
  • Up to $2,500 or $5,000 fine, depending on degree of offense
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 2701

Aggravated Assault

  • When an individual negligently, recklessly, or knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury while acting with extreme disregard for human life with or without a deadly weapon, or assaults certain government employees or officials while in the course of duty
  • Felony of the first or second degree
  • Up to 10 or 20 years of prison, depending on degree of offense
  • Up to $25,000 fine
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 2702

Robbery

  • When a person in the process of committing theft takes or removes property from another by force, causes a person to fear immediate bodily injury, or inflicts bodily injury on another
  • Felony – first, second, or third-degree
  • Up to 7, 10, or 20 years of prison, depending on the degree of felony
  • Up to $15,000 or $25,000 fine depending on the degree of felony
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 3701

Rape

  • Engaging in sexual intercourse with a person by force, threat of force that prevents the person from resisting, an unconscious person, a person who is unaware sexual intercourse is occurring, a person you have drugged, or with a person that is incapable to consent due to a mental disability
  • First-degree felony
  • Up to 20 years of prison
  • Up to $25,000 fine
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 3121

Involuntary Manslaughter

  • A person causes the loss of human life by acting in a grossly negligent or reckless manner
  • First-degree misdemeanor
  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • $10,000+ fine
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 2504

Voluntary Manslaughter

  • Causing the loss of human life in heat of passion when provoked by that person, or believing the act of killing is justified when the belief is actually unreasonable
  • First-degree felony
  • Up to 20 years of prison
  • Up to $25,000 fine
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 2503

Murder of the Third Degree

  • Any murder not involving intent or felony
  • First-degree felony
  • Up to 40 years of prison
  • Up to $50,000 fine
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 2502(c)

Murder of the Second Degree

  • When a person kills another while committing a felony
  • Up to life imprisonment without parole
  • Up to $50,000 fine
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 2502(b)

Murder of the First Degree

  • Intentional killing of another person
  • Minimum of life in prison without parole
  • Conviction may lead to death penalty
  • Up to $50,000 fine
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 2502(a)

Common Defenses Used

Every crime is different, and sometimes law enforcement officers make mistakes. Even if you have made a mistake, it is critical to go over every aspect of your case to make sure you are not being falsely charged or face trumped-up charged. An experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer will be able to go over each facet of your case and determine what defense strategies are right for you.

Possible defenses to violent crimes include, but are not limited to, the following:

Self Defense

  • According to Pennsylvania code, a person has no duty to retreat from someone using force against him or her, and can also use reasonable force if he or she believes the person's conduct was going to cause serious bodily injury or death

Defense of Others

  • A person has the statutory permission to use force against another individual if he or she reasonably believes the force was necessary to defend another person against that individual's conduct

Defense of Property

  • A person has the right to defend his or her occupied vehicle, residence, or home against an unlawful intruder by force without an attempt to retreat

Resources for Pennsylvania Violent Crimes

Philadelphia Police Department – The website for the Philadelphia Police Department is a great resource for infographics on crime, domestic violence information, safety and prevention links, and information on filing an officer complaint.

Philadelphia Police Department
750 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Non-emergency phone: 311

AARDVARC - Pennsylvania Division – An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection is an organization committed to providing information and resources concerning the prevention and fight against relationship and sexual violence, and child abuse. This links to the Pennsylvania division's page.

Veto Violence – Veto Violence is a program run by the CDC that focuses on a public health approach to the issue of violence and primary prevention – or stopping violence before it occurs. This website is an excellent resource for statistics, violence education, and links to other informative violent crime websites.

Working with a Philadelphia Violent Crime Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of a violent crime like criminal homicide, robbery, or rape in the Philadelphia area, it is highly recommended that you begin defending your rights and your future with as soon as possible. Joseph Lento is passionate about helping violent crimes charges like yours through the system and making sure justice is served on all sides.

For your free consultation on how Joseph Lento and the team at Lento Law Firm can help you, call (215) 535-5353 today.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, or New Jersey should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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