One of the basic principles of law regarding crime and punishment is that punishment should fit the crime. Most state legislatures have structured sentencing guidelines with this in mind. Additionally, there are federal guidelines as well that apply when determining what crimes should carry significant prison sentences, all based on this suitable fit principle. The problem for many defendants is that they often get charged with more serious crimes than they actually commit, meaning that even a plea bargain for a low-level felony can result in an extended period in jail in some instances based on potential reasonable doubt. Here is a look at what the courts evaluate when determining an appropriate punishment following a conviction or when offering a plea bargain.
One of the most important aspects of determining sentencing is what actually happened during the commission of the crime. Even a murder case can have its weaknesses. The level of intent and premeditation can be important. Additionally, racketeering can be an issue that enhances punishment as well when multiple individuals have colluded to commit a series of crimes, such as a drug trafficking ring.
Prior Criminal History
Depending on the particular type of crime, courts often look at the individual record of the convicted defendant. Some crimes such as driving under the influence have mandatory punishment requirements for multiple offenses, but even when there are no mandatory requirements the court will take this into consideration when determining the appropriate punishment.
Danger to the Community
Another factor in sentencing convicted defendants for very serious crimes is whether the defendant is a danger to the community. This commonly applies in certain cases like sex offenses against children, but the same concern can be applied when defendants have been charged with multiple murders or have a long history of criminal activity throughout their life. There are many convicted criminals in Pennsylvania penitentiaries who made a career out of criminal behavior only to land in jail for decades.
Why to Retain the Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Philadelphia
The potential for a long sentence is real when a defendant has committed a serious offense, but reasonable doubt is still the standard when the case is adjudicated. And the charge may very well not fit the actual crime when being “overcharged” by the prosecution. There can be a life-long impact for a criminal conviction, which is why it is vital to always defend any criminal charge strongly with an experienced and aggressive Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer from Brennan Law Offices.Read More
In situations where the police want to question you, they may place you under arrest for a crime you allegedly committed. When this happens, they are required to read you your Miranda rights. These rights, which give you the right to remain silent, have an attorney present during questioning, and have an attorney appointed to you if needed, also state that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. However, if you are not read your rights, can police and prosecutors still use your statements against you?
Are You Actually in Custody?
Here at Brennan Law, we often find clients who are confused about whether or not they were actually in police custody. This is crucial, since this determines whether or not police are required to read you your Miranda rights. In many cases, police will purposely not arrest you initially, hoping you will feel more free to say things that will incriminate yourself. If you make this mistake, you will definitely need criminal law attorneys in Philadelphia residents trust, since police will then be all too eager to place you under arrest.
Statements Used as Evidence
If you have been placed under arrest by police but have not been advised of your Miranda rights prior to them questioning you, prosecutors in most situations are not allowed to use anything you said as evidence against you during your trial. Thus, should you have been placed under arrest but realize police did not read you your rights as they were required to do prior to questioning, make sure you let the best criminal lawyer in Philadelphia aware of this immediately.
The Question of Coercion
Time after time, we find police may use questionable tactics in an effort to gain incriminating statements or confessions from individuals. Though failing to read the Miranda rights doesn’t always mean officers coerced you into making an incriminating statement, this will change if you and your criminal law attorney can show their methods were questionable at best. Should this happen, both any statements you made as well as evidence gathered by police afterwards will be considered inadmissible.
Should you find yourself in a situation where your Miranda rights were not read to you, don’t panic and assume all is lost. Instead, contact us here at Brennan Law to obtain legal representation that is committed to protecting your legal rights.Read More
Many prosecutors in Pennsylvania use borderline to weak evidence when pursuing criminal convictions against defendants, and many times this evidence can be dismissed from consideration when an aggressive Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney investigates the case thoroughly. There are specific rules that apply when police officers are attempting to obtain evidence, and those rules are commonly violated or completely disregarded with respect to the defendant’s privacy and self-incrimination rights. Many officers even fail to “Mirandize” some defendants, which is a technicality that can be used to dismiss evidence as well. Here are a few common issues that can impact the outcome of a criminal case.
One of the first issues with evidence is admissibility based on how the evidence was acquired. Illegal search and seizure cases are relatively common, as officers often use the “plain sight” rule even when there is no plain sight application. Officers can be cross-examined in a trial, many times revealing they did not actually have reasonable suspicion to search.
Many criminal cases will involve personal testimony from individuals other than police officers. These witnesses must all be credible for the testimony to be considered in the final case determination, which can be especially important when a case goes to trial. Witnesses who may have a retribution agenda are particularly problematic, which can be revealed in a court procedure questioning.
Electronic evidence weaknesses
Prosecutors regularly try to use video evidence in cases where a suspect has been identified through surveillance equipment. While it is hailed as infallible, the truth is that video evidence can easily be corrupted and inaccurate, often resulting in police lineups of individuals that could easily include suspects other than the actual assailant. Even forensic evidence can be questioned in this regard, as can use of evidence gathered by blood alcohol breathalyzers that are malfunctioning or have not been calibrated according to schedule.
Contact the Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Pa
It is important to understand that a conviction on any criminal charge will establish a criminal history and can have a dramatic impact on the life of the defendant for many years to come. Leaving your fate to the hands of a public defender does not always bode well for an acceptable outcome, and public defenders rarely go against the prosecutor aggressively in weak evidence cases. Always call Brennan Law Offices criminal attorney in Philadelphia, PA, for solid comprehensive legal representation.Read More
One of the worst things that could happen has. Your child has been arrested. You have now found yourself and your child in the juvenile justice system. This means that your minor child will face consequences that fall in line with the juvenile court rather than adult court. You have a lot of questions.
First, do you need a lawyer? A lawyer can help you navigate the justice system and help keep your child’s case out of adult court. A Philadelphia, PA criminal attorney will ensure that your child’s rights are protected throughout the process. They know the system and will work hard to do whatever they can to ensure your child’s case stays in the juvenile system. They understand the goal of the system is to rehabilitate rather than punish.
What can a lawyer do? A criminal defense Philadelphia lawyer can work toward plea agreements or alternatives to prosecution. Some of these alternatives could include going to counseling or performing public service.
If your child’s case has already been sent to adult court, a lawyer can work with prosecutors and other agencies to have your child’s case decertified and litigated in juvenile court.
If your child’s case has already been litigated and decided, a lawyer can work to achieve an expungement. The lawyers at Brennan Law Office believe that children can become contributing members of society with the proper help and support, not a criminal record.
Why do I want a professional to protect my child? For the past 25 years, the lawyers at Brennan Law Offices have been working hard to protect the rights of the accused, including juveniles. They have experience defending against a variety of crimes such as trespassing, gang activity, drug possession, vandalism, and traffic violations.
What if my child’s crime is more serious than that? Most people don’t know the in’s and out’s of court filings. It is easy to miss little details that can make or break your child’s case and cost them time in the juvenile offender system, or worse yet, the adult offender system. An experienced attorney knows the paperwork, knows the court system, and knows what deadlines are ahead.
Finally, who do you call for help? Call a lawyer that is experienced. Call a lawyer that believes that your child can get back on track. Call a lawyer that wants to keep your child’s involvement with the juvenile system to a minimum. Call the lawyers at Brennan Law Offices.Read More
It is estimated that 10 percent of drivers have had at least one ticket. Many people think that if they got a ticket, then paying the ticket is the only option that they have. However, you can hire one of the cheap criminal lawyers in Philadelphia and fight the ticket. You can take the following steps in order to fight your ticket.
Understand The Law You Broke
Police officers are required to enforce the law. However, many of them do not know the law. One of the best things that you can do to fight a traffic ticket is to know which law you broke. You will need to make sure that you understand all of the key things about the law. You will also need to hire a defense attorney in Philadelphia. The attorney can break down the law for you. Additionally, they can prove that you did not actually do what the officer accused you of.
Make Sure That Your Ticket Is Accurate
You will need to review all of the information on your ticket. If there is inaccurate information on the ticket, then you may be able to get it dismissed. You will also need to take note of exactly what you were cited for.
Write Down All Important Details
The details surrounding the incident are one of the factors that will determine whether you will be able to get your ticket dismissed. Where you were stopped, the time of the day, the traffic conditions and weather conditions are some of the things that you will need to write down.
Avoid Paying the Ticket
If you want to contest the ticket, then you should not pay for it. You are essentially admitting that you are guilty if you pay the ticket. That is why it is best for you to wait until you go to court.
Go to Traffic School
It is a good idea for you to go to traffic school. The state of Pennsylvania allows you to get your traffic ticket dismissed if you go to traffic school. You may also be able to get points taken off of your license.
Explore Defenses in Court
If you go to court, then you can use the following defenses.
1.) The cop fails to show up in court
2.) The ticket had errors on it.
3.) Radar guns were used, which are subject to error.
4.) The Sixth Amendment, which says one has a right to a speedy trial.Read More
When executed properly, the criminal process encompasses several important steps. One such process is ensuring those suspected of committing a crime are apprehended within the bounds of the law and after arresting authorities have performed due diligence. In an appreciable number of instances, the first step in criminal apprehension is the obtaining of an arrest warrant.
Arrest Warrant Overview
A prominent Philadelphia criminal defense attorney urges you to realize that an arrest warrant is a formal document issued by a legal authority like a judge allowing a law enforcement agency to take you into custody if said entities believe you have committed an illegal action.
The Process Of Obtaining An Arrest Warrant
To obtain this documentation, representatives of a given law enforcement entity must appear before a court and offer an appeal on the basis of probable cause. Probable cause means the agency in question possesses credible evidence or strong testimony suggesting that you have likely committed a criminal offense and should be taken into custody.
The Five Incidents That Can Lead To An Arrest Warrant:
Specific circumstances of events could increase your chances of being subjected to an arrest warrant including:
Outstanding Traffic Fines Or Tickets
Periodically, you have probably heard television or radio news stories discussing an individual arrested for having received countless traffic tickets or exorbitant unpaid fines dating back years.
For example, if you garnered hundreds of speeding tickets or accrued many thousands of fines for said offense, the law enforcement agency in question might issue an arrest warrant against you.
Failed Child Support Payments
Many court-certified divorce decrees mandate that a divorced parent remit their former spouse child support. Should the required party fail to satisfy said debt, the intended recipient could appeal to a court to remediate the problem. Should the payer be in significant arrears, courts might issue arrest warrants against said subject.
Failing To Appear In Court
Typically, when a court mandates your appearance before said body, you must show up or face potentially serious consequences. In certain cases, skipping a court date is a criminal offense and said body might respond through the issuance of an arrest warrant against you.
If you failed to satisfy specific debts, said entities might take you to court. If the court rules in their favor, you will be required to pay said remittances. Failure to do so could result in an eventual arrest warrant.
Suspicion Of Criminal Involvement
Arguably, the most common reason an arrest warrant might be issued against you is if a law enforcement establishment possesses credible evidence suggesting your involvement in a criminal case.
Contacting Brennan Law
Respected and renowned national and Philadelphia criminal lawyers at Brennan Law want you to know that mistakes can happen and arrest warrants might be issued either to a wrongly accused suspect or are executed improperly.
Therefore, if you have been subjected to an arrest warrant, Mister Brennan urges you to contact him. He and his team can review your case and determine the best recourse. To learn more about us, please visit https://www.philadelphiacriminallaw.com/.Read More
Attorneys often use whatever legal angles they can employ when defending a client. One interesting and sometimes debated issue is a concept called character evidence.
Character is descriptive terminology often used to demonstrate who you are as a person.
One side might attempt to portray you positively and highlight your attributes. However, the opposing faction will try and refute those claims. For example, if facing criminal charges, the prosecution in a criminal case might attempt to portray you as a deviant personality with questionable moral traits.
Character evidence is most often employed during a proceeding’s sentencing stage. It is not uncommon for prosecutors to utilize your past transgressions or behaviors in an attempt to convince adjudicating authorities that you deserve the stiffest possible penalties.
Is Character Evidence Admissible In Court?
Criminal law prohibits the use of character evidence during the trial phase. Therefore, prosecuting attorneys are not permitted to formally introduce your personality traits or attitudes as a means of convincing ruling bodies that you are a criminal or such behaviors and thoughts are the reason you committed the crimes you have been accused of.
That said, you and your legal team can introduce character evidence to rebuff claims made against you provided such testimony is pertinent to the proceedings at hand. However, prosecutors are also allowed to challenge and refute these claims.
The Differences Between Habit And Character
Unlike character evidence, one of the best drug case lawyers cautions that prosecutors are permitted to and often do use your documented habits against you.
In legal terms, habits are categorized as repeated questionable, deviant, or criminal behaviors. Courts deem habits as admissible evidence because they establish patterns of discernible, accomplished actions of consequence.
A case in point demonstrating habit could be an accused armed robber frequently visiting the location or locations said individual ultimately stole from over a period of time.
Prosecutors could potentially introduce this habit as evidence suggesting that the alleged perpetrator visited said establishments, neighborhoods, or entities solely as reconnaissance missions used to gather the information they needed to formulate plans to carry out such offenses.
Reaching Out To Brennan Law Offices
Topics like character evidence and habits can be complex and relatively confusing. However, when properly applied, they can have a profound impact on the outcome of your case. If you have been charged with a crime, we encourage you to contact me. Many past clients and legal officials widely consider William J. Brennan as the best criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia.
For more information about this practice or the services offered, please stop by https://www.philadelphiacriminallaw.com/.Read More
When charged with a crime, you are entitled to due process, which might involve a trial or other legal proceedings. The legal professional attempting to prove your guilt is known as a prosecutor.
That said, this individual is expected to carry out their duties professionally and within all acceptable legal boundaries. Unfortunately, however, certain unscrupulous attorneys do not abide by such guidelines and may commit an illegal act called malicious prosecution.
Malicious Prosecution Overview
Basically, malicious prosecution occurs when a prosecuting attorney accuses you of a crime you did not commit.
Legitimate malicious prosecution claims hinge on your capacity to prove five key elements, including the initiation of a legal proceeding against you, the prosecutor lacked any reasonable grounds to base such charges, said legal official possessed no true purpose for beginning the case other than to win a judgement against you, the prosecutor in question lost their original case against you, and you suffered some type of discernible loss as a result.
Can The Offending Lawyer Themselves Be Prosecuted?
Lawyers believed to have engaged in said actions can be brought up on civil and criminal charges.
Successfully Proving Malicious Prosecution
Success in a malicious prosecution suit greatly hinges on your ability to demonstrate the prosecutor lacked proper evidence to formulate a legitimate case. However, mere hearsay and refuted claims are not enough.
As the claimant, you and your Philadelphia criminal defense attorney need to produce some type of viable or documented proof, such as falsified or the submission of generated evidence, a deliberate failing to disclose key facts or evidence, the ignoring of testimony that no professional or experienced lawyer could rightfully deny, or failing to obtain testimony from important witnesses or experts.
Should a ruling party like a judge or jury believe your claims, you might be entitled to compensation. Common remittances include the legal expenses you incurred. Other damages might be awarded like wages lost from missed work time spent preparing for and attending various legal proceedings. In legal terms, these are known as compensatory damages.
Moreover, you might also seek and be awarded punitive damages. These are separate rewards given out to victims of malicious or deliberate acts.
Contacting The Brennan Law Offices
If you believe you may have been the victim of malicious prosecution, you will want to choose from amongst the top PA criminal lawyers to represent you in such matters. The Brennan Law Group has handled several such cases and boasts a favorable track record in said endeavors.
To learn more about our firm, we ask you to visit https://www.philadelphiacriminallaw.com/.Read More
A leading Philadelphia criminal defense law firm maintains that attention from a law enforcement establishment is not typically something you wish to garner. That said, on certain occasions, you might be targeted by said entities.
Less commonly, you might be targeted by unscrupulous individuals holding specific prejudices. However, under different circumstances, you might be targeted for your knowledge of or suspected involvement in criminal activity.
Regardless of the reasons, the actions taken during this time could make all the difference in determining the ultimate outcome of such events.
Examples Of Targeting Behavior
Unfortunately, persons carrying biases are employed in many industries and law enforcement is no exception. Such subjects might unfairly target you on the basis of your race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or socioeconomic background.
However, in other events, police and other law enforcement agencies might classify you as an official target. This means legal entities like prosecutors have enough evidence against you suggesting your knowledge or involvement in some type of untoward act.
That said, targets of investigations from entities like federal authorities are typically notified of such circumstances through official documentation.
Actions To Take If You Believe You Are Being Targeted
Regardless of circumstances, you are advised to not make any rash or emotional decisions. Offering ill-advised or misinformed responses, acting angrily, or making accusations could worsen your troubles.
In actuality, the first action a Pennsylvania resident should take is to contact an experienced and skilled Philadelphia criminal lawyer.
Should you believe targeting resulted from prejudices, you are encouraged to discuss these feelings with your defense lawyer. In addition to disclosing your suspicions, you should provide any evidence suggesting racially motivated actions like insulting statements or intimidating behaviors.
Your defense lawyer could then engage in efforts like investigating the officer or department’s past history and research if others experienced similar treatments.
If targeted by a prosecutor, your defense lawyer can advise you of the most appropriate ensuing actions to engage in. Oftentimes, target letters contain information regarding what authorities request from the intended recipient. For example, the government might ask the target to provide information.
An astute defense attorney might be able to negotiate a deal where you receive immunity from eventual prosecution should you cooperate with such demands.
The Brennan Law Offices employs a team of attorneys capable of handling all types of targeting cases. For further information about us, please visit https://www.philadelphiacriminallaw.com/.Read More
Success in a criminal trial often hinges on your and your legal team’s ability to provide evidence supporting your innocence. That said, a criminal attorney in Philadelphia wants you to know that any evidence used in a court setting must be ruled admissible.
Admissible Evidence Overview
Prior to being designated as official evidence, several factors play into classifying said material as admissible or inadmissible. Any piece of evidence entered into consideration is differentiated into two distinct categories, relevant and reliable.
Relevant means the presented material either demonstrates or contradicts a given fact or theory put forth as the case progresses. Reliability refers to the evidence’s source. In most cases, this references witness testimony. For example, if the witness in question has a shady record, the information they provide might be considered questionable in nature.
Your white collar crime attorney in Philadelphia stresses that evidence might be labeled inadmissible under the following circumstances:
Provides Misleading Information
Such testimony tends to attempt to mislead juries or other ruling parties away from the issue at hand. A solid example of this is an accused party’s lifestyle traits being used against them in a criminal proceeding.
Fails To Meet The Expert Testimony Criteria
As its name implies, expert testimony is only permissible if offered by individuals deemed experts on the topic in question. Persons not considered experts cannot offer such expertise.
Is Considered Hearsay
This occurs when one party attempts to enter third-party evidence into a legal proceeding. For example, courts will not consider claims that one individual made against the other regarding events unrelated to the issue at hand or without documented proof backing up such claims.
Appears To Be Prejudicial
Evidence is almost always considered inadmissible if said material is prejudicial. Examples of such evidence are statements coming from individuals holding leaning biases or presented to solely arouse anger or any other type of negative emotion.
Serves No Additional Purpose
Sometimes, certain pieces of evidence serve no intended purpose. A case in point is endless witness testimony demonstrating a trial participant holds a specific personality trait. After a while, all such efforts slow down the proceeding’s progress and waste precious time.
Determining Admissible Evidence
As evidence is the backbone of any legal undertaking, said material must be carefully reviewed and analyzed. Therefore, if you are facing possible criminal charges and know of or possess evidence you believe supports your innocence, you are firmly urged to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney such as those employed at the Brennan Law Offices.
We are a skilled team of knowledgeable lawyers with a proven track record in criminal cases. To learn more about us, please visit https://www.philadelphiacriminallaw.com/.Read More