Philadelphia Family Crimes Lawyer
Few offenses attract as much stigma as kidnapping and other family crimes. This category of criminal conduct involves intentionally undermining the security and sanctity of what the government considers the fundamental unit of society: the family. Thus, it comes as no surprise that a conviction for a family crime will result in harsh penalties.
From jail time to fines, to a permanent entry on your criminal record, the effects of a family crime conviction can be devastating. In some circumstances, you may even have to register as a sex offender. If you’re facing a family charge crime, the best way you can protect your freedom, finances, and reputation is by hiring a skilled and experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer to handle your case.
Family Crime Cases We Handle
At Fienman Defense, we are able to assist our clients facing the following types of family crime charges:
- Kidnapping — This is a felony of the first degree, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Only murder has a harsher sentence. You may be convicted when a prosecutor has evidence that you unlawfully took or placed someone under confinement for the purpose of having a hostage, collecting a ransom, terrorizing, or interfering with government or political functions.
- Stalking — This is a misdemeanor of the first degree—the most serious class of misdemeanor offenses. A conviction may result in fines and up to five years imprisonment. The alleged victim may also seek a restraining order against you. You may face these penalties if there is evidence that you committed acts or made threats that caused another person to experience fear of injury or severe emotional distress.
- Abduction — Known as criminal coercion under Pennsylvania’s criminal code, this offense involves intentionally restricting the freedom of and making threats against another person. Depending on the circumstances, this offense may be charged as a misdemeanor of the first or second degree, both of which carry significant fines and jail sentences.
- Luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure — If you force or convince a child to enter a car, building, or home without the consent of that child’s guardian or parent, you may face first or second-degree misdemeanor charges depending on the child’s age. You may claim as a defense that you were acting with a lawful purpose, such as giving the child assistance.
- Interfering with custody — It’s illegal to knowingly or recklessly take or convince a child to leave the custody of his or her lawful parent or guardian if you are not privileged to do so. If convicted, you will face felony charges and the possibility of severe penalties. This offense often comes up in divorces or custody battles in which one parent feels the safety of the child is at risk with the other parent.
- Bigamy — In Pennsylvania, it is legal to have only one spouse at a time. Attempting to marry someone if you are already married may result in second-degree misdemeanor charges involving the possibility of a two-year jail sentence. You may avoid a conviction if you can prove that you reasonably believed your spouse was passed away, or that you had obtained a valid divorce.
A Skilled Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
At Fienman Defense, our number one priority is to ensure that the rights of our clients are fully respected as they pass through the Pennsylvania criminal justice system. Protecting the dignity and rights of the accused is not just a moral imperative—it can also significantly influence the outcome of the criminal case. For example, a prosecutor cannot use your self-incriminating testimony if it was obtained by police officers who failed to inform you of your rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present.
The prosecutor must prove every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. For most family crimes offenses, this means proving that you acted knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney may be able to show that the prosecutor’s evidence regarding your criminal state of mind does not meet this high standard of proof. In such cases, the judge will instruct the jury to enter a verdict of not guilty.
The sooner your defense team can begin working on your case, the better your chances of obtaining a beneficial case outcome. To learn more about what defense strategies might be applicable to your case, call Fienman Defense today at (215) 839-9529 for a free and confidential consultation.
Questions? Contact us today.
Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to show that the charges should be dismissed. If it’s in your best interest, we will work to negotiate a lesser sentence. Should the case go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.