Philadelphia Violent Crimes Lawyer
When law enforcement provides a prosecutor with evidence that you intentionally harmed someone or threatened violence against another person, you will likely be charged with committing a violent crime. In the United States, people can legally use violence only under narrow circumstances such as self-defense. To preserve the social order, the authorities severely punish all other uses of violence.
To avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction for a violent crime such as robbery or murder, it’s necessary to hire the best legal defense team possible. A Philadelphia violent crimes lawyer may be able to refute the charges against you, secure your freedom, and protect your reputation. Under no circumstances should you try to talk your way out of your violent crimes charges—the authorities can and will use your statements against you.
What Violent Crimes Cases Does Fienman Defense Handle?
At Fienman Defense, we can assist you with any of the following violent crimes charges:
- Burglary — At its core, this offense involves entering a building with the intent to commit a crime. Notably, it’s not necessary that you break into the building to get charged with burglary—the most important fact is your intent to commit a crime once inside. As a felony of the first degree, a conviction for burglary carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.
- Robbery — If there is evidence that you hurt or threatened someone while committing a theft, you will face robbery charges. The charges may stick even if the use of force occurred while attempting to flee after the theft took place. Depending on the circumstances, robbery may be a felony of the first, second, or third degree—all of which involve lengthily prison sentences.
- Conspiracy to commit murder – This offense applies when two or more people agree to commit a murder or solicit someone else to commit a murder. Even if your role in the murder was limited, as long as you knowingly assisted in its execution, you will face the same criminal penalties as the person who actually committed the murder.
- Murder of the first degree — As the most serious category of murder, this charge is reserved for cases in which there is evidence that you deliberately planned and then carried out a killing. A conviction will result in a life sentence.
- Murder of the second degree — You may be charged with murder of the second degree if you commit a felony or assist in the commission of a felony, and a murder occurs as a result. For example, if someone gets killed during a robbery that you are committing or aiding, you may be charged with murder of the second degree. The sentence for this offense can be as long life in prison.
- Murder of the third degree — This charge applies to all other deaths that are the result of an individual’s intentional and malicious use of violence. The maximum penalty for this offense is 40 years imprisonment.
- Voluntary manslaughter — You will face this charge when there is evidence that you intentionally killed someone because you were reacting to a serious provocation that caused sudden and intense emotions. This offense is a felony of the first degree involving a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
- Involuntary manslaughter — If you do something reckless (meaning that you should have known that your actions would harm other people) and someone dies as a result, you will be charged with involuntary manslaughter. This is a misdemeanor of the first degree carrying a maximum sentence of 5 years behind bars.
How Can Fienman Defense Help Me Defeat my Violent Crime Charges?
When we take you on as a client, our first move will be to closely examine the prosecutor’s evidence against you and to determine whether any of it was obtained in violation of your rights. In the United States, the government cannot use illegally obtained evidence to convict a person of a crime. By filing a motion to suppress the evidence, your lawyer can keep important evidence out of the trial, making it harder for the prosecutor to prove the case against you.
In a violent crime case, a motion to suppress might be an option in the following scenarios:
- The police denied your rights to remain silent and to obtain a lawyer — When the police place you under arrest they must inform you that you have the right to remain silent, and that you can use a lawyer. If they obtain statements from you before giving you this warning, they will not be admissible at your trial. Similarly, the police must stop questioning you once you’ve requested a lawyer.
- Law enforcement conducted an unreasonable search — For vehicles, the police need a reasonable suspicion to pull a vehicle over, and then probable cause to justify searching it. For your business or home, the police need a search warrant, your consent, or emergency circumstances to justify a search. If the authorities can’t justify their search, any evidence they find—such as a weapon, bloody clothing, or a document connecting you to the victim—may be inadmissible at your trial.
At the trial, the prosecutor will need to prove every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Not only does the prosecutor have to prove that you harmed or attempted to harm someone, he or she will need to demonstrate that you did so with criminal intent. Proving what is happening in someone’s mind is a difficult task, and a skilled Philadelphia defense lawyer may be able to show the jury that the prosecutor left some doubt as to whether you acted intentionally or maliciously.
To cast doubt on the prosecutor’s case, your lawyer will highlight the gaps and inconsistencies in the prosecution’s evidence and challenge its witnesses. Your defense team may also perform investigative work to uncover additional evidence that might point towards your innocence. In some cases, this evidence may allow you to claim that you acted violently out of self-defense. No matter the strategy chosen, its success will largely hinge on your lawyer’s ability to connect with the jury and to get them to see your side of the story.
When suppressing the prosecutor’s evidence isn’t a possibility, and successfully fighting the prosecutor’s case at trial isn’t likely, it may be in your best interest to accept a plea bargain. In exchange of pleading guilty, you may receive a conviction for a lesser charge or the guarantee of a lenient sentence. For example, you might receive a conviction for voluntary manslaughter instead of murder of the third degree. Your defense lawyer will need to use his or her advocacy and negotiating skills to get you the best deal possible.
At Fienman Defense, our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers will explore every possible defense strategy on your behalf to ensure that you obtain the best case outcome available under your circumstances. We will fight to defend your rights and make sure that your side of the story gets heard. If you are facing criminal charges for a violent offense, call us today at (215) 839-9529 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.
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.