Lancaster Assault Defense Lawyer
Being charged with assault can have adverse effects on your record as well as you and your family’s lives. If you or a loved one has been charged with assault in the Lancaster area, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
Don’t Let Your Side Go Unheard
At Ciccarelli Law Offices we understand that there’s two sides to every story, and we want to help you tell yours. We also understand the impact an assault charge can have on your life. Being charged with an assault crime can leave you with fines, anger management course requirements, possible domestic violence counseling and jail or prison time.
Are you looking for the best Lancaster PA violent crimes and assault lawyer to assist you? Don’t let an assault charge ruin your life, let us help.
Lancaster Violent Crimes
Depending on which statistics you believe, Lancaster, Pennsylvania either has a relatively low violent crime rate (usnews.com) or, according to neighborhoodscout, is rated at a rather dismal 8 for safety (with 100 being the safest). The designation of an 8 means that Lancaster is safer than 8 percent of other U.S. cities. With 8.8 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. US News, on the other hand, rated Lancaster with an index score of 7.8 out of 10, giving it a lower crime rate than similarly sized metro areas. In fact, from 2003 through 2017, US News reported that Lancaster’s violent crime rate was significantly lower than the national average.
Whatever the true statistics really are, being convicted of a violent crime in the state of Pennsylvania has life-altering consequences, including a significant prison sentence, heavy fines, long probations periods and restitution payments to the victim. Being convicted of a felony offense can make it extremely difficult to obtain employment after serving your sentence, and you can lose some basic constitutional rights, such as owning a weapon. Additionally, you could find yourself unable to obtain a federal student loan to attend college and could be unable to obtain a professional license you have worked for or even rent an apartment.
If you are facing serious felony charges for committing a violent crime, we can help. Our team of attorneys have the experience, passion, and consideration to protect your future and your freedom during this difficult legal process. Contact us today at (717) 291-9400 or (877) 529-2422. Our Lancaster Office is located at 313 West Liberty Place, Lancaster PA 17603.
Understanding “Violent” Crimes in Lancaster
Of course, murder and attempted murder are considered violent crimes, but so are:
- Aggravated Assault
- Assault and Battery
- Domestic Violence
- Hate Crimes
- Terrorism and Terroristic Threats
- Indecent Assault
- Statutory Sexual Assault
Most violent crimes are felonies in Lancaster and throughout the state of Pennsylvania. As an example, arson which endangers others, kidnapping and rape are considered first-degree felonies, burglary when no one is present in the building, indecent assault and statutory sexual assault are considered second-degree felonies, and carrying a gun without a permit, institutional sexual assault of a minor and terroristic threats are considered third-degree felonies.
Statutes of Limitations for Violent Crimes in Lancaster
Every state has established its own set of time periods in which legal proceedings must commence for a violent crime. If the state fails to bring a case for the violent crime within the allowed time, then the state loses the right to prosecute a person for the crime forever. The time starts ticking on the statutes of limitations when a crime is committed. When a violent crime is committed, there it typically a longer statute of limitations for prosecuting these types of cases. In certain cases, the statute of limitations can be tolled or suspended, allowing the state additional time to instigate legal actions. The general statute of limitations in the state of Pennsylvania is two years, with five years for major offenses. Specific violent crimes may have longer statutes of limitations in the state under Title 42 Section 5551-5554:
- Aggravated Assault against a law enforcement officer—no statute of limitations (no time limit);
- Vehicular homicide—no statute of limitations;
- Felonies connected with a first or second-degree murder—no statute of limitations;
- Murder—no statute of limitations;
- Voluntary manslaughter—no statute of limitations;
- Conspiracy to Commit Murder or Solicitation to Commit Murder when the intended target is murdered—no statute of limitations;
- Major sexual offenses—12-year statute of limitations;
- Kidnapping—5-year statute of limitations, and
- Rape—12-year statute of limitations.
These statutes may be suspended when an underage child is the victim of a crime when the child’s parents caused certain injuries, when prosecution is already underway in the state for the same crime or when there is no way to reasonably determine where the accused lives or works due to continual absences.
A Lancaster Defense Firm That Understands the Severity of Violent Crimes
While the sentencing for a violent criminal offense in the state of Pennsylvania will depend on a variety of factors, below are the potential penalties (18 Pa. C.S. §1101—1105) for these offenses:
- Murder in the first degree—mandatory life imprisonment or death
- Murder in the second degree—mandatory life imprisonment
- First-degree felony—Up to 20 years in prison and a fine as large as $25,000
- Second-degree felony—Up to 10 years in prison and a fine as large as $25,000
- Third-degree felony—Up to 7 years in prison and a fine as large as $15,000
- First-degree misdemeanor—Up to 5 years in prison and a fine as large as $10,000
- Second-degree misdemeanor—Up to 2 years in prison and a fine as large as $5,000
- Third-degree misdemeanor—Up to 1 years in prison and a fine as large as $2,000
- Summary offense—Up to 90 days in jail and a fine as large as $300
Courts do not consistently impose maximum sentences, rather the individual sentence may vary significantly from case to case. Further, felonies not categorized under one of the three felony degrees can have separate sentencing guidelines. Those who have been convicted of a previous offense may find themselves facing additional penalties particularly in the event that the prior crime was considered a violent crime, and the new criminal charges are also for a violent criminal offense. Some of the typical Lancaster violent crimes include:
- Aggravated and Simple Assault—Simple assault in the state of Pennsylvania involves causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or, perhaps, pointing a weapon at another person. Simple assault is generally considered a second-degree misdemeanor which carries potential penalties of a fine, and a prison sentence of up to two years. Depending on the circumstances, aggravated assault can be charged as either a first or second-degree felony. Under Pennsylvania law 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Section 2702(a)(1), aggravated assault is defined as an attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another human being or knowingly, recklessly, intentionally or with extreme indifference to the value of human life causing bodily injury to another human being. This means that in order to make charges of aggravated assault “stick” the prosecutor must prove you acted knowingly and recklessly and caused serious bodily injury to another human. Serious bodily injury means the injury caused disfigurement, impairment, permanent loss or created the risk of death. Whether or not a deadly weapon was used in the assault will definitely be a factor in how the assault is charged and the potential penalties. Further, if the assault was against a public official or employee, the charges immediately increase from simple assault to aggravated assault whether there was serious or “mere” bodily injury. The punishment for aggravated assault will depend on whether the crime was charged as a first-degree or second-degree felony. A second-degree aggravated assault conviction which did not result in serious bodily injury is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine as large as $25,000. If the victim received serious bodily injury, then the charge is a first-degree felony, with potential penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a fine as large as $25,000.
- Robbery—Under Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 § 3701 a person is guilty of robbery if:
✔ While committing a theft, he or she inflicts serious bodily injury on another person;
✔ Threatens another person with serious bodily injury (or makes him or her fearful of immediate, serious bodily injury);
✔ Commits or threatens to immediately commit a felony of the first or second degree;
✔ Inflicts bodily injury on another person or threatens to inflict bodily injury on another person, placing that person in fear of immediate bodily injury;
✔ Physically takes or removes property from another person through some level of force, or
✔ Takes or removes the money from a financial institution without permission by making a demand on an employee of the financial institution (in writing or orally).
The primary difference between robbery and theft is the use of force or causes serious or additional harm while taking property from another person.
- Burglary—Under Pennsylvania Burglary Statute, Title 18, Section 3502, the offense of burglary occurs when a person enters a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. There must be intent to commit a crime once the building is entered, and it does not matter whether the crime actually occurred if there was intent to commit the crime. Physical breaking and entering is also not required for charges of burglary—the door to the building could have been open and you could have simply walked through it. If there was lack of intent to commit a crime inside the building or structure, the premises were open to the public at the time, you had license to enter the property or you had consent of the owner of the property, then you may have a defense to the charge of burglary. Burglary in the state of Pennsylvania is a first-degree felony and could potentially carry a jail sentence of up to 20 years in prison, although the judge may use his or her discretion in sentencing.
What Are The Different Forms of Assault?
Felonious assault is an unlawful attack or attempted attack by force or violence that causes physical injury to another person. It may the use of weapons and/or result in a serious injury. Both serious injuries and the use of weapons are triggers for a felonious assault. Assault and battery is an example of a felonious assault.
Simple assault occurs when a weapon is not used and the injures to the victim are minor.
Physical assault is a form of assault that results in bad bodily harm.
Aggravated assault is defined by the use of a weapon and/or an amount of increased force.
Sexual assault involves the use of force against the will of the victim, resulting in a rape, molestation, sodomy or similar sexual offense.
Verbal assault is a type of non-physical, oral assault that results in an emotional, mental, and/or psychological injury to the victim.
Call our Lancaster Defense Attorney
Don’t let your point of view be ignored or discounted. When you need experienced defense in the Lancaster county courthouse, the Attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices are here to make your side heard. Our criminal defense lawyers have the experience and determination to give you the best defense possible.
Get Experienced Representation For Your Assault Case
With combined work experience of over 100 years, the lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices know how to handle your case to get the results you need. If you are in the Lancaster, Ephrata, Millersville, Lititz, Columbia, Gap, Quarryville, Manheim, or any other surrounding Lancaster County areas and need representation, call our lawyers or get a free online case evaluation today. If you have been charged with a violent crime in Lancaster, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced Lancaster criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible to ensure your rights and your future are protected as completely as possible. The highly experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Ciccarelli Law Offices can help. We will fight aggressively for your rights and freedom. Contact the Ciccarelli Law Offices today by email or by phone at (717) 291-9400 or (877) 529-2422 immediately to begin building a solid defense against these serious charges.