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Carbondale Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Law Blog

What are child pornography charges?

There is little doubt that you are aware that child pornography charges are serious criminal charges but you may wonder exactly what they refer to and what the potential penalties are. Under both federal and state laws it is crime to possess, produce, distribute or sell pornographic materials that exploit or portray minors. Minors are considered children under the age of 18. Child pornography can include serious potential criminal penalties, as well as personal and social consequences, that the accused individual should be aware of.

Child pornography laws are being used increasingly to punish the use of computer technology and the Internet related to obtaining, sharing and distributing pornographic material that involves children which may include pornographic images or films. Individuals accused of committing child pornography-related crimes can face both or either federal and state laws and the stiff penalties that accompany each.

The importance of innocent until proven guilty

Most of us have heard the phrase "innocent until proven guilty," as it plays an important role in the criminal justice system and has significant meaning for any individual who has been accused of a crime. The presumption of innocence is a paramount feature of the criminal justice process in the United States and serves to protect individuals who have been accused of committing a crime.

The presumption that accused individuals are innocent until proven guilty serves as an important protection in many ways. One way that it protects accused individuals is by preventing them from having to prove their innocence. If accused individuals had to prove their innocence, it could lead to prosecutorial abuses and an abundance of charges the accused individual would have to disprove.

What are manslaughter charges?

Even if you have heard of the crime of manslaughter, you might have a number of questions as to what the term manslaughter refers to and what manslaughter charges include.

There are two types of manslaughter charges including voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Both types of manslaughter charges are considered less serious criminal charges than murder charges in Pennsylvania.

Proposed Pennsylvania law would make DUI penalties stiffer

Charges associated with drunk driving are unquestionably serious and can carry stiff penalties and consequences.

Proposed legislation in Pennsylvania would make penalties for repeat drunk drivers, and for those who are involved in a fatal accident while driving under the influence, stiffer. Under the proposed law, felony DUI penalties would apply to a third DUI conviction in 10 years; a third high blood alcohol content (BAC) offense of .16 BAC or higher, and to a fourth offense in all other cases. Currently, Pennsylvania does not treat repeat DUIs as a felony offense regardless of the number of prior DUI convictions the accused individual has.

What is embezzlement?

Embezzlement charges can be serious charges for an accused individual to face which is why anyone charged with embezzlement may rightly wonder what the charge entails. By definition, embezzlement refers to the fraudulent taking of personal property by a party it was entrusted to. Embezzlement can occur whether the personal property in question is transferred to a third party or not and is most commonly understood as the misappropriation of money.

It is important to note the embezzlement differs from some other theft crimes historically because the party charged with the crime of embezzlement had the right to possess the property or funds but typically improperly used or transferred the funds. Proving an embezzlement charge includes establishing that the employee, for instance, had possession of the property or funds because of their position or that they had authority to exercise control over the property or funds. The employee's job title, job description and the practices of the company will be evaluated by the court when considering an embezzlement charge.

Criminal defense protections for sex crimes charges

While sex crimes can sometimes be a sensitive topic of discussion, it is important that those accused of committing sex crimes understand that criminal defense protections apply to them, the accusations against them and the charges they are facing, as well. Sex crimes refer to a range of criminal charges and can result in serious penalties and consequences to accused individuals including prison time and registration requirements.

Accusations of sex crimes themselves, as well as actual criminal charges for sex crimes, can lead to significant personal and professional repercussions for accused individuals. Sex crimes charges can include sexual assault charges; rape and statutory rape charges; exploitation charges; indecent assault charges; child abuse charges; child molestation charges; child pornography charges; and additional charges for failure to register as a sex offender. Many sex crimes charges accused individuals may face involve the internet.

Criminal defense resources for domestic violence

Domestic violence charges are serious charges. In Pennsylvania, domestic violence charges are based on the circumstances and the standard charges include assault, aggravated assault or battery. It is up to the prosecution in Pennsylvania to determine if domestic violence charges will be pressed. Under Pennsylvania laws, domestic violence includes causing bodily injury; assault; or knowingly engaging in repeated conduct that creates the fear of bodily injury.

Domestic violence is considered to take place between family members, household members, sexual partners and some others. The penalties and consequences of domestic violence charges are serious and can range from a mandatory anger management class to felony charges which can result in incarceration. Most crimes also involve an act and a mental component for the accused individual to be convicted of the crime.

What are felony charges and why are they so serious?

Felony criminal charges are serious criminal charges which can deprive the accused individual of their freedom and future. Individuals who are facing felony charges may wonder what felony charges are and why they are so serious. In general, felony charges are considered the most serious types of criminal charges and can be punished by a year or greater in prison.

In addition to a year or greater in prison, felonies are also usually punished with a fine. Felonies are also usually charged by degree in each state depending on the severity of the alleged crime and the felony charged. Felonies differ from misdemeanor charges which are commonly considered less serious and are punished, as a general rule, by one year or less in jail rather than prison. Felony charges also create a serious criminal record.

The basics of the RICO Act

There are numerous criminal charges that individuals can be accused of and wind up facing which is why it is important for accused individuals to know their criminal defense rights and protections and be familiar with the different charges they might face. One category of crimes falls under the RICO Act which stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It targets racketeering activities.

Racketeering can occur in different contexts including when an organized group runs an illegal business, which is referred to as a racket, or when an organized crime ring employs a legitimate business or organization to embezzle funds. Common rackets might include prostitution or sex trafficking; drug trafficking; illegal weapons trafficking; or counterfeiting. More modern variations of racketeering may involve embezzling funds from companies and corporations.

DUI criminal defense basics

Because serious potential penalties and consequences can arise related to drunk driving charges, an equally serious criminal defense response is important. DUI convictions can result in both criminal and administrative penalties. Criminal penalties can include possible jail time, fines and other potential penalties. Administrative penalties include the suspension or revocation of the accused individual's driver's license and other possible consequences.

Because of the far-reaching impact of DUI charges, when an individual has been arrested for DUI, it is important they understand their criminal defense options and how to form a strong criminal defense response. When procedural protections in place to ensure those accused of crimes are treated appropriately have been violated, it may form a basis for the accused individual's criminal defense. Accused individuals must be informed of their rights and those rights must also be protected.

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