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November 2017 Archives

Legal defenses to voluntary manslaughter

A previous blog post discussed the penalties for voluntary and involuntary manslaughter in Pennsylvania. A conviction for voluntary manslaughter carries a sentence of up to 20 years, while being convicted for involuntary manslaughter may carry a sentence of up to 5 years in prison. Certain aggravating or mitigating factors may lead to harsher or lesser sentences, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the defendant's criminal history, particularly violent crimes. A defendant may also assert several legal defenses to voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

Criminal copyright infringement carries serious penalties

Copyrighted works are protected by 17 U.S.C. subsection 506(a), which states that anyone who infringes a copyright willfully and for the purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain are guilty of criminal copyright infringement. Previously, Pennsylvania infringers could only be held liable if they actually made a profit, but an update to the statute in 1976 lowered the standard to allow those who intended to profit -- but did not -- to be held accountable for copyright infringement.

Several Pennsylvanians facing insurance fraud allegations

The Attorney General of Pennsylvania announced that 21 people from the western part of Pennsylvania are facing allegations of insurance fraud. This is just the latest step in a crackdown that the Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Section claims has led to 163 criminal charges and over $750,000 in restitution payments.

Affirmative defenses to robbery in Pennsylvania

A previous blog post discussed several defenses to robbery in the state, including that no theft was committed, the taking was not unlawful, the alleged robber received the owner's permission to take the property or that the alleged robber did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of their property. Defendants may also assert defenses to second or third-degree robbery, such as there was no infliction of bodily injury or the alleged victim was not placed in fear of injury by threats of violence, use of a weapon or otherwise.

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