Legal Defense for Domestic Abuse & Violence
Call on a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help
People accused of domestic violence are often charged under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code with:
- Aggravated assault
- Simple assault
- Reckless endangerment of another person
- Terroristic threats
- Stalking and related offenses
- In rare cases, homicide
If the accusation includes illegal sexual conduct, sex offenses will be charged as well.
About the Charges
Domestic abuse charges, like all charges of violence, run the gamut from heinous acts by repeat offenders that cause permanent damage to charges of minor scuffles between equally combative partners, to charges that are outright fabrications. Complainants and defendants are of all genders and sexual orientations, although in most cases the complainants are female.
Because there is a wide range of charges may be are brought by the prosecution, the range of maximum possible punishments is equally wide: upon conviction, a murder charge may result in the death penalty or life without parole, while Simple Assault charges pose a substantially lower maximum term of punishment.
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Domestic Violence & Pennsylvania Law
In many Pennsylvania counties, these cases are either handled in a separate courtroom or receive special treatment in other ways. That special treatment derives from the fact that many complainants do not wish to prosecute after charges are brought for many different reasons, including fear of further abuse, their desire to preserve their partner's employment, fear of testifying about their own wrongdoing, or fear of repeating an untrue allegation under oath.
About District Attorneys
The District Attorneys offices throughout the Commonwealth will often assign special prosecutors to these cases for the reasons discussed above. It is important to remember that prosecutors are not attorneys representing individual complainants-they represent the Commonwealth. Therefore, they cannot discuss or advise complainants on how to proceed when those complainants seek not to testify to their own misconduct when their Fifth Amendment rights are implicated.
In addition, some counties offer diversionary programs directed at resolving less serious allegations by means of counseling, education, treatment, stay-away orders, and supervision for a period of time prior to dropping charges if and when the prosecution thinks doing so is appropriate.
It is extremely important in all domestic violence situations to have experienced counsel who can adapt to the many different ways such cases can develop. In many instances, it will be necessary for both the complainant and the defendant to have their own, separate and experienced lawyers if the complainant does not wish to.
Our Lawyers Can Help
The domestic violence defense attorneys at Krasner & Long, LLC have successfully represented defendants (and complainants in many instances) against criminal charges of domestic violence. In one very serious matter, a young mother was charged with stabbing her boyfriend once under his arm (essentially puncturing his heart) outside of a hospital emergency room.
The boyfriend's life was saved only because he was immediately rushed into surgery via the emergency room next to where the stabbing occurred. The defendant was found not guilty of all charges after a trial when the attorneys from Krasner & Long established that the boyfriend was on crack, in a rage, and was about to beat her with an umbrella because she had made him drive her to the emergency room for their sick young child. Carefully obtained evidence and effective cross-examination were the keys to this victory on a theory of self-defense.
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Our Strategies Are Effective
Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys Krasner & Long have also represented a complainant who was persistently stalked and harassed in her workplace by an ex-lover who sent scores of obscene and sexual cards, emails and other communications to her.
The attorney accompanied the complainant to all court dates and interacted with the prosecutors to make certain that they were fully aware of all the evidence, and that the complainant had repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to resolve the stalking and harassment without bringing her stalker to court. Krasner & Long attorneys were able to assist the complainant in achieving the conviction she wanted and court supervision of her stalker was imposed so that all communications ended.
We Can Provide Skilled Representation
In many other matters, the diligence of Krasner & Long's attorneys have enabled their clients to avoid conviction by persuading prosecutors to offer enrollment n a pre-trial diversionary program in the form of education, treatment, counseling, stay-away orders and court supervision for a period of several months before all charges are dropped.
When children and child support issues are present in a criminal case, complainants and defendants often have interests that are very different from the prosecutor's - both defendant and complainant may want the defendant to keep a good paying job and maintain child support and health care benefits for the children regardless of whether or not the defendant and complainant are re-united. Some prosecutors are simply interested in a conviction, regardless of its potentially devastating consequences for any children involved. For these reasons and more it is critically important to obtain skilled, experienced counsel to represent you in such circumstances.
Contact us today to get the informed advice of a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer.