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Do you need legal representation for any of the following crimes or legal issues in Pennsylvania?

  • Harm to an unborn child
  • Firearms
  • Expungement and pardons
  • Drug crimes

At Stanton D. Levenson, P.A. Law Offices, a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer can review the charges against you and craft a defense strategy tailored to your circumstances. In addition, we can fight hard to help you obtain an expungement or pardon for a past conviction. Contact us today to learn more.

Harm to Unborn Child

Various Pennsylvania laws may apply in a case involving accusations of harm to an unborn child. Aggravated assault of an unborn child is one such law. A person commits aggravated assault of an unborn child in Pennsylvania if they:

  • Attempt to seriously injure an unborn child, or
  • Knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly cause injury in a manner exhibiting “extreme indifference” to an unborn child’s life.

Aggravated assault of an unborn child is a first-degree felony in Pennsylvania. Under Pennsylvania law, a conviction of a first-degree felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $25,000.

Another crime in Pennsylvania related to harm to an unborn child is voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child. Under the law, a person is guilty of voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child if, at the time they take the unborn child’s life, they are acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by:

  • The mother of the unborn child, whom the actor may attempt to kill but accidentally or negligently kills the unborn child or
  • Another person whom the actor may attempt to kill but accidentally or negligently kills the unborn child.

Furthermore, a person who intentionally or knowingly kills an unborn child is guilty of voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child if, at the time of the killing, the actor believes the killing is justified under the law, even if the actor’s belief is unreasonable. For instance, a person may use justification as a defense to voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child if they were acting in self-defense at the time of the killing.

Voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in jail and a fine of $25,000.

Murder of an unborn child is either first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree murder under Pennsylvania law.

  • First-degree murder of an unborn child occurs when the killing of the unborn child is intentional.
  • Second-degree murder of an unborn child occurs when the defendant is engaged in the perpetration of a felony at the time of the killing.
  • Third-degree murder of an unborn child is any murder of an unborn child that does not meet the definition of first-degree or second-degree murder.

Penalties for these crimes are as follows:

  • First-degree: Mandatory life imprisonment
  • Second-degree: Mandatory life imprisonment
  • Third-degree: Up to 40 years in prison

Firearms

Our Pennsylvania firearms law firm can represent you if you’re facing any of the following firearm charges:

  • Possessing instruments of crime– Possessing an instrument of crime with the intent to use it criminally, including a firearm or another concealed weapon, is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It is a third-degree misdemeanor to use or wear body armor in the commission of a felony or while attempting to commit a felony. This crime is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.
  • Persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms– A person who has prior convictions relating to specific crimes, such as violent crimes, may not possess, use, control, sell, transfer, or manufacture a firearm, and they may not manufacture or obtain a license to possess, use, control, sell, transfer, or manufacture a firearm. Penalties for violating this law vary depending on a person’s previous conviction(s).
  • Firearms not to be carried without a license– A person who carries a firearm in a vehicle or concealed on their person, except in their home or place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license commits a third-degree felony. A conviction of a third-degree felony is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000. However, a person who is otherwise eligible to possess a valid license but does not have one may be guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor and face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Those are just a few examples of common firearms offenses. Other state laws related to the possession and use of firearms include:

Expungement and Pardons

A person convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania may be eligible to apply for a pardon from the Governor of Pennsylvania through the Board of Pardons (BOP). The application process involves these steps:

  • Filing of the Application – The process beings by submitting a complete and accurate application to the BOP. The applicant will receive a letter confirming the filing of their application. A Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer can assist you with completing and submitting the application paperwork.
  • Investigation of the Application – Staff from the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole conducts an investigation for the BOP and reports all criminal history and violations. They will also conduct an interview with the applicant to provide the BOP with more information about an applicant’s current status. The district attorney and president judge in the county where the crime(s) occurred may provide an opinion on the merit of the application.
  • Review of the Application – Each Board member will receive an applicant’s file to be reviewed for a hearing. The Board will grant a hearing if two or three (depending on the circumstances) of the five Board members approve. If the required number of votes aren’t obtained, the applicant will not receive a pardon. However, if they are, a hearing will be granted.
  • Hearing – During a BOP hearing, an applicant has 15 minutes to deliver a presentation to the Board. Your lawyer can assist you with this task. During the hearing, the victim or victim’s next of kin or anyone else who opposes the application for a pardon may also speak.

The Board meets in an executive session following the hearing session before reconvening to vote in public. If a majority votes in favor of an application, they will recommend favorable action to the Governor. The Governor may approve or disapprove any favorable recommendation submitted by the BOP.

If you receive a pardon, it’s as though you were never convicted. Any rights you lost as a result of your conviction are reinstated. Expungement is different. Expungement seals a person’s record. While the crime technically still exists, the person is not required by law to divulge their conviction in most circumstances. The expungement process involves filing a petition for expungement. Under Pennsylvania law, getting an expungement may be easier if you’ve already received a pardon.

Drug Crimes

The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act covers many laws related to drug crimes in Pennsylvania. For example, the following acts are prohibited under state law:

  • The manufacture, sale, holding, offering for sale, or possession of any controlled substance, other drug, device, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded
  • Distribution of a controlled substance by a person who is 21 or older to another person who is under 18 and at least four years younger than the actor
  • Use or possession with intent to use paraphernalia for the purposes of manufacturing or cultivating illegal drugs

Drug charges in Pennsylvania often fall into two categories: possession charges and charges of manufacturing, delivering, or possession with intent to deliver illegal drugs and substances. The penalties for drug crimes can vary depending on the nature of the drug, the amount in possession, and whether the charges include trafficking or conspiracy.

Contact a Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you’re facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania, a proper defense can significantly impact the outcome of your case. At Stanton D. Levenson, P.A. Law Offices, our Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyers are here to protect your rights. We have extensive experience handling both state and federal charges. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us to discuss your case.