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West Chester Assault Crimes Attorney

Crimes like murder and robbery. Pennsylvania law authorizes harsh punishments that can include both jail time and fines for any crime of violence.

Your best defense for these types of crimes is to hire an experienced attorney as early as possible in the criminal process to help you negotiate the terms of your surrender and bond, and fight for you during the period after your arrest. Crimes of violence can include, but are not limited to:

West Chester Violent Crime Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with committing a violent crime in Chester County, or the surrounding areas of Lancaster County, Montgomery County or Delaware County, contact the Skinner Law Firm. Michael J. Skinner is an experienced lawyer and former prosecutor with deep insight into all aspects of violent crimes in Pennsylvania. Call the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 for a consultation today.


Information Center for Pennsylvania Violent Crimes


Violent Crimes in Chester County

Simple Assault, as defined in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2701, is when a person causes bodily injury to another, either intentionally, recklessly or negligently with a deadly weapon; or causes another person to fear they are in jeopardy of bodily injury.

Aggravated Assault occurs when a person intentionally, recklessly or knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury: to another while acting with extreme indifference to human life, to certain employees or officials while in the course of duty, or to another with a deadly weapon, according to the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2702.

According to Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2501, Criminal Homicide occurs if someone intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently causes the death of another person. Homicide can be classified in Pennsylvania as either murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

Manslaughter can be either voluntary or involuntary, defined in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 §§ 2503 – 2504. Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of another by doing some act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner. Voluntary Manslaughter is killing another person in the heat of passion when provoked by that person, or when someone believes killing someone else is justified, but that belief is actually unreasonable.

Murder as defined in Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2502, is either Murder of the first, second or third degree. Murder of the first degree is an intentional killing of another person, murder of the second degree occurs when someone kills another while committing a felony, and murder of the third degree is every other type of murder.

According to the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 3701, Robbery is when a person, while in the course of committing a theft, inflicts body injury on another, causes the person to fear immediate body injury, or takes or removes property from another person by force.

Rape is defined in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 3121 as engaging in sexual intercourse with: a person by force; threat of force that would prevent the person from resisting; a person who is unconscious or unaware sexual intercourse is occurring; a person by drugging them; or with a person who has a mental disability that makes them incapable to consent.


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Penalties for Violent Crimes

The penalties for violent crimes can vary depending on the gravity score of the offense, which includes factors such as the type of crime committed, whether a weapon was used, and the circumstances surrounding the offense. The list below provides examples of the suggested maximum statutory penalties.

  • Voluntary Manslaughter is felony of the first degree, which can incur up to 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $25,000.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter is a misdemeanor of the first degree, which can result in imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine in excess of $10,000.
  • Murder of the third degree is a felony of the first degree that can result in a prison sentence up to 40 years and/or a maximum fine of $50,000.
  • Murder of the second degree can result in up to life imprisonment without parole and/or a maximum fine of $50,000.
  • Murder of the first degree can lead to a maximum punishment of the death penalty and a minimum of life in prison without parole, and/or a maximum fine of $50,000.
  • Simple assault is either a misdemeanor of the third or second degree, which can incur up to one or two years imprisonment and/or maximum fines of $2,500 or $5,000.
  • Aggravated assault can be either a felony of the first or second degree, and incur either up to 20 years in prison or up to ten years in prison, and/or fines not more than $25,000.
  • Rape is a felony of the first degree which can lead to a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $25,000.
  • Robbery can be a felony of the first, second or third degree, and depending on the degree, can result in maximum prison sentences of 20 years, 10 years or seven years, and/or maximum fines of $25,000 or $15,000.

Violent crimes can also affect your personal and professional life, and if you are convicted, your criminal record could make you ineligible for certain jobs, financial aid, school admissions, or the ability to ever possess a firearm.


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Defenses to Violent Crimes

After explaining your situation to your attorney, they will be able to determine if there are any defenses or mitigating circumstances that can possibly apply to your case. Some possible defenses to violent crimes are listed below.

  • Self Defense – A person has no duty to retreat from someone using force against them, and can use reasonable force for defense if they reasonably believed the person’s conduct was likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.
  • Defense of Others – A person can use force against another if they reasonably believed it was necessary to defend someone against the conduct of another person.
  • Defense of Property – A person can defend their home, residence or occupied vehicle against an unlawful intruder by use of and has no duty to retreat.

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Violent Crime Resources

West Chester Police Department

West Chester Police Department
401 East Gay Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: (610) 696-2700

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Online – Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, also cited as 18 Pa. Const. Stat., contains all of the state’s rules and regulations regarding assault and violent crimes in the state of Pennsylvania. This link goes directly to Title 18, which is entitled “Crimes and Offenses.”

An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection – Pennsylvania’s chapter of AARDVARC provides resources and information for fighting and preventing family and relationship violence, sexual violence and child abuse.

Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere – STRYVE is a national organization created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which seeks to prevent youth violence, and provides resources and information for prevention.


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Hiring a Dedicated Violent Crime Defense Attorney in Pennsylvania

Contact the Skinner Law Firm today for a consultation about your alleged violent crime in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas of Delaware County. Michael J. Skinner will fight for your rights, and make every effort to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call (610) 436-1410 for a consultation about your alleged violent crime offense in Pennsylvania.

Michael Skinner
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