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Pittsburgh Defense Attorney for Violent Crimes

Violent crime charges are among the most serious and heavily penalized criminal offenses. Law enforcement agencies view arrests and convictions for violent crimes as one of their top priorities. Pittsburgh's law enforcement agencies, in conjunction with the FBI, have aggressive policing and corrections programs in place, and work with various organizations on comprehensive crime prevention efforts. As a result, violent crime cases are intensely prosecuted in court, and the city works collectively to gain as many convictions as possible.

The Law Offices of David S. Shrager is here to help if you've been accused of a violent crime offense in Pittsburgh or a nearby area of Pennsylvania. In the American legal system, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and our firm works diligently and aggressively to make sure this is the case for all of our clients. Contact us today to begin your defense.

Types of Charges We Defend

Working with clients from all walks of life and defending a diverse set of charges with unique factors and circumstance, we have accumulated a precise knowledge of the laws governing violent crimes. We know the ways in which these crimes are handled by law enforcement, and we are familiar with how they are prosecuted in court. Most importantly, we know how to employ effective defense strategies that produce favorable results.

Our attorneys are prepared to defend clients facing a variety of violent crime charges, including:

Time is of the essence when building a strong defense for violent crime cases, which is why we urge you to bring your case to the attention of an attorney from our firm as soon as possible after your arrest.


In the state of Pennsylvania and nationwide, assault is one of the most common violent crime charges. Unlike battery, assault charges may not necessarily involve physical contact. Though Title 18 of the Pennsylvania criminal code lists many distinct assault offenses, Pennsylvania has two basic categories of assault charges: simple assaults and aggravated assaults.

  1. Simple assault: Simple assault typically involves crimes that do not result in serious injury, or in some cases any injury. You can be charged with simple assault even if you did not physically touch another person. The penalties for a conviction include fines and imprisonment for up to two years. If the assault was committed against a minor under the age of 12, prison sentences can be as lengthy as 5 years.
  2. Aggravated assault: Aggravated assault is a felony offense and therefore carries much steeper consequences. These cases commonly involve serious bodily injury and can result in up to 20 years in a correctional facility. If a deadly weapon is used, prison terms can be as long as 10 years, depending on the circumstance.

Assault charges are nothing to take lightly. In addition to strict penalties, criminal records and felony convictions can greatly tarnish an individual's reputation and social image. Our firm has worked on countless assault charges over the years and, depending on the particularities surrounding the case, can utilize our experience and reputation to possibly gain lower charges.

Gun Charges

Gun crimes vary from case to case, but even the most minor charges can result in serious fines and incarceration. Often, gun charges are prosecuted as federal crimes, which make penalties even steeper. If you are facing any of the following gun charges, speak to a criminal defense attorney from our firm immediately:

  • Illegal possession
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • Gun was involved in committing another offense

Common gun charges involve the possession of firearms by prohibited persons such as convicted felons, fugitives from justice, and convicted drug users. When this is the case, enhancements are frequently added and can result in up to 10 or 15 years of imprisonment. Possessing illegal firearms such as bombs, assault rifles, and sawed-off shotguns are also gun charges that are harshly penalized. Using or carrying a gun during a drug crime or any other violent crime typically results in a minimum of 5 years' imprisonment.

Homicide and Manslaughter

Homicide and manslaughter are viewed as the ultimate violent crimes. As these crimes result in the death of another person, penalties are extremely harsh.

Manslaughter is a legal term that places less blame on a defendant than any form of murder charges. Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter can involve circumstances in which the defendant did not intend to kill another person, but a death occurred as a result of their actions.

Pennsylvania was the first state to classify murder into degrees, and the state differentiates murder charges based on the culpability of the defendant.

  • First degree murder entails a killing that is committed with intent, meaning there is proof of willful, deliberate, and premeditated actions. It is punishable by the state's death penalty.
  • Second degree murder occurs when a death results from the commission of a felony offense. Second degree murder convictions can result in a lifetime prison sentence, depending on the case.
  • Third degree murder involves gross recklessness and negligence rather than an intentional malicious act. It is punishable by 20 to 40 years in prison.

Vehicular manslaughter is also a common charge, especially in cases involving DUI. According to state law §3737, homicide by vehicle is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, with the possibility of enhancements as a court deems fit. With the possibility of the death penalty, life sentences and lengthy minimum prison terms tied to murder and manslaughter charges, you need legal representation.

How We Defend Violent Crime Charges

Having an experienced and reputable attorney from The Law Offices of David S. Shrager defend your violent crime charges could greatly reduce your risk of suffering stiff penalties and severe enhancements. All of our attorneys possess the sharp analytical skills needed to evaluate such serious allegations.

As tough litigators with a strong reputation in the court system, we find that prosecutors are often willing to compromise by dropping or reducing charges or by arranging acceptable plea agreements rather than fighting our experienced, talented, and aggressive legal team.

Violent crimes have a harsh social stigma, and having a violent crime on your record can greatly compromise your future. You owe it to yourself to work with a strong and informative attorney from our firm when you want the most favorable resolution possible for your case. Contact us today.


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Our Attorneys

David S. Shrager

David S. Shrager has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years. He practices exclusively in the area of criminal defense; both state and federal.

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Ronald W. Hayward

With 30 years experience as a trial attorney, Ronald Hayward formerly served as a federal prosecutor in the nation's capital.

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