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Pittsburgh Defense Attorney for Violent Crimes

Violent crime charges are among some of the most serious and heavily penalized criminal offenses. Law enforcement agencies view arrests and convictions for violent crimes as one of their top priorities because they keep people safe, preserve the city's public image and act as an important indicator of their success as a governing force.

As with any large city, Pittsburgh plays host to its fair share of violent crimes. Pittsburgh's law enforcement agencies, in conjunction with the FBI on certain federal crimes cases, have aggressive policing and corrections programs in place and work with various other 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.

As convictions and lower crime statistics become a priority, it is only natural that due process and fair criminal trials often get sacrificed. An experienced criminal defense from The Law Offices of David S. Shrager can ensure that your rights are defended and that you receive the best possible legal representation for your case. 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.

Charges We Defend

Each attorney at The Law Offices of David S. Shrager has more than 30 years of experience, and collectively, there is little our firm hasn't seen or defended when it comes to violent crimes. Working with clients from all walks of life and defending a diverse set of charges with unique factors and circumstance over the years, we have accumulated a precise knowledge of the laws governing violent crimes, the ways they are handled and prosecuted and the effective defense strategies that produce favorable results.

Our attorneys are prepared to defend clients facing a variety of violent crime charges, including domestic violence and juvenile crimes. In addition, we are confident in our abilities to handle high profile or complex cases involving multiple charges, such as violent crimes committed in the course of drug crimes, sex crimes, theft crimes and others. Time is of the essence in building a strong defense for violent crime cases, and we urge you to bring your case to 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, and are viewed as criminal acts which create fear of unlawful touching. 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.

A 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. Simple assault charges are common in cases where two people engaged in a fight. The penalties carry 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 high as five years.

Aggravated assaults are a felony offense and therefore have much steeper consequences. These cases commonly involve serious bodily injury and can result in as much as 20 years in a correctional facility. If a deadly weapon is used, prison terms can be as much as 10 years, depending on the circumstance.

Assault charges are nothing to take lightly. Aside from the 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. It is highly recommended that you speak with one of our firm's qualified attorneys to see what we can do for your assault charge.

Gun Charges

Gun crimes vary from case to case, but even the most minor charges can result in serious fines and incarceration terms. As gun laws continue to be a heated national issue, law enforcement agencies do their best to arrest and convict crimes involving guns. Often, gun charges are prosecuted as federal crimes, which make penalties even steeper. Whether you face allegations of illegal possession, manufacturing, distribution or if a gun was involved in committing another crime, it is best to have a criminal defense attorney evaluate your case and keep you informed of your options.

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 on and can result in up to 10 or 15 years of imprisonment, depending on the situation. 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 five years imprisonment.

There are many various gun charges and the penalties depend largely on your past criminal record and any other crimes that were committed while using or in possession of a firearm. It is highly advised that you retain legal counsel for these charges, as they often result in lengthy prison terms and scarring criminal records. The Law Offices of David S. Shrager has a great deal of experience in defending gun charges, and will stick by you throughout the legal process, while keeping you informed of your options and what you can expect during your case.

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. Manslaughter charges can vary drastically from case to case and an experienced criminal defense attorney from our firm can assess your situation with a focus on the important factors of intention, negligence and situation involved.

Murder charges also vary considerably and can be charged as three different degrees. 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. First degree murder in Pennsylvania can also be punishable by the state's death penalty. Second degree murder occurs when a death results from the commission of a felony offense. First and second degree murder convictions can result if life sentences, depending on the case. Third degree murder involves gross recklessness and negligence rather than an intentional malicious act and can be punishable by 20 to 40 years in prison.

Vehicular manslaughter is also a common charge, especially in cases involving DUI. According to state laws §3737, homicide by vehicle is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment, with the possibility of enhancements as a court deems fit. In any case involving homicide or manslaughter, defendants face some of the harshest penalties in the American legal system. It is nearly always recommended that you have an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney work with you to defend your case. With the possibility of the death penalty, life sentences and lengthy minimum prison terms, you need legal representation.

How can an attorney defend violent crime charges?

Having an experienced and reputable attorney from The Law Offices of David S. Shrager defend your violent crime charges can greatly reduce your risk of suffering stiffer penalties and severe enhancements. All of our attorneys have experience in defending many different violent crime charges and they each possess the sharp analytical skills needed to evaluate such serious allegations. All of our firm's attorneys are strongly dedicated to defending the rights of our clients. By working with our firm, you can be confident that we will always be available to discuss your case and will fight vigorously on your behalf.

If you are being accused of committing any type of violent crime, our firm is willing to evaluate your case and defend you in a court of law. 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 and the well-being of your family, as many employers often refuse to hire individuals with such records. 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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